(La Porte County, IN) - People are being urged not to let their guards down in response to rising COVID-19 numbers.
Thursday’s one month extension of the mask mandate in La Porte County means every individual must still properly wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at indoor areas open to the public, including public transportation, according to the mask mandate extension order from La Porte County Health Officer Dr. Sandra Deausy. Masks must also be worn in public areas outside when six feet of social distancing space cannot be maintained.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health on Thursday, the number of people in La Porte County testing positive for the virus the past seven days stood at 8.9%. The seven day positive rate in La Porte County dropped to as low as 3.2% at the end of February.
Fewer people wearing a mask and practicing social distancing from a false sense of security because of vaccines being available is one reason cited by experts for cases rising again. “I know we’re all bone weary of this, but this is a once-in-our-lifetime pandemic. It’s not time to let up,” said La Porte County Commissioner Sheila Matias.
La Porte County Health Department Administrator Amanda Lahners said about 16% of La Porte County residents have been fully vaccinated. She estimated herd immunity cannot be obtained unless vaccinations are given to 75 to 80-percent of the population. “We’re so close to this being over. We just have to hold on for a little bit longer,” Lahners said.
Lahners said an average of about 500 people per day have been receiving the Moderna vaccine during their appointments at the La Porte County Health Department vaccination clinic at the fairgrounds.