States consider the return of mask mandates

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As COVID slowly makes a comeback, many states are considering bringing back the mask mandate. Some companies say they plan on keeping them on, regardless of the state’s decision.

One month ago, Governor Wolf announced the state’s mask mandate was over, but now health professionals are urging local governments to reconsider.

On July 27th, the CDC updated its guidance for people wearing a mask due to the delta variant, they’re now suggesting fully vaccinated people wear a mask at indoor public places of substantial and high levels of transmission.

The CDC also suggests those fully vaccinated wear a mask in every setting if they are immune compromised or in contact with someone who is.

Local medical facilities say they’ve maintained wearing masks, despite the state’s guidance.

“Well, we haven’t eased up restrictions on our masking policies for our patients or their families or for the clinical staff. We follow the recommendations of the CDC and the department of health very carefully and we always air on the side of caution and prudence,” said Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, the chief medical officer, Geisinger Medical Center.

UPMC has also required masks since the start of the pandemic and they don’t plan on changing that any time soon.

“For now, what I’m going to say is that we are not having that conversation at all. We believe this is the best way to keep everyone safe, so we’re going to do that,” stated Susan Duchman, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, UPMC North Central Region.

One person Eyewitness News talked with said she’d rather mask up than have more shutdowns.

“We sure don’t want another big pandemic going on, right? It was terrible for people, for businesses, for everybody,” said Margie Shaw.

Kenar Swanston says he will wear a mask, as long as it keeps everyone healthy.

“Whatever helps and protects the American people is really what we should be gearing towards and I know a lot of older people are affected by the variants,” Swanston told us.

As of now, there hasn’t been a decision made about the state returning to the mask mandate.

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