WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — The City of Westerville declared a public health state of emergency Tuesday, asking residents to wear masks and get the COVID-19 vaccine.
On its website, the city said the reason the emergency was made was due to the strain COVID-19 cases are placing on central Ohio health systems.
“After careful consideration and consultation with leadership at Westerville’s hospitals, the City declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, Sept. 21,” the city posted on the website. “This emergency declaration will stay in place until November 2, 2021, or until the burden on the local health care system lifts, whichever comes first.”
Westerville said the state of emergency is not a mask mandate. However, residents will be required to wear masks while inside public buildings, including the Westerville Community Center, regardless of their vaccination status.
The city is also adjusting event plans for the next six weeks, including the Great Westerville Pumpkin Glow. The Westerville Fire Division’s Fire Prevention Week Open House and the Westerville Electric Division’s Public Power Week Open House are both canceled.
“Mount Carmel St. Ann’s, OhioHealth, Central Ohio Primary Care and all Central Ohio health systems are facing critical challenges with the influx of COVID-19 patients, most of whom are unvaccinated,” the city posted to the website. “Emergency departments and intensive care units (ICU) are overrun. Health care staff are exhausted. This is a crisis. They need our help, Westerville.”
The city is set to reassess the state of emergency on Nov. 2, and it will be assessed on “our health care system’s ability to provide normal levels of care.”
Below is a video the city posted to its website announcing the state of emergency.