County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he did not wish to talk about the future of the ongoing mask mandate during his weekly COVID-19 press conference. He said numbers are trending in the right direction, saying there are only three people on ventilators right now.
“Today, we continue to review the masks, and we know we need to get more shots in the arm and we’re happy with the way it’s going,” Mayor Coppinger said. “I want to make sure people understand that that’s not the intent of this discussion today, and numbers are still trending in a positive direction.”
The mayor said the number of hospitalizations and active cases have also gone down, but he said “there is still a long way to go.” He continued to emphasize the importance of being vaccinated in order to permanently end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Coppinger said Hamilton County has received additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and he said all three vaccination sites are open. He asked for any qualified medical professionals or healthcare providers to reach out to the Health Department if they want to give out shots.
Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes reinforced what the mayor said, saying that people should still social distance and wear masks. She said the volume of vaccines going into the county this week has increased, but this is not a consistent occurrence.
“You will see some fluctuations in how many doses we’re able to put out into the community from week to week,” Ms. Barnes said. “But we are hearing that by the end of the month, there will be a significant bump in the number of vaccines available.”
She said as soon as more of the vaccine becomes available, the health department puts out a press release. She reminded people that the county is now in phase I-C, which means it may take “a few tries” to get an appointment.
“We will not request proof of eligibility, or proof that you are at least 60,” Ms. Barnes continued, saying that the only proof needed is that they are a county resident. “It is the honor system, but we don’t want a healthy young people coming in. We want our medically fragile people coming in first, because that is the most vulnerable part of our community.”
She said two new partners are the Erlanger Dodson Avenue and Southside clinics. She said about 10 percent of the vaccine is going toward the black community, but she said only two percent of the vaccine is going toward the Hispanic community.