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Elkhart County extends mask requirement, other restrictions

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The mask requirement in Elkhart County will be extended for several weeks after a new public health order issued by the Elkhart County Health Officer.

As the statewide mask mandate in Indiana is to be lifted on Tuesday, the Elkhart County Health Officer announces Monday that masks will still be required in the county.

This is part of a new public health order that goes into effect April 6 and remains until May 14.

“Even though the state is pulling back and some other restrictions are relaxing, we know based on what our numbers look like here in Elkhart County that our number of cases, our hospitalizations and our positivity rate are still increasing,” City of Elkhart Director of Communications Corinne Straight-Reed said.

In Elkhart County, masks are still required while the county is in an advisory level of yellow, orange or red. If the county moves into the blue level, wearing masks will be a strong recommendation.

Elkhart County Health Officer Doctor Bethany Wait says, “I believe that a certain level of mitigation must be required until individuals 16 years of age and older have an opportunity to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine. Obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice, but I want everyone to have an opportunity to make that choice.”

“If somebody became eligible and gets their first shot today, for example, they are still five weeks away from getting the full protection that’s offered from that vaccine, based on receiving their second dose and waiting that two-week waiting period,” Straight-Reed said.

This order also outlines capacity limits of 25% while the county is in orange or red, 50% in yellow and 100% in blue.

“We know that vaccinations are going to get us back to that type of life that we want to live where we can fully enjoy the summer months, and so if all we have to do is wear a mask for a couple more months, I think we can do it because we’ve been doing pretty well so far,” Straight-Reed said.

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