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Public Health News

Posted on: February 17, 2022

Jefferson County Indoor Masking Order to Be Lifted March 21

Mask-Wearing Public Health Order Update

February, 17, 2022

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Bonnie Obremski, COVID-19 Communications Specialist for Jefferson County Public Health: bobremski@co.jefferson.wa.us

Spanish Translation of Press Release

UPDATE 02/28/2022: Order now to be rescinded March 11. Read more here

Jefferson County Indoor Masking Order to Be Lifted March 21

JEFFERSON COUNTY—The Jefferson County public health order requiring masking in indoor, public places will be rescinded on March 21 at the same time the State of Washington lifts its masking order.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, we are transitioning into a new phase of our response,” Dr. Berry explained. “With COVID-19 case numbers decreasing and rising levels of population immunity in our community, we do believe that by the March 21, it will be safe to relax some of our COVID-19 mitigation measures.”

As of today, the two-week case rate in Jefferson County is 742.47 per 100,000 people. While still high, that rate represents a 50 percent drop since the beginning of January. Dr. Berry said she expects that rapid decrease to continue if masking in indoor, public places continues until March 21. 

Dr. Berry cautioned that relaxing mitigation measures too early can change that trajectory. “It is critically important that we all keep masking up indoors now so that we can get to that safer threshold sooner rather than later,” she said.

Scientific research shows wearing a mask slows the spread of COVID-19. A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on February 4 found that those who consistently wore masks in indoor public settings were less likely to test positive for COVID-19 than people who did not. According to that study, people who wore N95 or KN95 masks had 83% lower odds of testing positive. Cloth and surgical masks lowered the odds by 56% and 66%, respectively. 

Dr. Berry said she recommends wearing a mask in indoor, public settings even after the health order is lifted, especially for those at high risk of severe disease due to COVID-19. She also encouraged the community to support the decision of any businesses that chooses to maintain a masking policy. 

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