Dayton requires masks indoors at city buildings; may mandate employee vaccination

COVID-19 cases rise amid more contagious delta variant.

The city of Dayton is now requiring employees and visitors to city buildings to wear masks indoors, and is considering an employee vaccination mandate.

The new COVID-19 protocol comes two months after the city lifted its indoor mask mandate amid a rising number of coronavirus cases locally, statewide and across the country with the spread of the more contagious delta variant.

“Over the last two weeks we have received reports of more than a dozen of our fellow employees having tested positive, requiring many more unvaccinated employees to quarantine using their own leave, and at least one of those employees has spent the last several days in intensive care at a local hospital,” Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said Monday afternoon during a media briefing on the coronavirus policy update. “And, in fact, we have had one employee pass away last week determined to be related to COVID complications.”

“None of these employees received a vaccine,” Dickstein said. “We want to emphasize the importance of vaccinations and mask wearing to keep everyone safe before it is too late for any more of our city of Dayton employees.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance to recommend that people regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status wear masks while inside.

Those who are vaccinated — the 1 in 20 people who may get a breakthrough COVID infection ― are able to spread the delta variant of the virus. This is what led the CDC to make its updated mask recommendation, said Dr. Michael Doan, Montgomery County medical director.

Only about 60% of the local population 18 and older has been vaccinated, which Doan said leaves a large number of people at risk for the virus

“Our vaccine rate is just not where it should be,” Doan said.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley reminded that this is not a citywide mask order, but said the city also wants other employers to make similar policy adjustments.

The Dayton area hospital region on Monday reported 83 COVID-19 patients, which represents about 1 in 23 patients with COVID-19. Three weeks ago, 16 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in the region.

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