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News - Health Department

Posted on: August 2, 2021

Kent City Unified Command Strongly Recommends Resuming Mask-Wearing

Official Unified Command Team Communication:  Rapid Rise in COVID -19 Cases 

Effective Date:  August 2, 2021 

The City of Kent Unified Command Team called a special meeting this morning to discuss the rapid rise in COVID cases in our area (particularly the Delta variant) and to review the latest guidance provided by the CDC to ensure best practices are being used to better protect our community. 

Based on the CDC guidance, we strongly recommend vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals resume wearing face coverings when interacting with others indoors.   

The reasons for this recommendation are:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) recommend both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear face coverings inside when rates of COVID 19 transmission are Substantial (>50/100,00) or High (>100/100,00).
  • Portage County is currently above the 50/100,000 threshold but has not yet hit the 100/100,000 threshold.  Our goal is to help make sure we stay below the high infection rate.
  • The Delta variant is much easier to transmit than the original Coronavirus. One person infected with the Delta variant can make eight to nine others ill. The Delta variant is spreading most rapidly among those who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Although at a much lower rate (5-10%), the Delta variant can even infect people who are fully vaccinated, this is called a “break-through” case.  This is not necessarily a problem with the vaccine but reflects differences in an individual’s immune system and the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant. As a result, fully vaccinated people can spread the Delta variant whether they have symptoms or not.
  • The vaccine still remains the best approach to halting the spread of COVID and wearing a mask assists with the efforts of lowering the spread. If you have not taken the vaccine yet, please reconsider it.
  • Many people are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine and people who have weakened immune systems may not be as fully covered by the vaccine. Unvaccinated people are becoming seriously ill with the Delta variant, it is not just a “bad case of flu.”
  • While the City of Kent is very fortunate to have needlepoint ionizers in every department, there is no direction from the CDC or ODH that ionizers can be used in place of masks indoors. It is outstanding we have them to use in addition to other helpful interventions.

Please continue to practice thorough hand hygiene, do not come to work if you are ill, stay away from ill people, keep high touch surfaces clean, support those wearing masks, consider taking a COVID vaccine if you have not already, and please wear a mask when you are indoors interacting with others. 

The Unified Command Team will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and keep you informed. We stand together to provide information and guidance that can assist you in making decisions regarding your health and safety.

Unified Command Team Leadership: 

Joan Seidel, Kent Health Commissioner 

Nick Shearer, Police Chief

Bill Myers, Fire Chief  

Dave Ruller, City Manager

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