Public Health Advisory –8/23/2021
To all interested parties:
In agreement with and support of the advisory published by the Allen County Health Commissioner as well as on the basis of the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the following advisory is issued to the citizens of Noble County.
We continue to be in the midst of a global pandemic of COVID-19 that has taken more than 600,000 American lives. Despite safe and effective vaccines being readily available, the vaccination rates for Indiana and Noble County lag behind the national average. There is currently a significant surge in COVID-19 cases in Noble County and Indiana, which is coupled with an increase in hospitalizations. This is related to the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which appears to spread more easily than the original novel coronavirus.
Because of our current situation, Noble County residents should take the following actions:
- Get vaccinated – All three vaccines are safe, effective, and remain the most important tool in reducing your personal risk of severe disease and protecting the hospitals and healthcare workers. As of today, the Pfizer vaccine has full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for people aged 16 years and older. (Emergency Use Authorization continues for ages 12-15.)
- Wear a mask indoors – Noble County is an area of HIGH COVID-19 spread, and CDC recommends universal masking in areas of HIGH or SUBSTANTIAL spread, regardless of vaccination status. The current level of spread can be visualized here: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view
- Masking in K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status– While children are at lower risk for hospitalization and death, this is not a benign illness in children. Children under 12 are not yet eligible for any of the vaccines. Children who are infected can easily spread the disease in their households and are an important driver of overall community spread. Vaccinations and masks are our best tools for keeping schools open for in person instruction. I urge school boards and heads of school to implement universal masking in K-12 schools as recommended by the CDC, IDOH and AAP.
It is critically important that we not overwhelm our healthcare systems or our healthcare workers. We have an obligation to our families, our friends, and our community to protect one another from infection and disease during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Terry Gaff, MD
Noble County Health Officer