Health leaders concerned about unvaccinated residents following mask ‘Honor Code’

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Ohio Department of Health reports 785 new cases in the past day, which is double the daily average of 380 cases — a steady increase as the case count climbs across Ohio.

Hospitalizations are continuing to rise as well, leading to some questioning whether unvaccinated residents are following the state’s honor system and continuing to wear a mask.

“Depending on the circumstances, I think if they really feel like they are causing people harm by not wearing one in a particular situation, they will go ahead and wear the mask,” said Doug Keeton, a Miami Valley resident.

Residents believe the honor code may be working but recent data tells a different story. Both cases and hospitalizations have doubled across the state.

“Right now we’re seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases pretty much across the country, here in Ohio and Montgomery County and one of the reasons is the expansion of the delta variant,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor for Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

One resident that’s on the fence about receiving their dose said they only wear a mask when necessary or when it may pose a threat.

“I’m not vaccinated, I personally didn’t do it. I don’t know that I’m not going to but right now, no,” said David Waddle, a Miami Valley resident. “It’s just not a big issue around me, I’ve never been sick with it, a couple people around me were but they were older. If I had family members that were older, I would wear a mask in that situation.”

However, all hope isn’t gone. Health leaders are optimistic that residents who still aren’t vaccinated may feel compelled as cases continue to rise.

“If we continue to see a new surge, we’re going to have those people on the fence that will come in and get vaccinated,” said Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson. “Unfortunately, we hope it’s not too late because we know it takes five-weeks to get a second dose to get vaccinated.”

As of now, DeWine hasn’t made a comment whether the state will reimplement a mask mandate.

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