Sudden increase in COVID-19 cases could force return of mask-mandate

Local News

The Erie County Health Department said as of Thursday, there are 12 local cases of COVID-19.

But they’re hoping those cases don’t rise, because if they do, then we all may have to go back to wearing masks.

The Health Department said it’s a slow rise in cases, and they don’t know if the slow rise is from the Delta variant.

“Delta may be here and we don’t know it,” said Charlotte Berringer, director of community health services for the Health Department.”

This comes after reports of the Delta variant circulating vastly across the nation.

In Crawford County, there are reports of high transmission, and they may go into a mask mandate. But the Berringer said if Erie County sees the number raise by 50 to 99 cases in seven days, action will be taken.

“We go up to a level that we’d be recommending masking in public areas for everyone again,” she said. “So, if we get to a situation where it’s double digits everyday, we’re going to be at that level.”

The Health Department is seeing 50 percent of vaccinated people, but Erie needs to reach at least 80 percent to meet “herd immunity” and slow the spread.

Mayor Joe Schember said the city doesn’t have a plan to mandate mask-wearing, but the city is prepared for whatever happens.

“We’re prepared as we can be for the unknown,” the mayor said. “If we do have to close City Hall, we’ve done that before. We’ve kept moving [and] provided ways through the internet.”

The mayor said there are no protocols to check if people are vaccinated or not before entering City Hall, but that could change if things get bad enough.

“We may start to do that and make sure they have a mask on if they’re not vaccinated,” he said.

The Erie County Health Department continues to urge people to get vaccinated to slow the spread of the virus, and they added many people should take the new variant seriously.

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