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  • Supervisors to resume in-person meetings; mask not required in County buildings

    Mar 07, 2022 | Read More News
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    Board meeting With Covid case counts plummeting and the Centers for Disease Control revising its guidance for Covid mitigation, the Board of Supervisors March 1 decided to resume in-person board meetings at its next meeting, March 15. Acting County Administrator Jan Lesher also has revised the County’s rules for mask wearing in County buildings, making masks recommended rather than required.

    The new building mask rule goes into effect March 12 and applies to all staff and visitors to County buildings. Some County facilities, such as health clinics, will still require masking at the discretion of the County’s Chief Medical Officer. Some County facilities have a high frequency of vulnerable populations receiving care or services and require a higher level of protection.

    For Board meetings, the public will not have to wear a mask, but the Hearing Room will still adhere to physical distancing, reducing the room’s capacity by about two-thirds of its 280-person maximum.

    “We’ve been down this road before with Covid, where the disease seems to be receding and then it comes roaring back worse than before, so I’m relaxing these mitigation rules with cautious optimism,” Lesher said. “The County, like everyone else, needs to be vigilant about Covid and not consider the pandemic over. We may need to tighten the mitigation strategies again if there is another major spike.”

    Lesher said another factor influencing her decision was the 90 percent vaccination rate of County staff.

    “I’m extremely proud of County staff and how they’ve done all we’ve asked to not only protect themselves and their families but also the greater Pima County community. They have led by example, and you can’t ask for much more than that from your workforce,” Lesher said.

    The easing of mitigation measures follows the release of a new Public Health Advisory by Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen. The advisory notes the lessening of rates of disease transmission in the County and that it is likely time to begin transitioning the community and the public health response from a pandemic health crisis to an endemic disease in which the community will need to adjust to a new normal.

    The advisory states that Covid has not gone away and that many people continue to get sick every week from the disease and hospitals remain stressed with Covid patients. Therefore, Dr. Cullen continues to strongly recommend that the public:

    • Get vaccinated and boosted. Unvaccinated individuals still have a much greater risk to get Covid, be hospitalized and die.
    • Stay home when sick with a fever, cough or other Covid symptoms.
    • Get tested if they have Covid symptoms or had an exposure.
    • Wear a mask that provides the best protection if Covid symptomatic, at least 65 years old, or in indoor public settings if they or a household contact are at-risk.
    "If you are immuno-compromised or at high risk for COVID-19, you should talk to your provider about the best plan for you to protect yourself or to get treatment if you do get Covid," Cullen said.