CDC Guide to Wearing / Creating Face Coverings

Dr. Brian Niedbalski, County Health Officer, reviews current national, state and local COVID-19 numbers, reviews current guidelines for social distancing and precautions when out in public, as well as additions to the Governor’s Stay-At-Home order and closures.


Good afternoon.  My name is Dr. Brian Niedbalski, Bartholomew County Health Officer.  I’m going to begin by providing some updated numbers.  There are over 430,000 reported cases of COVID-19 nationwide with almost 15,000 deaths.  In Indiana, we have had over 6,000 positive cases with 245 deaths and in Bartholomew County, we currently have 83 positive cases reported and unfortunately, 4 deaths.  We knew from the outset that fatalities would be expected from COVID-19, and that is the reason that we have been so adamant about the concept of physical distancing.  This is still the best way that we can prevent the spread of the virus within our community.  The recommendation, especially if you are elderly, is to stay at home.  If you are outside either taking a walk, riding a bike, or participating in some other type of physical activity, please try to keep a six-foot buffer zone between yourself and other individuals.

Studies are now showing that some individuals infected with COVID-19 lack any symptoms or can transmit the virus a few days before showing any symptoms, although this is not typical.  This is one of the reasons that the CDC now recommends that we wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing may not be possible, such as groceries or pharmacies.  We want to do what we can to limit the spread of the virus, as some of us may be infected, and not even know it.

A reminder of recent developments: all campgrounds are now closed except for those people using RVs or cabins as their primary residence. The governor’s stay at home order runs at least until April 20th.  Until that time, only essential businesses can be open as outlined by the governor’s office.  Late last week, we instituted local shopping guidelines for stores as well as for the general public.  I have seen that several of our stores in town are trying to put a limit on shoppers inside their building at one time, and this is a great example of limiting congregating in public and trying to promote social distancing.  Many stores have implemented hours specifically for the elderly.  We can also do our part by wearing facial coverings or masks as well as disposable gloves while shopping.  We can wipe off our carts before and after shopping.  We should also try to avoid touching objects in the store that we don’t intend to buy.

Until next time, stay safe Columbus.  Thank you.