Doctors still recommend face masks as Indiana lifts COVID restrictions

Doctors still recommend face masks as Indiana lifts COVID restrictions

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - Starting April 6, Indiana will lift its COVID-19 restrictions and change its mask mandate to a mask advisory.

Last Wednesday, Governor Eric Holcomb said the state’s steep decline in coronavirus hospitalization death rates along with the growing number of people vaccinated led to the decision to lift restrictions.

Businesses will be allowed to operate at full capacity and face masks will be recommended, not required. However, some health officials think the decision is premature.

Over the past week, Indiana has reported an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization. As of Monday afternoon, 762 new cases were reported along with one new death. The state’s positivity rate is 4.3%.

Since many gathered for Easter or are returning from Spring Break travels, health officials worry about another surge. Because of that threat, they’re asking all Hoosiers to continue wearing a face mask in public.

“Just because it’s not a mandate doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear a mask, especially when you’re going to encounter large crowds or things like that,” Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said. “Again, we have tried to put an emphasis on personal responsibility: know your own risk factors.”

Fully vaccinated individuals have a higher level of protection against contracting the virus, however, it’s not guarantee. Therefore, doctors say everyone should wear a face covering when they’re in public or a large gathering.

Masks will still be required in schools through the end of the academic year, in all state buildings and facilities, as well as all COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites.

Local officials and individual businesses would still have the authority to impose tougher restrictions.

Dr. Tom Harris with Floyd County’s Health Department said they will monitor COVID cases and discuss stronger restrictions if needed.

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