Congresswoman Jackie Walorski on COVID-19, Mercedes Lain, and DCS

NOW: Congresswoman Jackie Walorski on COVID-19, Mercedes Lain, and DCS

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Currently, the CDC says every Indiana county is in the "high" category for community transmission of the coronavirus.

Thursday morning, ABC57 sat down for an exclusive interview with 2nd District Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski to talk about how she thinks the state is doing overall and how COVID-19 is being handled in schools.

The conversation was part of a 20-minute interview that covered other topics. 

"We need to vaccinate more people, more people need to get the vaccine," Congresswoman Walorski says, echoing what healthcare leaders are saying. 

It’s a simple solution for Walorski, who says you should first call your doctor and then take your doctor’s advise.

"I think in that sense, I think people are listening," Walorski says. 

Walorski, who is vaccinated, says she believes parents should have the final say on whether or not their child should be vaccinated.

Richard Bodee: "Do you support masks in schools?"

Congresswoman Walorski: "I don’t have to make that judgement. It’s not in my purview. I’m hearing from people on both sides of that issue, but those K-12 decisions, in the state of Indiana, are state decisions, and when it comes to local schools, it’s the local school board."

She says if you disagree with your local school board, you should run for a seat.

The congresswoman also says she’s been paying attention to the neglect case involving 11-month-old Mercedes Lain.

She says she’s aware members of the community are calling for an investigation into the Department of Child Services.

"We just literally reached out yesterday as well and asked for an oversight of that whole system – What’s happening? How’s this stuff processed?" Walorski explains. 

Though not asking for an investigation herself, Congresswoman Walorski expects the information she’s requested from DCS sometime next week.

Her office provided us with this statement on the death of Mercedes Lain:

“Every life is precious, and the needless suffering or death of any child is a tragedy. I have reached out to the Governor’s office for an update on the case and requested a briefing from the Indiana Department of Child Services on the heartbreaking death of this infant. I absolutely share Hoosiers’ concerns about the wellbeing of our children and the need to do more to protect them from danger. I will continue working with partners at all levels of our child welfare system to ensure we are fulfilling our mission to protect Hoosier kids from harm.” 

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