Two Indiana counties are lifting their local mask mandates after federal health officials eased mask-wearing guidance for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The health departments for the counties that include South Bend and Bloomington are rescinding those local orders, while Indianapolis officials are keeping the city’s mask mandate in place.
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.
The St. Joseph County order covering South Bend was rescinded as of Thursday night, while the Monroe County order including Bloomington will end Monday morning.
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.
Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted the statewide mask mandate in early April.