YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown said during a press conference Monday that the current surge in COVID cases in the city is because of the unvaccinated.
“The bottom line is there are those who refuse to get vaccinated. And because they won’t get vaccinated, we’ve got to do things different in how we operate in the city of Youngstown,” Mayor Brown said.
Health Commissioner Erin Bishop said less than 50% of people in the city are vaccinated. She added that there has only been one confirmed case of the Delta variant in the city but expects more.
“We thought we would be in a different place in the state and nationally by now,” Bishop said.
Mayor Brown issued a mask mandate in city buildings in response to the recent surge and low vaccination rate.
“Today, I am placing an executive order that everyone and all city-owned buildings will be required to wear a mask,” Mayor Brown said. “This is due to part of the COVID variant rapidly spreading and the fact that many of our city employees have been affected by COVID-19 within the last few months.”
He said this executive order will remain in effect until further notice. As of right now, the area is seeing high numbers as well as low vaccination rates.
The city officials believe that they need to put the mask mandate in place to protect the citizens as well as city employees.
More vaccination clinics are planned throughout the city. There is also a $100 Visa gift card incentive to get vaccinated.
Bishop said they will be looking into getting more Pfizer vaccines for the city. She wants to have it readily available for those that were waiting for the approval.
“We are very concerned about our numbers, but we can do many things to stay safe,” Bishop said. “COVID-19 is here to stay and we need to learn to live with it.”
Bishop reiterated the importance of masks and said that anyone who can should get vaccinated.
“The governor is really encouraging us to get our schools on board for masking,” she said.
Monday, the FDA gave full approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech now carries the strongest endorsement from the Food and Drug Administration, which has never before had so much evidence to judge a shot’s safety.
“In the last week, just — people being educated about the Delta variant and seeing how it’s affecting our hospitals again — this and that. Over the country, they had a million last week, which was a lot. So I do, even myself, we were going five a week, newly vaccinated, and to have 50 in four days, that was a big jump,” Bishop said.
More than 200 million Pfizer doses already have been administered in the U.S. — and hundreds of millions more worldwide — since emergency use began in December.
Bishop and Mayor Brown said they hope the approval will prompt more residents to get vaccinated.