Health officials remind residents to remain safe this Labor Day
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – Local health officials want to remind people to continue practicing good hygiene and safety precautions as you gather with friends and family during the Labor Day weekend.
Dr. Mark Fox, the St. Joseph County Deputy Health said the major concern is that this Labor Day weekend will turn out how Fourth of July did, with a spike of COVID-19 cases. But, he said the magnitude of events is likely to be lower.
“There’s a heightened awareness I think of how decisions we make and behavior that we pursue impacts all sorts of other opportunities, in terms of work and education,” Fox said.
He said it’s important to be mindful of transmission risks and to continue washing hands, social distancing, and wearing a mask inside.
“I suspect we will see some increase coming out of Labor Day, just almost as a function of human nature because people will likely gather at some level,” Fox said.
Holidays typically involve gatherings, and Fox said that people tend to let their guards down among friends and family and that eating is one of the high-risk activities for transmission.
“Especially when you combine it with talking, you throw alcohol in it and people's judgment may be impacted, you know all those factors come together,” Fox said. “Eating, because you’re unmasked and particularly when you’re with friends, and that increases the risk of droplets and increases transmissions.”
He hopes that people have learned their lesson following the Fourth of July weekend. Just two months ago, we saw a spike in coronavirus cases following that holiday weekend when crowds flocked to beaches and bar-be-cues, not practicing social distancing.
From the end of June to July 18 COVID-19 cases went up three times in the span of two weeks and a half, now cases are going down. According to Fox, St. Joseph County is averaging eight cases a day.
“We’re better than how we've gotten after Fourth of July, but not as good as we were at the end of June,” said Fox. “But, at least I feel like we’re heading in the right direction, so I don’t want to lose the momentum as we have made progress.”
Fox said the challenge is we won’t see the impact of Labor Day weekend until mid-September, noting that some school districts, such as Penn-Harris-Madison plans to return to in-person learning around that time.