Central Ohio Public Health Departments Issue Indoor Mask Advisory
Just two months after repealing Columbus’ mask mandate, officials from Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health have issued an indoor mask advisory.
Dr. Mysheika Roberts and other health officials addressed the current state of the pandemic in Central Ohio earlier Thursday afternoon in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases rates.
In the last four weeks, the number of new positive COVID-19 cases, i.e. the positivity rate, has more than double from 1.3% to 2.8%, said Franklin County Public Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola. The seven-day moving average in case rate has gone up 56% in the last two weeks.
Officials attributed the rise in cases rates to the COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant, which is reportedly the dominant form of the virus in Columbus.
They also pointed to vaccine hesitancy as a potential explanation for the increase in cases, with Mazzola saying vaccine rates have not kept pace.
Just over 53% of Franklin County residents have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, with fully vaccinated residents not too far behind.
Mazzola said despite the increase in cases, deaths are down by 70%, “which is further proof that getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do to protect yourself, others and our community.”
Though most of the rise in cases can be attributed to those who are unvaccinated, he said, there has been a “small percentage” of vaccinated people who have gotten COVID-19 in breakthrough infections and are unknowingly contagious.
Last week, The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention also categorized Franklin County as an area with “substantial” community transmission. The CDC recommends everyone in areas with substantial community transmission wear a mask in public, indoor settings, including those who are vaccinated.
The Central Ohio mask advisory urges vaccinated and unvaccinated residents to wear a mask indoors and in crowded areas “until further notice.”
Find more Central Ohio COVID-19 data here.