Public health officials in Oregon, who recently canceled the state’s mandate to use outdoor masks, are working to keep a separate set of indoor mask requirements for places like schools and hospitals indefinitely.
Oregon’s first ban on home masks was introduced in May 2020 and lifted this June after COVID-19 cases declined. Governor Keith Brown, who pledged to lift many restrictions after 70 percent of adults receive at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, nevertheless renewed that mandate in August, stating that, without new interventions, COVID-19 hospitalizations caused by more infectious the Delta option will “completely suppress” state hospitals.
In accordance with the current mandate, which will expire in February 2022, all people aged 5 and over, regardless of their vaccination status, are required to wear masks in all enclosed public places such as schools, healthcare facilities, homeless shelters and public transport.
The Oregon Health Administration (OHA) convened a Rules Advisory Committee on Dec. 2 to discuss a potential “permanent” mandate for indoor mask use, according to KATU, the local ABC subsidiary. Several community stakeholders joined the discussion, including representatives from the hospitality industry, business sector and faith communities.
Dr. Paul Cheslack, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases and Immunization at OHA, told KATU that a “permanent” mandate to use home masks does not mean it will never go away, but it will not automatically expire unless canceled.
“Permanent means indefinite. That doesn’t necessarily mean consistency, ”Cheslack said. “We can also cancel it, but we are only allowed to have an interim rule for 180 days, and anything that goes beyond 180 days, we cannot extend.”
The draft permanent rule will be released by mid-December, according to NBC-affiliated KGW8. Thereafter, Oregonians will be able to comment starting in late December, prior to a public hearing scheduled for mid-January.
The move came in response to US health officials’ response to the spread of the newly emerging Omicron strain, which is reported to be more transmissible than the Delta variant, but has only caused “extremely mild” symptoms in patients in South Africa, where it was first introduced. discovered. …
As part of the White House’s plan to combat the spread of the virus, President Joe Biden announced on December 2 the extension of the TSA’s mandate, which requires travelers to disguise themselves on planes, trains, buses, and at airports and train stations. … The mandate will be valid until March 18, 2022. Travelers who refuse to wear masks can be fined up to $ 3,000.
“These tighter testing times provide an additional degree of public health protection as scientists continue to evaluate the Omicron option,” the White House said.