Local health officials recommend masks, other COVID-19 prevention measures

Bartholomew County officials are not forcing you to wear a mask or to get vaccinated for COVID-19, but they are encouraging you to take those precautions.

The COVID-19 Community Task Force met yesterday to review the spread of the disease locally and to consider measures to stop the spread.

Positive cases have had a 25 percent increase in recent weeks and the CDC has moved Bartholomew County into the group of counties with significant spread of the disease. Where there was one person hospitalized with COVID-19 two weeks ago, there are now 10 people hospitalized.

And the Delta variant is now the overwhelmingly predominant strain in our community, according to the task force.

Dr. Tom Sonderman, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Columbus Regional Health, says the new variant is very easily spread among those who are are unvaccinated and vaccinated people can transmit the disease.

The task force recommends that you practice social distancing, wear masks and wash and sanitize your hands whenever possible. And the task force is encouraging all eligible members of the community to get vaccinated.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb yesterday ordered everyone who works or visits a state building to wear a mask. The governor says he’s not going to re-impose a statewide mask mandate, but that local leaders are more than welcome to institute mask rules of their own.

You can get more information at covid19communitytaskforce.org.