Tippecanoe County health officials on Wednesday said that COVID is trending upward across the state and county, although they say it is too early to call the numbers “a new surge.”
The numbers are especially concerning as the statewide mask mandate lifts.
The message from the Tippecanoe County Health Department was that the pandemic isn’t over, in spite of the end of the mask mandate and widespread “pandemic fatigue.”
Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler praised West Lafayette for keeping its mask mandate in place.
“I applaud Mayor Dennis and the city of West Lafayette, Purdue University, and local businesses and organizations for keeping their mask mandates. Their policies will help protect our community.”
Noticeably absent from Adler’s praise was Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, who has decided to lift the mask mandate along with the rest of the state.
When asked about the decision, Roswarski said he was following the Governor’s recommendation and encouraged residents to be respectful of businesses that want to continue requiring masks.
Lafayette city hall will continue to require masks.
The press conference on Wednesday is expected to be the last. Officials were asked why they were ending briefings with the looming prospect of another COVID surge.
Dr. Adler said that briefings would be brought back if another surge materializes.
IU Health Arnett Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Bien noted that he worries about his staff if the region sees another COVID surge.
“I am concerned that the healthcare workforce that has lived through this continues to be at risk,” he said. “To be witness to so much suffering for such a long period of time and to have on the horizon more coming is an emotional drain for many.”
“Our healthcare workforce is strong and resilient, but they are bearing a burden that many are not aware of,” Bien concluded.