(La Porte County, IN) - All businesses in La Porte County are being warned to comply with established guidelines for slowing the spread of COVID-19 or face possible consequences. The La Porte County Health Department has approved sending a letter to all businesses in response to complaints from the public.
The complaints involved some establishments not following local or state mask mandates, said Dr. Sandra Deausy, Health Officer for La Porte County. “Unfortunately, people are suffering from COVID fatigue and it’s not happening in the way that it should,” she said.
The letter refers to complaints the health department has received about certain businesses not adhering to mask mandates and research showing face coverings significantly reduce transmission of the virus. While no fines can be issued to violators, the letter points out the health department has authority to revoke permits to sell food of businesses not following the Centers for Disease Control recommendations for slowing the spread of the virus.
“The administrator and the health officer have both talked about that being potentially the lever that is used to assure compliance,” said La Porte County attorney Shaw Friedman. Friedman said he worked with the health department in drafting the letter also outlining the risk of workman’s compensation liability or being sued if an employee or customer becomes sick due to “relaxed mask wearing.”
La Porte, like many other counties statewide, are seeing a dramatic uptick in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks. The Indiana State Department of Health on Friday reported 39 new cases and a seven day positivity rate of 8.6-percent for people tested in LaPorte County.
La Porte County Commissioner Dr. Vidya Kora said about 20 coronavirus patients were admitted at each of the hospitals in LaPorte and Michigan City earlier in the week. He also said one of his patients waited in the emergency room at one of the hospitals for close to 16 hours until a bed was available. “The hospitals are overwhelmed,” said Kora, who has a medical practice in Michigan City.
Kora appealed for everyone not let their guards down against the virus. “If you take personal responsibility and do the things that we need to do to keep the numbers down it’ll help all of us,” he said.