Montgomery County does not plan to reinstate an indoor mask mandate at this time as COVID-19 cases increase once again, officials discussed during a media briefing Wednesday.
“We know there is a baseline level of infection, but we’re not at the point where we believe we need to make a recommendation around a mask mandate because that [test] positivity and hospitalization rate remain low,” said Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Earl Stoddard.
Sean O’Donnell, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Manager with County Health and Human Services, said case rates are progressing while COVID-19 hospitalizations remain low. Current case rates are similar to numbers during the peak of the Delta variant, O’Donnell said, but he noted Montgomery County had a lower peak than many neighboring jurisdictions.
On Wednesday, the federal mask requirement for public transportation was extended by 15 days through May 3. This week, some universities in Washington, D.C. reinstated their mask mandates.
“We won’t see any public health recommendations for a reinstatement,” until the county reaches high community level transmission, said County Acting Health Officer Dr. James Bridgers.
“We’re at ‘low’ now, but we’re looking at recommendations for medium community levels, such as public health advisories,” indicating there is higher community spread along with recommendations like indoor mask-wearing, Bridgers said.
“These are recommendations, these are advisories, these are not required policies to be implemented,” he said.