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Highlights of the mask advisory

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Why the Board of Health lifted the mask mandate and what it means for Saugus

(Editor’s Note: The Saugus Board of Health this week sent out the following notice to food establishments regarding the board’s downgrading the mask mandate to an advisory.)

  On Monday, February 7th, at their regular monthly meeting, the Saugus Board of Health unanimously voted 3-0 to rescind the indoor public mask mandate that went into effect on 1/6/22. This decision was made as fewer and fewer cases of Covid19 are being reported to the Board of Health office via the MAVEN communicable disease reporting database. From its 7-day peak of 768 cases on 1/10/22, the 7-day case count as of 2/7/22 was 71, a 7-day case count that has not been seen since August 2021. In January of 2022, there were 1753 cases reported to the Board of Health, more than double that of January 2021. The death count for January in both 2021 and 2022 was 12, indicating that while the Omicron Variant continues to prove to be far more transmissible, the mortality rate for the disease has significantly decreased.

  The ongoing data collection suggests a continuance of this steep drop-off, and as such, the Board of Health feels that, at this time, there is no basis to continue on with a mandate regarding masks. While the mandate will no longer be in effect, the Saugus Board of Health still highly recommends the use of masks indoors when necessary, especially among high-risk and/or immunocompromised populations.

  This mandate does not lift the current restrictions that are in place for the Town of Saugus school system, as they are governed by DESE and the DPH. These State entities will be re-evaluating their mandates on 2/28/22. The Town’s mandate applied to all public indoor spaces, businesses, retail establishments, gyms, restaurants and public buildings. Private businesses still reserve the right to employ whatever protocols they may see fit regarding Covid19. Masks are still required in certain places per DPH regulation. Please visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-mask-requirements for a comprehensive list.

  The Saugus Board of Health thanks the Town of Saugus for their unwavering cooperation and support as we continue to navigate through what has proven to be a difficult time.

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