Jim Inman (Photo: IN.GOV)
Last month, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said the state’s mask mandate would expire on April 6. He included a provision that local governments would have the responsibility of determining when masks would no longer be required to wear.
As Monroe County experiences a rise in COVID-19 cases, the mask mandate and physical distancing requirements will remain until at least May 28.
The news came Friday when Penny Caudill, Monroe County Health Department Administrator, discussed the area’s data during a press conference.
Monroe County is averaging over 30 cases of COVID-19 per day, according to Caudill. That number has put Monroe County back into the yellow advisory level on the state’s COVID-19 map. Blue is the lowest level, followed by yellow.
The good news is that vaccines are continuing. As of Friday, 22% of eligible residents in the county had been fully vaccinated, with another 34% having received their first dose of the vaccine.
As of Sunday afternoon, surrounding counties Owen, Greene, Lawrence and Brown remain in the blue, while Morgan County is also in the yellow. Blue counties have less than 10 new cases weekly per 100,000 residents. Overall over 1.4 million Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated.
You’ve probably heard about the cicadas that are expected to appear in a few weeks… but what do you really need to know about them?
According to the Purdue Extension website, Indiana will be experiencing a number of these insects starting around the end of May. The cicadas arrive typically every 13 or 17 years, depending on the species, or brood. They are about 1-1/2 to 2 inches long with black bodies, reddish legs, wing edges and eyes.
The male cicadas are the only ones to make the high-pitched noises that can be annoying to the human ear. Female cicadas have no sound-producing organs.
The adult cicadas live about one month, during which they mate. A female cicada can lay between 400-600 eggs.
Cicadas can cause damage to young trees, as well as other problems. Their heavy numbers will mean a lot of insect carcasses as they die. The female cicadas lay their eggs in twigs on trees and shrubs, causing the branches to brown, die and potentially break off.
While birds and squirrels can feed on cicadas, the insects often outnumber their enemies… so don’t expect them to disappear too quickly. Netting on smaller trees and shrubs can be helpful to prevent damage.
And if you’re a fan of cicadas… well, after this year, the next expected appearance in Indiana is 2023 – but in much smaller numbers.