In a recent mask compliance study, students in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IU Fort Wayne observed more than 3,500 people at seven selected grocery stores in Fort Wayne. The study found that nearly 90% of customers wore masks, and did so properly.
Dr. Ashley Robertson, assistant professor of Health Policy and Management served as lead on the study, and presented it at Fort Wayne's executive board of health meeting. Students volunteered to serve as observers in various locations around Allen County to help to determine how much compliance the county has with the statewide mask order.
They also gauged the mask order’s effectiveness in the Fort Wayne area by combining the mask compliance data with incidence and prevalence rates in the area.
With temparatures dropping and people heading indoors, Dr. Robertson stresses the importance of wearing masks.
"This fall and winter are really what's going to test us," she said in an interview with Fort Wayne's NBC (video). "So I think we need to not be complacent, and remember masks really do help prevent the spread."
Dr. Robertson said the effort allows students to engage in the materials they are learning in-class, as well as learn about the current pandemic from a public health policy perspective.
To date, the mask compliance study has been covered by several media outlets, including but not limited to WANE, and Journal Gazette.