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Posted on: March 1, 2022

Coconino County Announces Updated Masking Requirements in County Facilities

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On Friday, February 25, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new metrics to guide COVID-19 mitigation practices, including mask requirements.

CCHHS has consistently followed CDC guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to follow current recommendations. COVID-19 Community Levels will now be determined based on three pieces of data: new COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity, and new COVID-19 cases. Categories for COVID-19 Community Levels have changed to three levels: Low (Green), Medium (Yellow), and High (Orange).  

According to the new CDC guidelines, counties in Low and Medium can consider going without masks in public indoor settings, including schools and on school transportation. In High, the CDC recommends masks in all public indoor settings, including schools.  

Using the new metrics, Coconino County’s COVID-19 community level is Medium. The CDC recommends the following guidelines for communities in Medium level: 

  • If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions. 
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms.

 People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask regardless of community level. Immunocompromised individuals, or those living with someone who is, are encouraged to continue maximum measures.

The updated metrics provide a mechanism for ongoing monitoring of risk to the community. The new system comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are declining, and many people have received the COVID-19 Vaccine. The metric focuses on meaningful consequences, such as hospitalizations and severe illness. 

In alignment with the CDC changes, effective Tuesday, March 1, 2022, masks will no longer be required in Coconino County facilities, with some exceptions including the CCHHS Clinic and Jail facilities. CDC’s new COVID-19 Community Levels recommendations do not apply in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Instead, healthcare settings should continue to use community transmission rates and continue to follow CDC’s infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare settings. 

Although masking will no longer be required, everyone is encouraged to mask to their comfort and risk level. Individual decisions to mask or not to mask based on individual circumstances should be supported and respected. 

This change is being made with the understanding that if/when numbers and indicators potentially rise into the High level, we will ask for cooperation in returning to maximum mitigation measures, which could include a requirement to wear a mask in all County facilities. The current situation allows us the opportunity for decreased mitigation measures and hopefully continues to allow less restrictions going forward. 

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