After coming across two handmade signs that implored the public to stop wearing face masks, Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly released a video Wednesday addressing the community. Using guidance from the Green River District Health Department, Owensboro Health and numerous other health experts, Mattingly shared the importance of wearing a mask in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The signs Mattingly referred to in his video are currently located at the corner of Carter Road and West 2nd St., across from the entrance to Thompson-Berry Park.
The signs read “Stop: You’re Being Brainwashed into Compliance!” and “Stop Wearing a Mask: They Don’t Work!”
Mattingly used the sign-sighting as part of his Wednesday morning COVID-19 update for the Green River region, saying he wanted to remind people how important masks were during a pandemic.
Mattingly said he was left with a few questions, including whether the sign-maker had any medical expertise in handling infectious diseases.
“Masks work. The White House has said masks work,” Mattingly said. “The state has said masks work. The CDC says masks work. For them to work, you have to wear them properly.”
Not only does a mask protect the person wearing it, but it protects those around them too, Mattingly said.
“We depend on other people to protect us, and us to protect other people,” he said. “When you’re in close proximity to others, there is statistical evidence saying you’re much less likely to catch COVID. It doesn’t guarantee you won’t catch COVID. You just lower the likelihood.”
Mattingly went on to say that plexiglass between customers and cashiers at stores did little to protect people from COVID-19 without the combined use of masks. He noted that of the seven counties in the Green River District, five were currently in the Red level for COVID-19 cases.
“McLean County — with 9,000 citizens — was leading the state in the rate of cases per 100,000 people. Think about that — they only have 9,000 people there,” he said. “McLean County has 110 cases per 100,000 people. It’s an extremely high rate for such a small county.”
According to the Green River District Health Department, as of Thursday 1,820 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Daviess County and 1,612 have recovered. A dozen Daviess County residents were currently hospitalized for the virus, with 128 ever having been hospitalized. There have also been 28 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths.
Mattingly said more COVID-19 hospitalizations would likely lead to more deaths for members of the Daviess County community and beyond.
“This is real, and it’s mean,” Mattingly said. “Until we get a vaccine and [can achieve] herd immunity, wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and avoid large crowds.”