Jim Inman (Photo: Jim Inman/canva.com)
Grab your face mask – it’s required again.
On Wednesday the Monroe County Commissioners approved a new Health Order and Regulation from the county health department. Masks will be required in all public places for all people – regardless of vaccination status – beginning Thursday, August 5 at 8:00 am.
The reinstitution of masks is not a surprise. Much of the country is seeing increases in COVID-19 cases – primarily related to the delta variant.
According to Yale Medicine’s website, the delta variant is more transmissible than a common cold. The CDC reports that more than 80% of new cases of COVID-19 in the United States are caused by the delta variant.
Yale Medicine also notes that those not fully vaccinated are at the highest risk.
The Mayo Clinic reports that Indiana has 10.5% of residents under 18 vaccinated, 52.1% vaccinated age 18-64 and 89.1% of Hoosiers over age 65 are vaccinated.
With the news of the mask mandate, Indiana University has amended their mask protocols for returning students and staff.
The school sent out a newsletter Wednesday, noting that while indoors on campus, individuals should wear a mask. The policy change applies to anyone on campus, including visitors, contractors and delivery crews.
The newsletter emphasized that outdoor activities will continue, and masks will not be required in those situations.
The order for Monroe County does not have a specified end date. Penny Caudill, Monroe County Health Administrator, believes the mandate will continue for four to six weeks.
Businesses looking for signage related to the mask mandate are available for free at the Board of Commissioners office in the Monroe County Courthouse, the Monroe County Health Department website or by contacting Downtown Bloomington, Inc., located in the convention center.
No restrictions have been established regarding gathering size limits or social distancing of six feet.
A Plainfield, IN man died Tuesday at Lake Monroe.
Ambachew Nigatu, 29, was at the beach at Fairfax State Recreation Area Tuesday afternoon when he went missing. According to a news release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, a 911 call was made at 5:40 pm.
Just over an hour later, Nigatu’s body was found in six feet of water.
An autopsy is planned, and an investigation is ongoing.
Fairfax Beach, along with Paynetown Beach, had been closed for flooding since mid-July. The beaches reopened August 2.