Health Officials Advise When to Still Wear a Mask

COVID-19 illustration by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HYANNIS – As the pandemic shifts into a new phase, health officials are advising people on when it might still be wise to mask up and to be mindful that some people remain at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.  

“At the end of the day, it comes down to common sense,” Dr. Karen Monaghan, a hospitalist at Cape Cod Hospital said on which instances people should still wear a mask.

Monaghan said that Massachusetts still requires masks in health facilities and on public transportation. Masks should still be worn if people are exposed to someone with COVID or have symptoms or test positive.

According to the hospitalist, people may still want to wear masks in crowds as well in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

People with conditions that put them at a heightened risk for severe illness from COVID may want to mask up or avoid those scenarios.

The CDC lists some of these conditions as being age 65 or older, having a weakened immune system, cancer, pregnancy, inadequate physical activity, heart disease, stroke, obesity, inherited blood diseases, respiratory illnesses, alcohol and drug abuse, and several other conditions.

Monaghan added that risk tolerance of people with one of these conditions is also an important factor in deciding to mask or not.

Additionally, the medical expert recommended people use rapid tests before visiting someone who is immunocompromised.

Monaghan said social distancing and masking during the pandemic reduced cases of influenza and that masking during future flu seasons may be a good practice.

“We should support people who choose to mask,” she said.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

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