Masks will be optional in most Cumberland County government facilities for visitors and employees starting March 14, the county said in a release.
Masks, however, will still be required at the Department of Public Health and at the Cumberland County Detention Center in accordance with OSHA and other regulations.
“Things are looking better for Cumberland County as our COVID-19 metrics improve,’’ Glenn Adams, chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, said in the release. “In the last seven days, the number of new cases and new hospital admissions per 100,000 population decreased 52% and 23% respectively.”
Adams said he is thankful the county can move forward with this new guidance, but he cautioned that the pandemic is not over.
“We have free prevention measures widely available such as vaccinations, testing and treatment,’’ he said. “Please continue to follow guidance from our health officials to protect yourselves, your co-workers, and your families.”
On Feb. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced updated COVID-19 mask guidance based on local COVID-19 Community Levels. The CDC published a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in the last 7 days.
As of Saturday, Cumberland County’s community level was medium.
For a medium community level, those who are at high risk for severe illness should talk with their healthcare provider about whether they should wear a mask or take other precautions, the CDC says. People should stay up to date with COVID vaccines, and those who have symptoms should get tested, the CDC says.
“We continue to rely on the current science, data, and recommendations from our state and federal health agencies,” said Dr. Jennifer Green, the Cumberland County health director. “The change in our recommendation is based on updated guidance from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC for ‘medium’ counties.”