No word from state on vaccinated people, masks

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people could resume activities without wearing a mask, residents have wondered if that changes anything locally.

Dubois County continues to follow the orders that come from the state, said Shawn Werner, administrative director of the Dubois County Health Department.

“The executive order is what we are following,” he said. “I haven’t really seen anything come out from Indiana on the new CDC guidance.”

Indiana is still under executive orders that makes wearing masks optional for individuals, allowing them to decide for themselves if they want to wear a mask. Companies also have the flexibility to decide if they want to mandate wearing masks in their own establishment. Dubois County, as an example, decided last week that fully vaccinated people could go into county buildings without wearing a mask.

There are a few areas in which the state still mandates wearing masks: state-owned properties, COVID-19 testing sites and vaccine sites. The county health department falls under this, since it is a vaccine site.

Under the CDC’s new guidelines that were announced May 13, fully vaccinated people can:

• Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

• Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.

• Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.

• Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings.

• Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic.

• Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible.

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

• Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

• Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.

These guidelines and other COVID-19 recommendations can be found on the CDC’s website: www.cdc.gov.

Typically, the CDC gives guidance to the states and each state determines its own measures.

“What the CDC is saying is if you’re fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask,” Werner said. “But I’m kind of waiting for the state to make a determination, if they’re going to follow it as a state, or if they’re going to stick with what they’re doing. I haven’t seen that yet.”

So while masks are not being mandated, the state has not reiterated the CDC’s message that fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear them. “We’re waiting on the state’s determination for where we go here,” Werner said.




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