MONROE COUNTY — The Indiana Department of Health keeps track of COVID-19 infection rates by county using a color-coded map to show each county's advisory level.
As of this article being published, most counties are at a two and a half or three. Only ten of Indiana's counties are at a two or lower, which includes Monroe County. Monroe County's rate of positivity is close to 10%. They're also one of the only counties in the state that still has a mask mandate.
Lynzy Finnegan and Madison Anderson live in Bloomington. Both have jobs where they interact with the public, so they have a good gauge on who is following the county's mask mandate
"Definitely at the store I work at, we have a lot of people wearing masks. Most of our guests are wearing masks," Finnegan said.
"It's honestly been so easy. Our clientele is super understanding and there was a short time when the mask mandate was lifted and we gave the option and almost all of our clients still wore their masks," Anderson said.
Businesses in Bloomington make it clear with signs as you walk in. They expect everyone who comes into their establishment to have on a mask.
Samira Restaurant changed up the no shoes, no shirt sign to include no mask, no service.
Knowing Monroe County is doing better than other counties in terms of COVID-19 cases doesn't surprise Andeson or Finnegan. The mask mandate, they believe, plays a big role in it.
"It seems to be working. If you look at the numbers, it obviously makes sense," Finnegan said
"Everybody where I work has not gotten Covid. We've all been Covid safe and negative since the pandemic. We haven't had any issues," Anderson said about her job as a stylist.
They both believe there's an obvious solution to bring cases down statewide: masking, vaccinations, and other COVID-19 safety recommendations.
"I have a lot of friends in the healthcare industry, so I wear a mask for them, for people in the industry to try and protect their jobs, keep the numbers low, keep the hospitals less full," Finnegan said.
"If you can get vaccinated, that's awesome and if you don't get vaccinated or can't get vaccinated, keep wearing your masks and just keep people safe. I love that Bloomington is a super safe place for that," Anderson said.
As mentioned earlier in this article, despite Monroe County's better standing when compared to counties around it, cases are still rising. The county health administrator sent this statement to WRTV about the situation.
While we are disappointed in our rising numbers, we are hopeful that people who are vaccinating, getting their boosters, and following preventive strategies will help reduce the length of this surge