By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – The state’s drive-thru testing site in Warsaw will continue for an additional two weeks, said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer during a coronavirus media briefing on Wednesday at City Hall.
The free drive-through service, which is available to anyone older than 12-years old, was started on July 13 with a two-week commitment.
The service is averaging about 200 tests per day and will now continue until Aug. 8, Thallemer said.
Hours for the service at 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Thallemer expressed appreciation for the extension and said another testing site relying on CARES Act funding could be announced soon.
Meanwhile, Dr. William Remington, the Kosciusko County Health Officer, confirmed the county continues to see a steady – “but not explosive” – increase in positive cases and said he expects those numbers to spike because of the expanded testing now available.
The county continues to see dozens of new positive cases each week. As of Wednesday, the county had recorded 721 total cases.
The four additional deaths recently reported in the county doubled the number since officials began, and serves as a lagging indicator for circumstances from four to six weeks ago, Remington said.
“Don’t take your foot off the gas with our social interventions,” Remington warned.
The news conference came three hours before Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a state-wide mask mandate, joining every other surrounding state to do so.
Mayor Joe Thallemer quickly threw his support behind the mandate with a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.
Holcomb referenced the upward trending numbers in Kosciusko County in his remarks as he announced the mask mandate.
“Wearing a face covering inside public spaces or outside where social distancing is not possible protects yourself and those around you,” Thallemer said in a prepared statement.
“With the importance of a safe return to school and to avoid moving ‘backwards’ in our efforts to get through this, I ask that we all comply with the Governor’s mandate,” Thallemer said. “From day one, our state has utilized public health data to support its response to all phases of this pandemic. The science is clear that the use of face coverings is easy and very effective”
In other matters, Remington voiced support for the local reopening of schools.
While some parents are not pleased with reopening plans being outlined by area schools, Remington said Wednesday he still has “full confidence” in what is being proposed.
To view the entire 56-minute news conference, go to the city’s website.
Below is a chart promoted by the county health department and is intended to serve as a guideline for parents who are sending their children back to school