EDITOR’S NOTE – Dr. Ken Sowinski is Randolph County’s leading expert on the coronavirus and regularly provides our readers his insights and suggestions for battling the pandemic.
Recently Randolph County changed from a Covid-19 advisory status of “Blue” (the best status) back to “Yellow” (caution due to increased spread of Covid-19). The number of cases in the county doubled from the preceding week and positivity rates increased from 3 percent to nearly 6 percent.
This mirrors changes in other parts of the country and the State of Indiana. Cases have stopped decreasing and are once again going up. Our neighbor to the north, Michigan, leads the country in per capita new cases. These changes are occurring even as the Indiana mask mandate comes to an end on April 6 (today).
I remain optimistic about the state of Covid-19 in Randolph County. The most important step has been accomplished...getting our vulnerable population immunized to reduce death and hospitalizations. The recent increase in Covid cases are occurring in younger, less vulnerable persons.
There are two very important priorities for our Randolph County youth that I want all of us to support: Prom and graduation. After last year’s shut down affected spring activities, our kids deserve a safe Prom and a graduation without attendance restrictions.
We can accomplish this as a county if we work together. I urge all county citizens to continue to wear masks when indoors, or if adequate distancing is not possible outside. Delay family and social gatherings until after the graduation ceremonies.
When having guests over, continue to wear masks when indoors. Even though the mask mandate will end April 6th, the protection from virus spread by mask wearing, distancing, and frequent hand sanitation does not end. If the virus continues to spread in Randolph County, it could jeopardize these important milestones for our youth. So for our kids, let’s continue with responsible Covid behaviors to maximize the Prom experience and graduation ceremonies.
Also, I encourage you to get your Covid vaccine if you have not already done so. All persons 16 and over are now eligible in Indiana. The dramatic reduction in cases between January and March occurred in large part due to the vaccine roll out beginning in mid December. The more of us that are vaccinated, the faster cases drop, and the quicker we get back to pre-pandemic normalcy. This will be accomplished through vaccination and responsible Covid behavior.
Please continue to stay safe:
• Mask on
• Wash up
• Be smart-stay 6 feet apart
• And be kind. We are all in this together!