Butler County health departments urge universal masking indoors due to COVID-19 delta variant spike

Credit: Journal News

Some health care employees stand against mandatory Covid-19 vaccine

Credit: Journal News

The continued spike in coronavirus cases saw Butler County’s three health departments urge all people to wear protective masks while inside.

The announced “universal masking” recommendation released this afternoon from the Butler County General Health District, City of Hamilton Health Department and the City of Middletown Health Department cites recent health data showing a prolonged spike in the infection rate from the spreading coronavirus variant strain.

“Over the month of July, the number of new cases doubled over a two-week period. This pattern appears to be maintaining for August as the positivity rate has once again jumped drastically over a one-week period,” said health officials in a released statement.

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“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the level of community transmission in Butler County has been designated as ‘high,’ the highest level on a scale from low-moderate-substantial-high.”

“Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all while indoors at public spaces, regardless of vaccination status,” said health officials.

“All three health departments strongly encourage all residents to follow guidance from the CDC. We urge all residents of Butler County to utilize universal masking while indoors in public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status.”

“We encourage masking at any and all times while indoors including in such places as a business, office, agency, workplace, places of worship, school, libraries and while shopping or gathering with people not in your usual bubble, etc.”

Health officials added: “We have an obligation to do all that we can to protect one another from COVID-19, by masking once again, getting vaccinated if eligible, social distancing and washing our hands. Viruses live to mutate and they mutate to live. Each time the virus replicates, there is another chance for a new and stronger variant to form.”

“Vaccination is our best option to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. Only around 50% of those in Butler County are vaccinated, therefore, masking, distancing and cleaning become imperative to help provide additional ‘layers’ of prevention. This requires participation from all.”

Health officials said the recommendation is just that, not a mandatory order.

“This is not an order but a data-derived, science-based recommendation,” they said.

“We strongly recommend that until this new Delta variant is suppressed and under control and everyone who wants a vaccine gets one—all Butler County residents wear a mask when they are inside a building, while in a car, bus or other forms of enclosed spaces.

Health officials said those interested in getting a vaccine inoculation can locate a vaccine clinic at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.