CLEVELAND — In an online video message to city residents released late Wednesday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson urged people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and added that further restrictions are possible.
His comments follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement on Tuesday that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should resume wearing masks in areas where there is high or substantial spread of COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, Cuyahoga was not among the 23 Ohio counties that had high or substantial spread of the virus. The county’s vaccination rate has slightly outpaced the rest of the state, according to Ohio Department of Health data.
Jackson noted that the delta variant of the virus is more contagious, making it easier to spread from person to person.
“As we move forward and if people are continuing not to get vaccinated, then what we may face is another time in which we will have to have more restriction on the movement of people,” Jackson said.
Jackson added that restrictions would be based on updated CDC guidance and whether residents get vaccinated against the virus.
“I am just giving you the heads up that that is on the horizon,” Jackson added. “We have gone down to the single digits in terms of the number of infections and the number of hospitalizations are going down. The number of deaths are going down, but that could change and could change rapidly based on this new, more contagious, more deadly variant of the virus. It is even more important now that people get vaccinated so we can continue the progress that we have made.”
Although the CDC now recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks in certain parts of the U.S., the guidance does not call for restrictions.
The guidance states that those who are fully vaccinated can “participate in many of the activities that they did before the pandemic; for some of these activities, they may choose to wear a mask.”
The city has largely been fully operational this summer as city employees have returned to work.
According to Ohio Department of Health data, three people in Cuyahoga County have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of July. During the peak of the spread of the virus in December and early January, the county averaged more than a dozen deaths per day from COVID-19.