Madison County sticking with state guidance despite new CDC recommendations

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ANDERSON, Ind. — Madison County is one of the dozens of Indiana counties falling under new CDC recommendations.

The CDC has labeled Madison County as “High” for community transmission of COVID-19. People who live in counties in the “High” or “Substantial” categories are recommended to wear masks indoors, whether they’re vaccinated or not.

“Everybody wants this over with,” said Xochitl Hernandez, an Anderson resident.

Hernandez said she’s willing to follow the new CDC recommendation to help end the pandemic.

“I feel like a lot of people should actually follow the rules so we can actually get over COVID because I’m tired of all these guidelines,” she said.

Right now, COVID-19 cases, fueled by the Delta Variant, are climbing across the country.

“I think everybody should be precautious when they are out and about,” said Molly McCoy, an Anderson resident. “I think they should heed large crowds.”

But McCoy said she’s not necessarily in support of another mask order.

“At the end of the day I think it’s a person’s decision,” she said.

Another Anderson resident told CBS4 she hasn’t stopped wearing her mask when she’s out and about.

“We need to think about the other person,” Mercedes Cunningham said. “So, when I’m out at doctors or at the store I wear a mask.”

Despite the changing CDC guidance, Stephenie Mellinger, the Director of the Madison County Health Department, said their guidelines will stick with what the state health department is saying.

“We’re still following the guidance of if you have been vaccinated, masks are still optional,” said Mellinger.

But she said they are keeping a close eye on cases as they arise.

“Our cases have increased, yes. Our positivity rate has increased, yes,” Mellinger said. “But we’re watching it and it is certainly lower than what it has been in the past year and a half.”

For those worried about rising cases, Mellinger said she sees the concerns but wants people to remember we are in a much different situation than we were a year ago.

“A little bit of me was like, ‘Oh, no. Here we go again,’” she said. “But at the same time, we have vaccines. We didn’t have vaccines a year ago and that is a humongous additional means of prevention.”

Mellinger said this raised level of concern from the CDC is yet another reason for people to get vaccinated. She said the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way for us to get through this pandemic.

“I think we’re all tired and we’re ready for it to be done and it’s frustrating to hear there is a potential resurgence,” Mellinger said.

As for any future changes to Madison County Health Department guidance, Mellinger said they’ll continue following the state’s lead and if they need to change direction, they will.

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