Local News

Shelby County schools required to mask up as COVID-19 cases spike

In conjunction with a Public Health Order issued by the Shelby County Health Department, the Shelby County Commissioners approved through a 2-1 vote Monday morning to require masks in all county-owned facilities and require all students and staff in Shelby County schools to return to wearing masks in indoor settings effective Tuesday at 8 a.m.

The resolution stays in effect until Oct. 30, unless rescinded before the end of October. The resolution also could be extended past Oct. 30 if COVID-19 statistics do not improve locally.

“The numbers … our positivity rate is so high,” said Shelby County Commissioner Kevin Nigh as to why the mandate was issued. “The hospital is full. I felt strongly that we needed to do something.”

The City of Shelbyville issued a mask mandate for all city-owned buildings Wednesday at a Common Council meeting.

The number of COVID-19 cases have been on the rise around the state of Indiana with many hospitals around central Indiana reaching maximum capacity.

Major Health Partners of Shelbyville reported today that all 40 inpatient beds are now occupied, 17 are critical care patients and 11 are on ventilators.

The walk-in volumes at Priority Care, MHP Pediatrics and MHP Family & Internal Medicine have been much higher than normal in September.

As of noon Monday, Shelby County’s 7-day positivity rate is 13.4%. Shelby County has reported 6,107 cases and 105 deaths since the pandemic started in early 2020, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Shelby County students completed the 2020-2021 school year with a mask mandate in place.  All four school systems opened for the 2021-2022 school year with masks optional for students and staff.

That will change Tuesday morning.

Shelbyville High School has canceled its past two football games due to COVID-19 cases within the program as well as contact tracing throughout the school.

In its weekly update Friday, Shelbyville Central Schools noted there were 45 cases of COVID-19 reported to the district during the week of Sept. 6.

Twenty of those cases were from Shelbyville High School. Eleven more were from the middle school and 14 were in the three elementary schools.

Nigh cited the need to protect students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

“I felt this would be something of a little more protection for (the students) and to get our overall numbers to turn around,” he said.

Nigh and fellow commissioner Chris Ross approved the resolution. Commissioner Don Parker voted against the resolution.