At their regular meeting on Feb.16, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to end the Public Health Rule requiring indoor face coverings effective Feb. 26. Shifting COVID-19 conditions and higher community immunity led to Public Health's recommendation to revoke the "mask mandate" and begin the shift to the next phase of COVID-19 Response.
Individuals in high-risk groups, individuals who are completing isolation or were recently exposed, and residents at risk of infection should continue to wear face coverings in public indoor settings until community transmission rates reach the moderate level, as defined by CDC. Based on current trends, K-12 schools are strongly encouraged to develop plans to implement optional mask use by early March. Federal regulations still require mandatory face coverings in certain healthcare settings, public transportation, and in airports and on airplanes.
"Current trends point to a shift in COVID-19 conditions and indicate the need for a revised response plan that encompasses prevention, surveillance, and equitable distribution of resources," said Dr. Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) Director.
Public's Health COVID-19 Response 2.0 focuses on mitigating the most serious outcomes of COVID-19—hospitalization, severe illness, and death—while empowering the public to take a greater role in preventing the spread of the virus. MCPH advises county residents:
"Getting a booster dose if you are eligible and continuing to wear a mask when appropriate, especially for people at high risk for serious illness, is the best thing you can do to avoid hospitalization and death from COVID-19," said Dr. Washington.
COVID-19 Response 2.0 refocuses the County's surveillance efforts away from case investigation and contract tracing and incorporates wastewater testing and emergency department visit tracking for COVID-like illness, which are more reliable early indicators of transmission. The Plan maintains vaccination as the leading COVID-19 prevention strategy and renews other prevention efforts to distribute resources such as vaccines, test kits, and face masks to the community.
The most updated information about COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County is available at mecknc.gov/covid-19 or by calling the County's COVID-19 hotline at 980-314-9400 (option 3).
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