Indiana health officials ask Hoosiers to be cautious going into Labor Day weekend


JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind.– Health officials are asking Hoosiers to be responsible and cautious in an effort to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases after this Labor Day weekend.

“I think people can have fun,” said Johnson Memorial Health President and CEO Dr. David Dunkle. “You can be around your family, you can be around friends, but maintain distance, maintain your mask wearing and wash those hands.”

The words of caution come after warnings earlier this week about the Labor Day weekend potentially leading to a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases.

”We saw a surge in patients after Memorial Day weekend and July Fourth gatherings,” Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said this week. “I don’t want to see that surge after Labor Day, make this weekend a safe one Hoosiers”

According to Johns Hopkins University, the Independence Day and Memorial Day holidays helped drive a summer surge that included about 3.8 million COVID-19 cases around the nation.

“We definitely saw a bump a couple weeks after both those holidays,” Dunkle said. “The good thing is, luckily, we have had maybe a little less severity of disease, but we’re still seeing pretty regular numbers.”

Swearingen suggests people keep in mind that even getting together with family members can mean gathering different households together. For that reason, proper coronavirus guidelines from the CDC should be followed and friends and family should not be shy about asking and answering health-related questions.

“No they shouldn’t be afraid to ask any questions whatsoever,” Swearingen said. “Your health is the most important thing and now is the time to be very conscientious of it.”

It is helpful that many Labor Day actives can be planned outdoors, Dunkle said. At the same time, he believes asymptomatic spread could be the biggest threat over a long holiday weekend of parties and activities.

“There are some studies that show up to 40-percent of people that are infected don’t know they have it,” Dunkle said. “That’s why it’s important to stay vigilant.”

If there is a spike in COVID-19 cases from the Labor Day weekend, it could be a couple weeks until the evidence shows up in the daily data. For that reason, health officials will be watching the numbers very closely in the second half of September.

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