Tippecanoe Health Officials Weigh In On NCAA Allowing Fans At Games
Tippecanoe County Health officials say they believe NCAA championship games expected to be held on the campus of Purdue University can be carried out safely.
The NCAA announced last week that championship games will allow some fan attendance, with sports arenas allowed to reach up to 25% capacity.
At the county’s bi-weekly press briefing, Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler said the Purdue Athletic Department will only allow between 12-13% capacity at the Mackey Arena.
“At that capacity level with appropriate social distancing and face coverings, I think the events themselves will be able to be carried out safely.”
According to Dr. Adler, COVID cases in the county have continued moving in a “favorable” direction. Percent positivity of COVID tests and ER visits for upper-respiratory illnesses are both trending downwards. Deaths due to COVID-19 are slightly up compared with last week.
So far, the county has given the first dose of the vaccine to over 21,000 people and has fully vaccinated over 10,000. Earlier this week, Indiana announced it would open those eligible to receive a vaccine to residents over 60.
The county has opened a telephone line for residents over 70 to call if they haven’t yet gotten a vaccine. Health officials raised concerns earlier in the vaccine rollout that the expansion was moving too quickly and might leave older residents without support behind in the vaccine sign-up process.
The mayors of both West Lafayette and Lafayette noted they were in favor of having fans visit the area, noting that the games could help provide some relief to businesses that have suffered over the course of the pandemic.
John Dennis, Mayor of West Lafayette, said people have gotten smarter about how to keep themselves safe.
“Overall as a city that hosts a Big 10 University like Purdue we’re honored,” he said. “And more importantly I think we’re prepared. I think it’s going to work out not just for our best economic interest but I think we’ll be a shining example of how to get things done.”