Pima County drops mask mandate for county buildings

dd(Pima County)
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 3:37 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The County has dropped its requirements for wearing masks and buildings and is planning to resume in-person meetings with the Board of Supervisors, officials announced on Monday, March 7.

According to a news release from the county, masks will now be recommended instead of required beginning March 12.

However, some county health clinics and other facilities can still require masking at the discretion of Pima County’s chief medical officer, as some places have a high volume of immunocompromised people receiving care or services.

At board meetings, the public will not have to wear masks. Social distancing will still be required in the Hearing Room, reducing the room’s capacity by about two-thirds of its 280-person minimum.

Acting County Administrator Jan Lesher said in the news release said she’s relaxing the rules with “cautious optimism,” as COVID cases decrease in the county.

“The County, like everyone else, needs to be vigilant about COVID and not consider the pandemic over,” she was quoted as saying. “We may need to tighten the mitigation strategies again if there is another major spike.”

Another factor in her decision was the 90% vaccination rate among county staff.

“They have led by example, and you can’t ask for much more than that from your workforce,” Lesher was quoted as saying.

Previously, Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen released a public health advisory, which noted the plummeting transmission rates in the county.

In the advisory, Cullen said the community should begin transitioning from a pandemic health crisis to an endemic.

The advisory states that COVID hasn’t gone away, and hospitals are still burdened with COVID patients.

Cullen recommended the following:

  • Getting vaccinated and boosted to lower the risk of being infected, being hospitalized and dying.
  • Staying home when sick with a fever, cough or other COVID symptoms.
  • Getting tested if there are COVID symptoms or an exposure.
  • Wearing a mask that provides the best protection with COVID symptoms, at least 65 years old, or in indoor public places if at risk.

“If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for COVID-19, you should talk to your provider about the best plan for you to protect yourself or to get treatment if you do get COVID,” Cullen was quoted as saying.

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