Northern Indiana county joins others in mandating face masks

Northern Indiana’s LaPorte County on Friday became the latest local government in the state with a mandate for people to wear face masks in public due to a recent growth in the number of coronavirus hospitalizations.

Posted: Jul 17, 2020 2:53 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Northern Indiana’s LaPorte County on Friday became the latest local government in the state with a mandate for people to wear face masks in public due to a recent growth in the number of coronavirus hospitalizations.

At least three other nearby counties, along with the cities of Indianapolis, Evansville and West Lafayette also have imposed mask requirements. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has encouraged the wearing of face coverings but has declined to issue a statewide mandate.

Indiana high school marching band competitions are being called off for this fall while school officials weigh how and whether to have children back in classrooms for the new school year. Overcrowding also has prompted the closure of more Lake Michigan beaches.

The LaPorte County order was approved by a 2-1 vote by county commissioners Wednesday. It requires masks for adults and children 3 years and older in any indoor public area and outdoors when they can’t stay at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from people outside their household.

County Commissioner Vidya Kora, a physician, said he believed face coverings were a small sacrifice to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

“I really think wearing a mask is an act of kindness, compassion, respect, humility and love for your fellow human beings,” Kora said.

Similar mask requirements have been issued in nearby St. Joseph, Elkhart and LaGrange counties.

Holcomb announced Wednesday that Indiana would continue limiting crowd sizes for restaurants, bars and public events until at least the end of July as the state has seen its highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since mid-June.

Holcomb has repeatedly said he would support local officials who choose to adopt mask requirements while not seeing a statewide mandate as necessary now.

“We’re in a state where the numbers could be very different county by county, even region by region,” Holcomb said Wednesday. “We’re comfortable where we are right now working with local leaders.”

The state health department on Friday reported 747 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, pushing Indiana’s seven-day daily average to 650, which is the highest it has been since early May. It also reported eight more deaths from the disease, raising the state’s death toll to 2,803 since mid-March.

Coronavirus hospitalizations dipped slightly to 815 as of Thursday, but that remained above levels last seen in mid-June. Indiana had seen a steady decline in hospitalizations since being over 1,400 a day through April into early May before the recent trend upward.

The mayor of Michigan City, which is in LaPorte County, closed its Lake Michigan beaches effective Friday, citing large crowds that include many out-of-state visitors. That move comes after Whiting’s mayor shut down its Lake Michigan beach near the Indiana-Illinois state line on Wednesday, also because of overcrowding.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 614946

Reported Deaths: 9807
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion849231342
Lake45784693
Allen33103560
Hamilton29752316
St. Joseph27572383
Elkhart24496346
Vanderburgh19679255
Tippecanoe18150144
Johnson15234296
Porter14970172
Hendricks14550253
Madison11071223
Clark10852145
Vigo10819185
Monroe9496115
Delaware9193136
LaPorte9173164
Howard8325148
Kosciusko811485
Warrick683399
Hancock6783106
Bartholomew6659100
Floyd6522113
Wayne6194164
Grant6050118
Dubois559081
Boone557968
Morgan551996
Henry512365
Marshall507884
Dearborn488745
Cass487864
Noble476159
Jackson428747
Shelby423381
Lawrence395180
Clinton375845
Gibson375560
Harrison354046
DeKalb351365
Montgomery349754
Knox337839
Miami325244
Steuben315846
Whitley313126
Wabash306951
Adams303636
Ripley301646
Putnam299152
Huntington295760
Jasper293035
White275943
Daviess271776
Jefferson267738
Decatur249983
Fayette249949
Greene242763
Posey241828
Wells237551
LaGrange230363
Scott227939
Clay225032
Randolph215848
Jennings200937
Spencer193622
Sullivan193633
Washington189023
Fountain185227
Starke177044
Jay168723
Owen168338
Fulton165430
Orange161035
Carroll160616
Rush156418
Perry156129
Vermillion150034
Franklin149933
Tipton134433
Parke13098
Pike118826
Blackford112023
Pulaski97937
Newton92621
Brown88835
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin75013
Warren6867
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4967
Unassigned0375

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