By Shereen Siewert

Mayor Merrill Derek Woellner on Tuesday issued a face covering requirement for all city facilities, citing an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the area.

The requirement was announced on Facebook. In his post, Woellner points to Lincoln County Health Department reporting that shows a “steady increase of positive cases” as well as an increase in hospitalization and death related to the virus.

About 18.5 percent of cases in Lincoln County have been “breakthrough” cases, Woellner said. The age of people hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms ranges from people in their 30s to 90s. Of those, just one was vaccinated prior to becoming infected. Lincoln County also reported three new deaths in the past week, all of which represent people who did not receive the vaccine.

“According to the county health department, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask,” Woellner posted. “Reversing their initial policy, the CDC now recommends that even fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors.”

The face covering requirement is in effect for four weeks, ending on Sept. 28.