Whitley County won’t mandate masks or vaccines; Indiana health chief says ‘not science-based’


WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — Whitley County’s Board of Commissioners will not enforce, mandate, or require masks or vaccines from its residents, and they do not support quarantine rules.

The statement was made by commissioners Chad Banks (District 1), George Schrumpf (District 2), and Theresa Green (District 3).

Recent changes to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) have prompted the Whitley County Board of Commissioners to offer the following statement.

In Whitley County, we believe masking and immunizations are a decision for individuals to make and should not be mandated. Anyone eligible for a COVID vaccine can obtain this through Whitley County’s Health Department and anyone who wishes to wear a mask may do so but anyone who chooses to forego masks and vaccinations also has that right.

We as Commissioners also do not support contact tracing quarantines. We believe individuals who may have been in close contact but show no COVID symptoms should be allowed to attend work or school without interruption. We believe in a commonsense approach to COVID that allows for individual freedom.

Whitley County Board of Commissioners

The statement was presented to Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box during her statewide briefing Friday. During the press conference, WANE 15’s news partner KPC asked Dr. Box about the county’s decision.

“That’s why this concept of people who are asymptomatic can go to school, people that are close contacts when people aren’t wearing masks can go ahead and go to school that’s why that concept doesn’t work,” Dr. Box said. “That is absolutely incorrect and not an appropriate science-based decision-making process.”

You can see the response in the video above.

WANE 15 reached out to the county commissioners to get their response to Dr. Box. statement.

What we’re standing against is the government mandating these things. We believe in allowing people to choose what’s best for them and their families. The people of Whitley County are smart enough to do what’s right on their own without being ordered. The intent of the statement was merely to say that we trust people to make their own choices on how best to handle this pandemic and don’t support the heavy handed responses to the pandemic that mandate quarantine, masks or vaccines. 

Theresa Green
Whitley County Commissioners
District 3

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