On Saturday, May 29, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reported the 82nd COVID-19 death in Wabash County.

During the weekly update to the ISDH’s advisory map on Wednesday, June 2, Wabash County still rated in the blue category, which is the lowest, although the local positivity rate was up slightly.

This news comes as more and more local entities are following state and federal guidelines to lower their mask mandates to advisories.

North Manchester Public Library (NMPL) adult department manager and marketing coordinator Jeanna Hann said they were citing the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

Hann said because of these changes, their mask requirement had changed to a recommendation beginning Tuesday, June 1.

“We’ve had wonderful feedback from so many patrons who really appreciated the library prioritizing the safety of staff and patrons,” said Hann. “Several took the time to email us and thank us for keeping the masks as long as we did. Of course, there are always people who aren’t fans of the mask mandates, but we hope the community knows that their safety is our first priority.”

On Tuesday, June 1, Wabash Carnegie Public Library (WCPL) executive director Ware Wimberly said their mask policy had also changed from requiring them to advisory, “so face masks are not required to be worn in the building.”

On Friday, May 28, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb signed Executive Order 21-15 to adjust and lift other requirements beginning Tuesday, June 1. The Executive Order removes the mask mandate while in state facilities, except for anyone inside any of these state government congregate facilities – the state prisons, state hospitals, Indiana Veterans Home and the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Masks are also still required inside COVID testing and vaccination clinics. The order also continues the face-covering requirement inside Indiana schools through June 30. Face coverings are not required outdoors on school grounds.

Holcomb originally announced the statewide change from a mask mandate to a mask advisory would take effect Tuesday, April 6. Mayor Scott Long said on Monday, April 6 that he supported Holcomb’s decision, but that caution was still warranted. On the same day, local hospitals including Parkview Health and Lutheran Health Network said they would continue to require masks in their facilities, despite the lifting of the mandate. Also on Monday, April 6, Manchester University assistant director of media relations Anne Gregory said they would continue to require masks at both their North Manchester and Fort Wayne campuses.

On Friday, June 4, the ISDH reported two new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 3,598, with 15,537 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 5.5 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 14.7 percent.

Also on Friday, June, 4, the ISDH reported that 405 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 746,135 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard.

To date, 13,244 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of five from the previous day. Another 417 probable deaths have been reported to date based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record.

A total of 3,517,652 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 3,515,100 on Thursday. A total of 10,519,723 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26, 2020.

To find testing sites around the state, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov and click on the COVID-19 testing information link.

Hoosiers age 12 and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine; individuals younger than age 18 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only. To find a vaccination clinic near you, visit https://ourshot.in.gov or call 211 if you do not have access to a computer or require assistance. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are accepted at most sites.

Mobile vaccination clinics are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, 3718 E. Blue Ridge Road, Shelbyville; and at the Syracuse Community Center, 1013 N. Long Drive, Syracuse.

Patients with an appointment at a state-hosted public vaccination site can get a free Uber or Lyft ride. Call 2-1-1 or (866) 211-9966 to receive a voucher to cover the cost of an Uber ride to and from your vaccination appointments. IU Health offers free Lyft rides to any vaccine site in the state. Call 888-IUHEALTH (888-484-3258) and choose option 9 if you need transportation to your vaccine appointment.

As of Friday, a total of 5,232,996 doses have been administered in Indiana. This includes 2,674,149 first doses and 2,558,847 individuals who are fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated number represents individuals who have received a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and those who received the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com.