Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana business leaders have disagreed with President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but Tippecanoe county’s health officer is “pleasantly surprised” by the decision.
The mandate would require businesses with 100 or more employees to have workers vaccinated or submit them to regular testing. Federal workers, teachers, and most healthcare workers will have to be vaccinated without a testing option.
Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler said the new requirement isn’t likely to impact the current surge in COVID - but it will help prevent the next one.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the announcement and very hopeful that it will help encourage vaccination and help protect our community and help us get through this pandemic faster,” he said. “It may or may not impact the current surge we’re in now. But importantly it’ll help to prevent a future surge.”
Hospital officials have warned since July that emergency rooms are full and hospital staff are at the breaking point, with the current COVID surge not expected to peak until October.
“Hopefully the primary impact will be an increase in our vaccination rate locally,” Adler said. “That should help to decrease our new case numbers and reduce our community spread of COVID-19.”
Adler last week warned that the need for COVID testing was outpacing availability. He said the state has hired a new company to help it meet the increased demand for COVID testing, which he says had already been lagging behind need.
“I think that will be very beneficial and should help meet that demand,” he said.
Tippecanoe County has requested to host a new COVID testing site.
As of Friday, Tippecanoe County had 104 new positive COVID cases and a seven-day all tests positivity rate of 5.7%. The county’s vaccination rate is a little over 50%.