At least one Indiana county is dropping its local mask mandate after federal health officials eased mask-wearing guidance for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The health officer for St. Joseph County, which includes South Bend, rescinded Thursday night the order that was to remain in place until May 27. Local officials, however, are keeping mask orders in effect for Indianapolis and Bloomington.
St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Robert M. Einterz cited the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. But he said he remained concerned about many unvaccinated people remaining vulnerable to coronavirus infection.
The CDC reports Indiana has the country’s 12th lowest rate with about 31% of all people fully vaccinated.
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Marion County health department director Dr. Virginia Caine said the agency would review the CDC guidance and the Indianapolis vaccination rates before recommending any changes to current restrictions. Caine said work continues on getting more people immunized.
The regulations for Bloomington and surrounding Monroe County will be reviewed during a county health board meeting next week, the health department administrator said.
Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted the statewide mask mandate in early April.