Miami Valley health leaders believe mask mandate isn’t necessary as cases rise

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– The COVID-19 case count on Tuesday, July 27, was nearly triple the state’s daily average of 537, with over 1,300 cases being reported in just 24 hours.

As cases continue to climb, some Ohioans are starting to wonder whether a mask mandate should be reinstated. Health leaders say it’s too early to determine whether masks should be enforced again, but if vaccination rates don’t begin to increase that might be the only solution.

“Some people don’t want to get the immunization and that’s fine. It’s their personal choice but that’s our best defense against this right now,” said Dr. Joseph Allen, regional medical director for Premier Health.

With more than half of the state still unvaccinated, health leaders are concerned about the recent rise in COVID-19, largely attributed to the more contagious delta variant. However, they don’t believe a mask mandate should be the first course of action.

“I think going down that road would be a little aggressive right now, I think we still have time to watch things,” said Allen. “By all means, if somebody feels like they need to protect themselves, wear a mask but personal choice is important.”

Officials with Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County (PHDMC) believe the delta variant and low vaccination rates have the potential to be a deadly combination.

“We’re not where we need to be with vaccinations overall and as people move about the variant will spread from place to place, so the vaccination rate combined with the delta variant is driving up our cases right now,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor for PHDMC.

Dayton City Commissioner, and mayoral candidate, Jeffrey Mims believes a mask mandate may help stop the current spike in cases.

“I would not be upset if there was a mandate on masks because I think it’s important to keep eachother safe,” said Mims. “The vaccination is a demonstration of high level self respect and the fact you have value for yourself, your family and your community.”

Governor Mike DeWine hasn’t commented on whether a mask mandate may be reinstated but said he lacks the authority to mandate masks for the upcoming school year.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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