Indiana health officials give updates on COVID-19 testing timeline and mask wearing

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (WEHT)– State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG and Chief Medical Officer Lindsay Weaver, M.D. provided updates to COVID-19 and new health guidance.

Dr. Box says they are recommending everyone to wear masks indoor public settings, even if you are vaccinated. Indiana health officials are encouraging everyone 2-years-old and older to wear masks, especially in schools. Although, it’s ultimately up to local elected leaders to enforce this recommendation.

Another new recommendation is the timeline of COVID testing. Dr. Box says if you are considered to be a close contact with someone with COVID-19, get tested 3 to 5 days after being in contact with the infected person. If you are vaccinated, you don’t have to quarantine while waiting for those results but it’s advised to wear a mask since you might be a carrier of the virus.

Indiana Department of Health says these guidance changes come as positive COVID cases are on the rise again. Dr. Box says they are seeing slightly more cases now than this time last year. Indiana was averaging 900 new cases per day by the end of July 2020. Now Indiana is averaging more than 900 new positive cases per day. Although, unlike last year, vaccines are available to help fend off the virus.

The Delta variant is something state health leaders are watching closely, especially as the CDC finds the new variant to spread twice as easily as the original strain. Dr. Box says everyone who gets the Delta variant can pass the virus along to 8-9 people. She said this is what they are seeing with outbreaks in long term care facilities within the Indiana.

State health leaders are asking Hoosiers to get vaccinated to stop the virus from mutating. According to the State Health Commissioner, 0.126% of fully vaccinated people have become a break through case.

When asked if Indiana businesses can mandate mask wearing and vaccines, Dr. Box says businesses have the right to mandate both mask wearing and vaccines for their employees.

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