Coronavirus: Dayton mayor mulls mask requirement in city

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is mulling a mask requirement in the city, and she said the final decision will be driven by science.

“That is something that we’re actively considering right now,” she said Friday.

MORE: No St. Leonard residents test positive for COVID-19

Many political leaders are grappling with how to best stay out of devastating lockdowns while addressing recent COVID-19 spikes as people increasingly interact outside their homes. Public health officials have touted universal masking as a relatively low-cost intervention to help reduce risk of exponential spread.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine initially announced mask requirements for patronizing businesses, but changed to a suggestion for customers and a requirement for employees.

Some other states have mask requirements, including Washington, which announced the rules earlier this week for face coverings in indoors and public areas, or outdoors where six feet of distance can’t be maintained. The statewide order builds on a June 8 order that required workers to wear facial coverings, unless they don’t interact with others on the job. California issued a statewide mask order last week.

Montgomery County has been reporting an uptick in daily confirmed cases since early June. Local hospitals have also been reporting some increases in COVID-19 patients over the last few weeks, indicating it is not just increased testing and detection but also increased spread of the virus.

Out of the 1,465 Montgomery County residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the epidemic, as of June 25 an estimated 321 are still active cases.

MORE: Dayton-area hospitals see more COVID-19 patients

Out of all the Montgomery County residents with positive tests since the start of the outbreak, about 17.7% were hospitalized and 1.5%, or 22 people, died.

Kaiser Family Foundation reported in a poll at the end of May that 74% of U.S. adults say they wear a protective mask either "every time" or "most of the time" when they leave their house and might be in contact with people. That is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations that people wear a mask anytime they may be unable to maintain safe social distancing.

That breaks down to about 58% of Republicans, 72% of independents and 89% of Democrats surveyed, saying at the time of the poll that they wear masks at least most of the time when they might be in contact with people outside the home. The random telephone survey sampled about 1,100 U.S. adults evenly distributed among party lines.

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