The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, June 16, 2020 1:00 am

LaGrange mandates face masks

Measure follows 215 new cases since Memorial Day

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The LaGrange County Health Department on Monday said it is requiring everyone to wear a mask or face covering over the mouth and nose following a steep increase of cases since Memorial Day.

LaGrange is one of the few counties in the state to mandate the wearing of face coverings. 

The county's cases have spiked – with 215 new cases since Memorial Day. In all, the number has almost quadrupled in 21 days.

“Our county has witnessed a sharp rise in COVID-19 illnesses, and our best defense is hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks,” the press release said. “Please do your part in stopping this disease.”

The new rule applies to the following:

• An indoor area open to the public, including public transportation, van transports, groceries and restaurants

• An outdoor public area where a distance of 6 feet from individuals outside of their household cannot be maintained

• A private indoor or outdoor area where a distance of 6 feet from individuals outside of their household cannot be maintained.

St. Joseph County says a “face covering over one's nose and mouth shall be required for any persons entering an enclosed public space or place of business.”

The news came Monday as the state updated its daily dashboard with 533 new confirmed cases and 11 new deaths. The totals are 40,430 and 2,251, respectively.

Allen County saw two more deaths for a total of 87 along with 2,204 confirmed cases.

DeKalb County also reported a new death – a 79-year-old resident. Six new cases also have been confirmed, and the ages of those infected range from 18 to 81.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box recently mentioned Elkhart and LaGrange counties as having spikes – noting some of it is related to additional testing availability. Two populations they had hoped to target with testing were Latinos and Amish.

She also said LaGrange County was nearing capacity for hospital beds while the rest of the region is doing fine.

LaGrange is part of District 3 tracked by state officials. The district includes Allen County and nine other northeast Indiana counties.

Monday's data showed an increase of 66 new confirmed cases in the district – but that was the lowest increase since June 7.

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