South Sioux City to consider a mask mandate

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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – To issue a mask mandate or not? It’s a question South Sioux City officials are working to answer.

The Mayor of South Sioux City said Monday’s meeting was to hear from the Dakota County Health Department and the people of South Sioux, before deciding if a mask mandate should be implemented there to help bring down the positivity rate.

But, Mayor Rod Koch said he needs to see more data before a decision is made.

“I mean, I personally am not in favor of limiting people’s freedoms, but at the same time, I’m concerned about the spread of this COVID,” Koch said.

Mayor Koch said the positivity rate in South Sioux City is alarming and persuasive.

“We have not yet dipped below that 5% since the start of this. I think that’s a very powerful message. It makes it clear that yes we’re having testing but we’re also having a lot of positives too, even when our numbers drop and we’re seeing 13 or 15 positives, it still impacts our positivity rate,” Natasha Ritchison, the Director of the Dakota County Health Department, said.

She said whether it be a mask mandate or not, something needs to be done to prevent local hospitals from reaching capacity.

Mayor Koch said the biggest concern now is the tri-state area not being on the same page when it comes to health measures.

“This whole region we’re all intermingled so we all pretty much probably have the same positivity rate and I’m concerned about all of Siouxland not just South Sioux City but I’m concerned since we’re all living and working together on a daily basis, just keep each other safe,” Koch said.

Koch adds the city will be conducting a survey throughout the next week to determine if people are wearing masks. He said if they are, then there isn’t a need for a mandate. But, before the city makes a decision, he wants to have data to back it up.

City leaders and health officials will meet again on December 7. That’s when the South Sioux City Council will take another look at issuing a mask mandate on December 14.

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