By Heather Bell
RADFORD – Radford Mayor David Horton addressed the Radford community via Facebook Live Saturday to encourage Radford residents who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 to consider doing so.
“Thank you to all who have gotten their shots,” said Horton. “We still need to do better to keep folks healthy. Please get your vaccine.”
Horton said the city is currently 45. 1 percent vaccinated among all residents over the age of 12. Residents 65 years and older are vaccinated at 83.9 percent.
Horton said the city has had 201 new cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks.
“And we’ve had additional hospitalizations,” said Horton. “I know there is a lot of debate about vaccines, but folks who are unvaccinated are getting much sicker and in a lot of cases, are having a very rough time.”
“This is about making good choices,” he said. “If you are unvaccinated, please reevaluate that decision.”
Horton also announced that as of Monday, Sept. 13, the City of Radford is requiring masks be worn inside all city buildings, regardless of vaccination status. Masks were already being required in the Radford Public Library and the Radford Recreation Center, but now they will also be required at the police and fire departments, the municipal building, the city council chambers, and all other public buildings. Horton said the city is not implementing a mask requirement in businesses.
On Friday, State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver issued a statement regarding President Joe Biden’s mandate that large employers require vaccinations for its employees.
“The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) applauds President Biden’s initiatives, announced Sept. 9, to meet the growing challenge of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, which is now powering a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States and in Virginia,” said Oliver. “With the U.S. averaging close to 150,000 cases and about 1,500 deaths per day, primarily attributable to the Delta variant, it is imperative we do all we can to beat back this surge.
“Many Virginia employers from across the economic spectrum have already instituted one of the planks of the president’s response to the Delta surge: vaccination requirements for their employees,” Oliver’s statement said. “Leading the way has been the Commonwealth of Virginia following Governor Ralph Northam’s directive for all 120,000 state employees to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing for infection. The governor has called on local governments and other governmental entities to follow the commonwealth’s lead, emphasizing that vaccination is the only sure way out of this pandemic and the only sure way to return to pre-pandemic normality. President Biden’s directive to employers with 100 or more employees to require their employees to be vaccinated will build more momentum for COVID-19 vaccination in the private sector. VDH echoes that call.”