Last week, the Allen County health commissioner urged residents to continue practicing COVID-19 precautions while virus spread and vaccination efforts are ongoing.
Dr. Matthew Sutter was joined by local elected officials, business owners and community leaders at a press conference at Citizens Square Thursday to announce his recommendations for continued vigilance with mask wearing, social distancing and other precautions even as state-wide mandates are rolled back.
“We are on the five-yard line,” said Sutter. “Now is not the time to spike the ball and start dancing. Let’s continue doing what got us this far so we can beat COVID-19.”
The county has seen a slight increase in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks. With holiday gatherings and spring break travel coming up and the Governor rolling back the state mask mandate, Sutter is concerned about the possibility of a spike in cases.
However, because crises previously seen with hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are not imminent, the Department will not implement any local restrictions at this time. Sutter instead strongly encouraged Allen County residents continue behaviors practiced during the past year of the pandemic that work to prevent the spread of this deadly virus for the health of the whole community, including:
• Wearing a mask over their mouth and nose
• Keeping at least six feet distance from others and avoiding crowds
• Washing hands regularly with soap and water or using hand sanitizer when handwashing is not possible
• Staying home when sick
• Disinfecting and cleaning high-touch surfaces regularly
• Getting vaccinated as soon as possible
“We have a great opportunity with vaccines now being available to anyone who is 16 years and older, and we encourage everyone to consider receiving the vaccine,” said Terry Redmile, plant manager for BFGoodrich. “In the meantime, we also encourage everyone to continue wearing a mask when they are unable to social distance as a means to protect and respect one another.”
“We applaud and support these efforts as we have come a long way over the past year and see the finish line in sight,” said Brian Bauer, president of IU Health Fort Wayne. “We want to encourage everyone in continuing to stop the spread and receiving the vaccine when eligible.”
The vaccine is now available to anyone 16-years-old and older at sites throughout Indiana. Eligible individuals can register for an appointment at ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211.