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(FISHERS, Ind.) – The Fishers City Council has approved the creation of a separate city health department.

Mayor Scott Fadness says a city health department can be more responsive to Fishers’ local needs. He says the department can work directly with businesses to advise them on industry-specific precautions against coronavirus once they’re allowed to reopen. But he says the new agency isn’t just about the virus, but a long-term step to encourage healthy practices.

Community Health ob/gyn Indy Lane will be the medical director for the department, which will be staffed with Fishers police, firefighters and paramedics. One of its first tasks will be to begin offering testing for the virus through the Fishers Fire Department.

Jocelyn Vare, one of two Democrats on the council, cast the only no vote. She says Fadness should have conferred with the Hamilton County Health Department on whether there were ways to improve collaboration before Fishers forged ahead on its own. And she says she’s concerned the county department could be weakened by the loss of tax dollars from Fishers residents, which now will fund the city department instead.

Fishers becomes the third Indiana city with its own health department separate from the county, joining Gary and East Chicago.