Montgomery County urges its residents to mask up amid surge in COVID-19 cases
The county follows Philadelphia’s lead in urging residents to mask up and curb the spread.
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Montgomery County is urging its residents to wear masks and maintain social distancing as the county is seeing a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, fueled by the Delta variant.
County officials are pleading with locals to wear masks inside of public spaces, even if they are vaccinated.
Although statewide mask wearing is not a mandate in public spaces, county buildings are ordering visitors and staff to wear masks.
On Monday, Aug. 16, county officials held a virtual news conference to talk about masks being required inside of county buildings.
"Montgomery County Office of Public Health(OPH) maintains that vaccination is the most important public health action to end the COVID-19 pandemic and strongly urges all Montgomery County residents to consider getting vaccinated," officials said in a press release.
Mask wearing not only protects the lives of residents who are fully vaccinated, but they will also protect others with immunodeficiency, senior citizens, and children who are too young to receive the vaccine.
“It is the Mission of the Montgomery County Office of Public Health to provide public health services and foster collaborative actions that empower our community to improve its health and safety,” the release also stated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Montgomery county residents are 55.8% fully vaccinated. However, the county is at a high transmission phase for COVID-19, meaning it is highly contagious and spreadable.
Dr. Val Arkoosh, Montgomery County commissioner said in a press conference on Monday that more than 77% of Montgomery County residents aged 12 and up have at least one dose of the vaccine, and over 60% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, to keep children in schools, Arkoosh is hoping residents can be responsible and take action by wearing masks.
"That is everyone's top priority to get every child back into school with in-person learning, and there are multiple mitigation strategies that schools are implementing," Arkoosh said.
She is also urging businesses to require their visitors to wear a mask for the safety of their customers and employees.
Despite Montgomery County urging its residents to mask up, it is not requiring proof of vaccination at the moment.
The news comes a week after Philadelphia reinstated its mask mandate and has been urging residents to get the jab.
Masks will also be required in Philadelphia for residents attending outdoor events with a gathering of 1,000 people or more.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney expressed concern and anger last Thursday, Aug. 12 over residents who are not yet vaccinated.
“This amazes me that this is the most simple thing to do to keep yourself safe and your family safe and your community safe and people still refuse to do it,” Kenney said.
Montgomery County continues to make an effort in providing its residents with multiple vaccine clinics throughout the county at no cost to locals.