LaGrange County remains Michiana's only Red County

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LAGRANGE COUNTY, Ind. - Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced new COVID-19 restrictions for the State of Indiana on Wednesday. With that came a new way of measuring areas impacted by the pandemic by putting each of Indiana's 92 counties in a category: yellow, orange or red with red being the most severely impacted and getting the most restrictive COVID procedures. LaGrange County is the only county in Michiana to get the red designation which has some people in the area worried about what's to come.

"The problem is very concerning," LaGrange County Health Officer Dr. Tony Pechin said. "I've lost some close friends with the disease. I've lost some wonderful patients with the disease."

Pechin said LaGrange County has already discovered the way to curb its numbers. It just comes down to everyone doing their part.

"We were one of the first counties to initiate a mandatory mask policy," Pechin said. "We saw our cases go down rapidly, and we were doing very well."

Pechin said he believes numbers have gone back up because of a number of factors. The weather is getting colder which forces more people inside where the virus spreads more easily, and people are going through what he calls "COVID fatigue," where people get tired of always doing everything necessary to not catch the virus and begin to let their guard down.

One lifelong LaGrange resident, Dustin Dehm, said the pandemic is having the greatest impact on his mother-in-law.

"My oldest son is a first grader this year, and he is doing fulltime E-learning," Dehm said. "My younger two are staying with my mother-in-law. She's taking care of all of them during the day, and she is also taking care of E-learning for three other kids in the family. So, she's quite busy, and I can't say enough good things about what she has done for us and for them."

Dehm said schools going to primarily virtual learning is difficult because of what he's afraid his son is losing.

"We did really want him to have that social aspect of being around the other kids," Dehm said. "It was very tough for us, and it's still difficult."

The LaGrange County Health Department did not announce any new restrictions of its own Thursday, but did say it would follow the protocols set by the State of Indiana.

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