Elkhart County mask mandate to remain in place beyond statewide mandate expiration
ELKHART COUNTY, Ind.--- Elkhart County's mask mandate will stay in effect even after Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's statewide order expires on April 6th. According to the latest State Health Department numbers Elkhart County's seven day rolling average of COVID positivity has risen to 6.9% in the past two weeks.
"The mandate lift for the state was April 6th but there is no deadline for Elkhart County’s mandate at this time, so I didn’t necessarily feel like we had this big rush to make this decision," said Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait.
Wait is urging people living in Elkhart to be patient as the county health department navigates when it can expand gathering capacity and mask mandates.
"At this point, we need to unite and just get through this," said Wait. "The infighting and the angry phone calls that we’re getting at the health department, it’s not helpful."
Wait says she's also waiting on further instruction from Governor Holcomb before making any decisions on restaurant and bar capacity limits.
"From the governor’s stand point, he still hasn’t solidified what we’re supposed to do with our safety plan," said Wait. "That’s the biggest thing the health department is having to do is review these safety plans and make sure they’re following social distancing guidelines."
Wait says in the meantime the county health department will do everything it can to get every Elkhart resident vaccinated.
"That’s what our focus at the health department is going to be," said Wait. "How do we educate people? How do we make them feel better that this is a safe and effective prevention of COVID-19?"