RACINE – The City of Racine on Wednesday, following new guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) related to COVID-19, reinstated a face mask requirement for city employees and the public inside City-owned buildings.
The requirement, which takes effect Thursday (July 29), will mandate that face masks be worn:
- By City employees while at work, indoors, if they are not alone in an individual office with the door closed.
- By City employees while traveling for work in City vehicles with more than one passenger.
- By members of public when entering City facilities. This includes Racine City Hall, City Hall Annex, all Racine Police Department and Racine Fire Department facilities, all community centers and any other city building.
- By members of the public engaged in programing and sports inside of city-owned community centers.
“City buildings will remain open for business and community members are invited to continue visiting them knowing that we require masks because their safety and that of city employees remain our number one priority,” City of Racine Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. The mask requirement was lifted in late June when the rate of new COVID-19 cases was in a lengthy decline.
On Tuesday, the CDC cited a rising trend in the Delta variant of COVID-19, a highly infectious strain that is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated people. Because the virus is spread by respiratory droplets, mask that cover the mouth and nose are recommended to be worn indoors in communities that have high transmission rates of COVID-19.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Wednesday morning also announced that it supports the CDC recommendations. DHS and the City of Racine Health Department repeated pleas to the public to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Racine residents can learn about COVID-9 vaccination and testing information at: www.racinecoronavirus.org.
Bowersox reported Wednesday that the CDC has placed the city in a “Substantial Transmission Category” based on a COVID-19 case rate of 73 cases per 100,000 people. That’s a 900 percent increase over the past two weeks.
CDC statistics on COVID-19 put all of the Racine County, plus neighboring Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, in the “Substantial” category for the July 20-26 period. Most of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, including Kenosha and Walworth, are in the lower “Moderate” category.
Bowersox added that just 39.3 percent of the population of the communities served by the Racine Health Department (Racine, Wind Point and Elmwood Park) have been vaccinated for COVID-19.
By contrast, CDC’s latest data shows that 50.1 percent of all Racine County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 46.5 percent are fully vaccinated. The highest vaccination rate (85.1 percent) is among residents age 65 and older.
“It is imperative that eligible individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccination in order to curb this latest spike of positive cases. The COVID-19 vaccine protects not only the individual who is vaccinated, but also those who are not eligible to be vaccinated such as children under the age of twelve,” Bowersox said.
Questions about the City’s latest COVID-19 policy can be directed to the City of Racine Public Health Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-636-9201.
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