Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb today announced a statewide mask mandate to go into effect on Monday, citing rising Covid-19 numbers both within his state and in surrounding states.
“Face coverings can and will help us blunt this increase. It has in other places around the country and around the world,” he said at a news conference. “And this is time sensitive now. It's that time of the year, after all, when schools are going back. This might be one of the most important reasons.”
“There has been a rise in Covid-19 positivity across the state, from a low of 3.6% just a month ago, to where we find ourselves today with a seven-day average rate of just about 7% — the last couple days it was closer to 8%," the governor said.
Health officials said Indiana has also seen a rise in overall hospitalization rates from 600 a day near the end of June to about 800 a day, currently. The governor said a number of counties “that have never even been a blip on the radar screen for positive tests are, in some cases, reporting regular double digit Covid-19 positive cases.”
Holcomb said that while not wearing a face covering will be a misdemeanor, “mask police will not be patrolling our streets.” He called on residents to “do the right thing” by wearing a mask.
“We have continued to fare better than many other states,” he said. “Now we have to hunker down in a different way. Which is why wearing masks will become the fashion of the day.”