BULLHEAD CITY — Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday gave city and county governments the authority to decide whether to require residents to wear face masks in public places during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady said the city will “strongly advise” wearing a face covering but won’t make it mandatory for the public, although the city did seem to be asking local businesses and stores to do just that.
“Gov. Ducey has left it up to the cities and counties to decide whether wearing face masks is required in our communities,” Brady said in a news release issued late Thursday afternoon after the city had been silent on the issue. “In agreement with our neighboring cities and the county, we are not making it mandatory to wear a mask in public. However, we strongly advise wearing a face covering if you are unable to physically distance yourself from others.
“After discussions with county health and hospital officials, we are not in a ‘crisis level’ of emergency to mandate anything at this time.”
Mohave County reported 15 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday with eight in the Bullhead City area, which has seen a dramatic increase in cases this month. On June 1, the city service area — which includes Bullhead City, Fort Mohave, Mohave Valley, Topock/Golden Shores and Fort Mojave Indian Tribe land — had registered 89 confirmed cases and five deaths attributed to the disease caused by the infection of the novel coronavirus. As of Thursday, the service area’s case total stood at 270 confirmed cases and 18 deaths.
The county’s numbers through Thursday are at 690 confirmed cases and 70 deaths; the numbers were at 397 and 44 respectively at the end of May, according to previously released statistics from the Mohave County Department of Public Health.
The news release issued by the city, through Emily Fromelt, public information officer of the Bullhead City Police Department, said that in response to Ducey’s announcement on Wednesday, “the City of Bullhead City is strongly encouraging its residents and visitors to wear a face covering or mask to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Due to the current surge in the area, we also encourage businesses and retail stores to require face coverings or mask to enter their establishments.”
The release also said the city will “continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in our area and we encourage everyone to stay vigilant and continue to follow (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines. One of those recommendations is to wear a mask or face covering in public settings.
Those guidelines recommend:
Frequent hand-washing with soap and water; if soap and water aren’t readily available, use hand sanitizer.
Avoid close contact. Physically distance yourself at least six feet from others.
Cover your mouth and nose with a face covering or mask when around others.
Cover coughs and sneezes.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Monitor your own heath and stay home when sick.
The city urged businesses to review their own safety plans.
“For businesses that adhere to the City of Bullhead City’s recommendation to require face coverings/masks to enter local establishments, compliance will be left up to the business,” the news release stated.
The eight new cases in Bullhead City announced by the county health department included four under investigation for the source of infection of two people age 40-49, one 50-59 and one 70-79.
The other four cases including one person 70-79 who is hospitalized and three people — on under the age of 10, one between the ages of 20 and 29 and one in the 50-59 age group — linked to previously confirmed cases and recovering at home.
Three new cases were reported in Kingman, including the hospitalization of a patient in the 70-79 age group. The other two are patients 30-39 and 70-79. All three cases are under investigation.
There have been 272 cases in Kingman, including 41 deaths.
Four new cases in Lake Havasu City are under investigation. They are all under the age of 40 — three 30-39 and one 20-29.