CDC eases guidelines for mask recommendations

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 8:32 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Center for Disease Control announced changes for mask-wearing guidelines Friday afternoon as COVID-19 cases have been trending down from the Omicron variant surge.

Craighead County Health Officer Dr. Shane Speights said it will give communities better guidance on when to recommend masks indoors.

”Individual store or business, organization, things like that -- they’ll make those decisions themselves,” Dr. Speights said. “This gives them backing and gives them evidence to be able to make those decisions when the CDC says look, we feel like the effect of COVID in your area is low enough that you don’t need to have mask-wearing indoors.”

Regardless of what level your community is in, Dr. Speights recommends you wear a mask if you have tested positive for COVID-19, you come in close contact with a person who tested positive, or if you are showing symptoms.

Dr. Kasey Holder, the Vice President of Medical Affairs for St. Bernards, said this can give people in low-risk and medium-risk communities a break from masks.

“It’s going to allow a little bit of respite,” Holder said. “It’s a way to work into living with COVID versus everything being a crisis all the time with COVID. That kind of approach allows us to adjust our prevention efforts accordingly.”

The guidance does not apply to federal guidelines for public transportation, which will be re-evaluated on Mar. 18.

Guidance is subject to change if new variants cause a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

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