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As COVID cases fall, are masks still needed?

Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 5:26 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Several states, from New York to California, have announced that they will soon end their indoor mask mandates. While there aren’t any statewide mask mandates here in 21Country, what do health leaders have to say about relaxing restrictions?

Dr. Matt Pflieger, Huntington county’s public health officer, feels that falling cases and hospitalizations are really good news. He even says it may soon be time to relax mask rules and restrictions.

Pflieger does note that it’s still a good idea to put a mask on in enclosed spaces with people, or if you have health issues that make hospitalization due to COVID-19 more likely.

John Perlich, a spokesman for the city of Fort Wayne, says that the mask mandate in city buildings is here to stay, but an update could be coming by next week.

CDC guidance still encourages everyone to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. But CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is encouraged by the dramatic drop in cases and hospitalizations and is working on new CDC guidance.

The federal mask mandate for public transportation, meaning travel by plane or train, also remains in place. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says that mandate will be in place as long as the data indicates it’s needed.

So with the Omicron surge appearing to wane, what’s next in the pandemic? Dr. Pflieger says experts will be watching the development of new variants closely and dealing with them as needed.

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