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Local leaders discuss rationale behind mandatory masks

Dr. Adler is asking people not to travel to states experiencing a COVID-19 crisis. And local leaders explained their rationale behind mandatory masks.

Posted: Jul 15, 2020 5:21 PM
Updated: Jul 15, 2020 6:14 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - While new coronavirus cases remain steady here in Tippecanoe County, health leaders have concerns for other areas of the country.

Tippecanoe County Health Officer, Dr. Jeremy Adler, said following COVID-19 precautions is more important now than ever. He called what is happening in other parts of the country a "COVID-19 crisis."

He said people need to be wearing face coverings, washing hands, avoiding crowds and social distancing at 6 feet. He added businesses should be creating policies to require employees and customers to wear masks. However, he said business are not required to tell customers if they have had an employee has tested positive.

Dr. Adler is strongly recommending people postpone any trips they have to states facing a coronavirus crisis, that includes places like Florida, Texas and Arizona.

"It's very important for all of us to take the appropriate actions now so that we can keep this curve moving in the right direction, downwards and not going back upwards," he said.

Tippecanoe County currently has 10 deaths and has had 802 reported cases. Dr. James Bien from IU Health Arnett said they have five people confirmed with COVID-19 and 27 are under investigation. Dr. Daniel Wickert from Franciscan Health said they have five people diagnosed, 15 under investigation and one person on a ventilator.

Both city mayors and Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tracy Brown addressed mandatory masks in their respective jurisdictions. This comes after West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis mandated face masks on Monday. It requires people to wear masks in all public businesses and on public transportation.

Commissioner Brown and Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski both emphasized that they support wearing masks. However, there are some issues they have with mandating masks.

"For me personally, it is an issue of enforcement," said Commissioner Brown. "Who do we have enforce that effort? Is that going to fall on the shoulders of law enforcement? Or our health department, which are already taxed beyond belief with just their normal day to day calls?"

"I would much prefer that citizens, if at all possible, until it's not possible, be allowed to make their own decisions and I would like businesses to make their own decisions," said Mayor Roswarski. "I typically think when things are driven by the citizens and private business making those decisions, as opposed to being driven by government, we get long term better outcomes and long term better solutions."

Mayor Dennis said people in West Lafayette were asking him for a mask mandate. And with thousands of Purdue students coming back in a few weeks, he wants consistency between the university and the city.

"One thing no one wants to see, is us going back to a locked down community where businesses are shut and our economy tanks. We could not survive another shutdown," said Mayor Dennis. "So I feel by making this small request, actually a small mandate, of asking that my community wears masks, is a very small sacrifice to make for the greater good of not just West Lafayette, but this community."

Dr. Esteban Ramirez joined the panel on Wednesday representing Purdue and the Protect Purdue Plan. He voiced support for West Lafayette's mandate. He said they have already started testing the students who have returned to Purdue early. He said they have had some positive cases, but couldn't disclose the exact number. He said those students are in isolation. As we've previously reported, Purdue is planning to test all students who are returning to the West Lafayette campus. The university is also requiring masks to be worn in all campus buildings and when social distancing isn't possible.

All three emphasized that they all still have a very close collaborative working relationship, and that they will continue to work towards doing what's best for Greater Lafayette.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 69975

Reported Deaths: 3007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15152724
Lake7222273
Elkhart468079
Allen3695160
St. Joseph322479
Hamilton2572104
Vanderburgh180013
Hendricks1796105
Cass17609
Johnson1674118
Porter121339
Clark112646
Tippecanoe112311
Madison87265
LaPorte85029
Howard82965
Kosciusko82412
Marshall75222
Bartholomew74947
Floyd72945
Monroe69930
Delaware66552
Dubois65512
Boone64946
Noble63829
Hancock63438
Jackson5564
LaGrange54910
Warrick54030
Shelby53027
Vigo52810
Grant51129
Dearborn47728
Morgan44034
Clinton3883
Henry36519
White34910
Montgomery34321
Wayne33710
Lawrence33227
Decatur32232
Harrison30422
Miami2602
Scott25210
Daviess25119
Greene24034
Putnam2348
Franklin23113
DeKalb2224
Jasper2162
Jennings21412
Gibson2044
Steuben2033
Ripley1947
Perry17212
Starke1707
Orange16424
Fayette1637
Posey1610
Wabash1613
Jefferson1532
Carroll1522
Fulton1502
Whitley1496
Wells1442
Knox1400
Tipton1266
Huntington1193
Washington1171
Spencer1163
Newton11410
Randolph1094
Clay1025
Adams842
Sullivan831
Jay820
Owen821
Rush804
Pulaski751
Brown701
Fountain642
Benton600
Blackford562
Ohio564
Pike500
Parke491
Vermillion470
Crawford440
Switzerland430
Martin420
Union330
Warren191
Unassigned0202

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

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