FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Allen County Health Commissioner Dr, Matthew Sutter described the recent results of a mask study done here locally by IU-Fairbanks School of Public Health by saying "that's great news!"
The study reveal that 88% of people are following Governor Holcomb’s mask order while out in public and that number only drops two percent when you include children under the age of 8, those who are NOT mandated to wear masks.
Sutter says this shows how well the health department’s massaging of mask wearing is working.
"Well I think we can always do better, but I think this is an example of how we’re doing it fairly well," Sutter said.
The study looked at several variable including gender, age, race, and ethnicity, location, time of day, and compliance.
Dr. Ashley Robertson with IU-Fairbanks says she trained her students to go out and observe over 3,500 people at various locations, mainly grocery stores.
"We considered retail catchment areas, which is essentially like a hospital catchment areas, where you’re most likely to go shopping for groceries or you’re going to go get milk or what have you," Robertson Explained
Results showed that there was a significant difference in how many people wore masks depending on the store they went to and people were more likely to wear masks during the morning than in the evening.
The study showed that the percent of people wearing masks versus not didn’t significantly differ across races.
Now the problem is the area is seeing covid-positive cases rise. Robertson explains that not because of people going to stores and not because masks don't work.
Robertson explained, "A lot of the infections don’t occur in grocery stores and big box stores, they occur at local family gatherings, at playgrounds, at picnics, that kind of thing."
So while the results of the first phase of the study were promising, there’s still more to be done, according to Sutter.
"We need to wear our masks more," Sutter explained. We need to wear our masks when we’re around people who are not from our household when we can’t maintain six feet of social distancing."
These results are just from the first phase of the study and Robertson says they are getting ready to start phase two, but she believes some people are becoming more complacent in regards to COVID-19, so she doesn’t expect as good of results once they complete phase two.