FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — With the rise of COVID-19 numbers, students at Indiana University Fort Wayne (IUFW) Fairbanks School of Public Health conducted a study to see how many residents are wearing masks and where. However, cases in the county and state are continuing to rise.
“By studying how these people are coming in, we can tell what areas [cases are] coming from and what areas COVID-19 are prevalent,” said IUFW student Kennedy Johnson.
A group of 13 trained observers from IUFW went to seven big grocery stores in Allen County between Aug. 25 to Sept. 5 to see who were wearing masks and who were not.
The group looked at gender, age, race/ethnicity, location and time of day.
In total, the study observed 3,567 people at several different stores across Allen County.
The group found that 88% of people were wearing masks. There was a significant difference in who was wearing a mask by location and time of day but no significant differences by gender or race.
“I hope the study will be used by the appropriate body to make decisions on how future policies that will go into effect or the county and state,” said IUFW student Nathan Mundy.
Specifics in what locations and stores took part in the study were not released. This was the first round of the study, and students say there will be more to come.
The study was presented to the Allen County Board of Health Monday evening. Even though the study showed that the number of residents wearing masks is higher than the national average Allen County’s COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.
On Monday, Allen county, officials announced one new death and 61 new cases. Totals are now nearly 7,900 cases and 214 deaths. Allen County’s seven-day positivity rate is at 7.4%.
Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter wants to remind people to continue to wear their mask, social distance and stay home when sick.
“Again masking is an effective way to stop transmission in public and most of the transmission is in families and households and in close contact so masking is still an important piece,” said Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter. “But masking in public places won’t completely wipe this out.”
The county’s two new COVID testing sites was also discussed during Monday nights meeting.
One of the locations is on Lake Avenue while the other is on Dupont Avenue. Both locations are now taking walk-ins and tests are free.