Judges: Masks now optional in Delaware County courtrooms – The Star Press

MUNCIE, Ind. — Face masks are no longer mandatory in Delaware County courtrooms.

The county’s five Circuit Court judges — Marianne Vorhees, Kimberly Dowling, Linda Ralu Wolf, John Feick and Thomas Cannon Jr. — on Tuesday rescinded an “order on protective facial coverings” that had been issued on Jan. 12.

An order — signed by Wolf, the court system’s presiding judge — noted a “rapid decline in confirmed daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths” due to COVID-19 “in Delaware County and East Central Indiana.”

The order also noted Governor Eric Holcomb last week rescinded a statewide COVID-19 public health emergency declaration.

Related: Delaware County’s COVID cases fall 28.7%; Indiana cases plummet 43.8%

Tuesday’s order made the wearing of facial covering in Delaware County courts “optional.”

A mask order was already in effect for the county’s courtrooms in mid-January when a revised order expanded the mandatory use of masks to court and probation offices in both the Delaware County Justice Center and at the Youth Opportunity Center.

The January order had referred to “the fast-spreading omicron variant.”

Also in mid-January, the judges had ruled no jury trials would be conducted through Feb. 17 due to the “recent surge in coronavirus cases.”

As of last week, Delaware County had reported 24,639 COVID cases and 410 deaths since the pandemic began.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recent days dropped Delaware County’s ranking its new COVID-19 “community levels” assessment from high to medium.

A county’s ranking in that CDC assessment is measured not only by new COVID-19 cases but also by COVID-19 admissions at local hospitals and the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Douglas Walker is a news reporter at The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or at dwalker@muncie.gannett.com.

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