Crawford ranks 9th lowest in COVID-19 cases
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
There’s been a huge increase in COVID-19 cases in some areas of the country, and Indiana’s overall numbers have risen in recent weeks as well. Crawford County, however, has maintained a low number of confirmed cases — 37 as of July 20 — and zero deaths.
At the July 13 coronavirus task force meeting, Emergency Management Agency director Aaron Bye said Crawford County ranks ninth lowest in the state for positive cases.
“Only eight counties have fewer cases than we do,” he said. “Out of 92 counties, that’s not bad.”
Tim Farris, director of Emergency Medical Services, said Crawford County ranks second in confirmed cases in District 10, with only Pike County (20 confirmed cases as of July 20) lower.
Farris noted the low number is also significant because “we’re sitting in the middle of counties that have high numbers.” He also said the county has a big influx of tourists during the summer.
“Cave Country (Canoes) has 200 to 300 people every day during the week; they’re sold out on the weekends,” he said.
Patoka Lake has also been extremely busy, he noted.
Farris said it seems more people are wearing masks, in some instances at least.
“The last few times I’ve been in JayC (Store), I’d say 90% have been wearing masks,” he said.
The Kroger Corp., which owns JayC Food Stores, announced last week, along with several other large retailers, including Walmart, that masks would be mandatory for all customers effective July 22.
The issue of masks was discussed further in regard to the Crawford County Judicial Complex. There is a mandate that all visitors must wear a mask to enter. However, some are not following that and some take their masks off once they pass the guard at the entrance.
“If you go to a business that says you have to have a mask, they don’t have to serve you if you don’t. They have a right. Why can’t they do it over there?” asked Farris. “If we’re not going to enforce it, change the sign to say recommend. … In the public area, they should have them. I’m not seeing a lot of people doing it.”
The task force discussed the mandates at the judicial complex further, eventually deciding to keep them as is at this point as Gov. Eric Holcomb was set to give an update the following day. Later on July 14, the Crawford County Board of Commissioners voted to keep the current regulations in place.
On July 15, the governor said Indiana would remain at stage 4.5 of the Back on Track plan for the next two weeks.
Farris said even when Indiana returns to normal, it’s likely to be a new normal. He cited the Plexiglas barriers erected in government offices as an example.
“That may be something that it wouldn’t hurt to look at something more permanent down the road,” he said. “Not just (for) this virus, but the next one and influenza. People conduct business when they’re sick. To me, it’s the safer thing to do. As much as I hate to say, it it’s probably becoming normal.”