Local health departments react to CDC mask guideline change

COVID-19 masks
Posted at 7:59 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 09:06:02-04

CINCINNATI — Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended wearing masks indoors in areas experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases -- including for those who are fully vaccinated.

In Hamilton County, COVID-19 cases are rising. As of Tuesday, the Hamilton County Public Health Department said nearly 120 people were hospitalized due to the virus. Two weeks ago that number was closer to 40 on any given day.

Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said to follow guidance from the Ohio Department of Health instead of federal leaders.

Mercy Health’s chief clinical officer, Dr Stephen Feagins, said the more contagious delta variant was able to become stronger as it spread among the unvaccinated.

“It is the dominant circulating strain. That was predicted,” Dr. Feagins said.

The CDC said studies show even vaccinated people may be able to spread it. That is why the team recommended Tuesday that people begin masking indoors even though they are fully vaccinated.

“While a break-though case of COVID on a vaccinated individual is still a reportable event, it's rare,” Dr. Feagins said.

Hamilton County Public Health is working to get more people vaccinated.

“We're seeing, in our hospital systems, a lot more 40- and 50-year-olds ending up in the hospital,” Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said. “So, we want to make sure that we're getting the right messaging and the right information to those folks so they can make an informed decision.”

Local health departments had not changed mask recommendations as of Tuesday evening.