The City of Peru, Indiana

Circus Capital of the World

Facial Coverings/Masks in Public "Highly Recommended"

The following is a letter received by Mayor Hewitt from Miami County Health Doctor Christi Redmon. Please see below:
As you and I spoke last week about where Miami County appears to be poised for schools re-opening soon, we briefly reviewed the Stage 4.5 re-opening guidelines for Indiana. The guidelines state that facial coverings are "highly recommended" among the other guidelines found easily on the ISDH website.
Many individuals have found reasons not to adhere to wearing facial coverings inside. I would be happy to speak with anyone about why facial coverings can help lower risk of transmission from an asymptomatic carrier.
Marion County does have a facial covering mandate in place presently, and Lake County, also does, I believe. If Miami County has a sudden surge of cases, we would notify the ISDH, and they would agree with a facial covering mandate.
The death rate for this virus appears to have stabilized and/or declined for now, but nothing else is changed. The virus is new, so many guidelines might need to be revised as more understanding about transmission is acquired. The virus remains very contagious, and for some high risk groups, a poor outcome will occur with infection.
However one might argue about the shutdown's effectiveness initially in the United States, it would be devastating to return to that again for our economy. The shutdown did provide an initial window to obtain more PPE, ventilators, and pursue drug trials. A vaccine may not be available widely in the near future, and we should strive to live differently in the face of those facts as we re-open. Locally and statewide, a sudden demand for ICU beds and ventilators, which are tracked carefully, would be a needless outcome if individuals do not take this seriously.
Indiana's rural communities have a lifestyle that is socially distanced in many respects, especially when compared with large cities with multi-unit dwellings and mass transportation. The return to school steps are being carefully considered by IDOE and ISDH to safely re-open in light of ongoing viral transmission this year. Miami County continues to have a steady increase of cases. I would hope that all parents would want to keep their schools open. Adherence to those steps will be critical at schools.
The disinfecting of common touch points, frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizers during the day, and social distancing guidelines at schools will be important. The bus is not a place where social distancing can happen, and I would strongly recommend that parents who are using the bus would have their child wear a facial covering. There is strong evidence that, although not perfect, facial coverings do lower risk from an asymptomatic spreader to another person.
 On a different note, for this current stage, it is required that food establishment staff and employees wear face coverings and adhere to current capacity guidelines. There are steps that ISDH has in place to guide local health departments for education and enforcement in Indiana counties. The Miami County Health Department continues to strive to adhere to those efforts. We ask for your support and that of the city council.
Dr.Christi Redmon
Health Officer