CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Cape Girardeau County mask mandate was lifted after nearly eight months.
The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center Board of Trustees held a special session via Zoom on Monday, March 8 to discuss the current mask mandate in Cape Girardeau.
During the meeting, the Board of Trustees rescinded the mask mandate and unanimously passed a mandate to highly recommend residents to wear face coverings in public.
The new order goes into effect immediately.
Even with the countywide mask mandate lifted, individual businesses and churches can require patrons to wear a face covering.
Larger retailers can also require customers to wear a mask due to company safety requirements for employees.
The original mandate went into effect on July 13 and originally did not have an expiration date.
It was amended on October 27 to say the Emergency Face Covering Order No 20-03 would be lifted if one of the following three provisions is met:
- The viral lab test positivity for Cape Girardeau County positivity rate is below five percent for a two week period and the rolling 14 day case count of new COVID-19 cases is below 200 for a two week period. If these measures are met, the Face Covering Order would then be lowered from Required to Strongly Recommended. The order will revert back to Required when the positivity rate goes above 10 percent for a two week period and the rolling case count of new COVID-19 cases goes above 250 for a two week period.
- A COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available to the general public
- A highly effective and relatively low-cost therapeutic treatment for COVID-19 becomes widely available
On Monday, the board determined the first criteria was met based on the 14-day case count of new cases staying below 200 for a two-week period, as well as guidance from Dr. John Russell.
According to Dr. John Russell, medical director and medical consultant with the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, the county met two of the three criteria in lifting the mask mandate.
Dr. Russell said he was in favor of rescinding the mask mandate due to the following data: 20 percent of the population has been vaccinated in the county, monoclonal antibody treatments are more available and widely used and the number of cases has decreased.
According to the board, the positivity rate was omitted because they felt it was no longer an accurate measure with the significant decrease in testing.