Will Allen County require residents to wear masks?

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Indianapolis and Marion County residents will be required to wear face coverings starting next week, in a Thursday move designed to slow the spread of the ever-threatening coronavirus.

In northern Indiana, LaGrange, Elkhart and St. Joseph counties have issued similar mandates amid a recent spike in new virus cases.

WANE 15 posted a poll on our Facebook page. We asked if you wear a mask or not.

Over 11,000 people responded to the poll. Fifty-one percent of people say they do not wear a mask, whereas 49% say they do.

Will Fort Wayne require its residents to wear masks? We reached out to Mayor Tom Henry’s office on Thursday, and received this response:

The City of Fort Wayne is continuing to follow the State of Indiana’s plan that calls for masks being highly recommended but not required. We strongly encourage residents to wear a mask, and we have joined the State’s effort as we continue to highlight the public health benefits of masks.

The Allen County Commissioners provided WANE 15 this response to requiring residents to wear a mask:

“We continue to monitor the impact of the Coronavirus on Allen County’s residents and businesses. There have been conversation in our office as to the best course of action regarding masks, but currently, we are not considering a mandatory order in Allen County. If conditions change and such an order is in the best interest of our community, we will give it consideration. Our numbers locally are not spiking, but they aren’t dropping either. Allen County residents and businesses need to stay diligent in doing everything they can to limit the spread of COVID-19 including social distancing, frequent hand washing, and yes, voluntarily wearing a mask if able. Masks in no way eliminate the need for social distancing and frequent hand washing, nor do they replace the need for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms to take precautions against spreading the disease. While not a mandate, we do recommend that residents follow Governor Holcomb’s advice to “MaskUP Hoosiers” and not let their guard down in the fight against the Coronavirus. This is a community-wide issue that will take a community-wide response.”

Allen County recently passed 2,700 virus cases, and 110 people have died from COVID-19 as of Thursday, according to the Allen County Department of Health.

The Allen County Health Commissioner, Dr. Matthew Sutter, says the county is seeing 14-day average decline in COVID-19 cases.

Despite that, he says people should still wear masks.

“It’s really important that we follow the simple things. We gotta wear masks, we got to social distance, and we’ve gotta do good hand hygiene. Those things will help limit the spread of the virus, and keep up from doing, needed to do more costly things like shutting down the economy,” says Dr. Sutter.

Dr. Sutter says he’d like to see more people in the county wearing masks.

“Masks for the general public, face coverings include this too, are to protect people around us. What they do is reduce the amount of droplets that are coming out of our mouths when we speak. Just in normal conversation, we’re always getting small droplets. Those get captured in the mask and face covering. And that’s the primary way we spread the coronavirus.”

Dr. Sutter says you don’t need to worry about reducing oxygen intake and carbon monoxide poisoning while wearing a mask, as health professionals have been wearing them for decades without issues.

He does understand not everyone can wear a mask.

“Now there are some people with health conditions, bad lung disease and such, that can’t wear a mask. And I get that. But that’s really the reason why those of us that don’t have those conditions need to wear a mask to protect those people.”

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