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Health & Science

Summit County Public Health Encourages Mask Wearing for Unvaccinated People

woman in face mask
Juraj Varga
Following Gov. Mike DeWine's announcement Monday of the easing of face mask mandates, Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda stresses that masks will still be required for some people and in certain situations.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that the state is lifting the mask mandate for people who are vaccinated. The top health official in Summit County says that doesn’t mean a complete end to mask wearing in her county.

Health Commissioner Donna Skoda emphasizes that the new mandate only applies to those who are vaccinated and that those who are not are still at risk for contracting and spreading the virus. She says businesses have the right to mandate masks for that reason.

“When you’re in a grocery store or when you’re in a very large environment like that at a mall or something, you have no way of knowing who’s vaccinated and who’s not. The risk isn’t with the vaccinated people, it’s with all those folks who aren’t vaccinated that could become very ill,” she said.

Skoda says fully vaccinated people still have both a 5% chance of getting COVID-19 and transmitting it.

Skoda also emphasizes the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, especially for young people.

She says 70% to 75% of people 60 and older are vaccinated in the county but that isn’t the population being hospitalized for COVID-19 right now.

Skoda: no home for the coronavirus
Health Commissioner Donna Skoda

“Because COVID doesn’t really have a home with older people anymore, it’s moving into younger populations. That’s why it’s critical that we get our children 12 — everyone 12 and older — vaccinated, so COVID doesn’t have a home there either.”

Currently the only vaccine available for children ages 12 to 15 is Pfizer, which is being offered at several sites across the county.