DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– The City of Dayton is making masks mandatory again after a recent COVID outbreak among staff members. Officials say more than a dozen unvaccinated employees tested positive in the last two weeks, one is in intensive care and another died from the virus.
Mayor Nan Whaley says she understands the frustration of having to wear a mask again but is hopeful this will help stop the spread.
“To get to the other side of COVID-19, we’re going to have to do a little more mask wearing than we anticipated doing,” said Whaley.
Going into effect immediately, all city staff employees plus people who enter city buildings will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. However, more changes could be coming in the next few weeks including making vaccines mandatory for city employees.
“We are absolutely looking at all of those cities that have started mandatory vaccinations and testing,” said City Manager Shelley Dickstein. “We’re considering and shaping what Dayton’s program will look like.”
Public Health says they have seen an increase in demand for vaccinations but their decision to enforce masks was due to the CDC’s new guidance.
“So this is exactly why we got the masks again because what we were worried about before wasn’t true but it is true now,” said Premier Health Medical Director Dr. Michael Dohn. “That’s why the CDC came out with their guidance to do the masking once more.”
The coronavirus dashboard shows Montgomery County under 50-percent of residents receiving at least one dose. Mayor Whaley says that must change or else the city’s road to recovery may be a long one.
“We are not going to get through this and on the other side if we don’t get vaccination rates up,” said Whaley. “We don’t want to shut down and don’t want a tough winter, we don’t want our community to go through what it did last year and the only way forward is through vaccination.”
City officials said they will release an update if vaccines are mandated for employees by the end of the week.