Cities consider renewing mask mandates despite lower case rates

SPOKANE, Wash. — With a spike in COVID-19 cases across the nation, some major cities are considering bringing back mask mandates, including some in Washington.

It’s being discussed in King County, but there’s no official plans yet. Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says community levels are high in Spokane, the Spokane Regional Health District doesn’t plan on bringing back masks either.

Currently, updated numbers show COVID cases in Spokane County starting to go down.

“At this point in time, a mask requirement is not being considered,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velazquez. “We have been consistent without indoor masking recommendations. It’s important for individuals to know their risk and the risk of those around them as we participate in more activities and more events.”

As of Friday, Spokane County has 760 cases. Last week, a total of 778 cases were reported. Hospitalization rates are going down as well.

Governor Jay Inslee’s Office gave the following statement about considering a state-wide mask mandate:

“Right now, there’s no consideration being given to bringing back previous COVID restrictions, but that could change depending on the stress it puts on our health care system. Right now we’re not seeing those levels of stress we previously saw.”

The Washington State Department of Health also says due to lower rates of COVID deaths and hospitalizations, there is no immediate recommendation to return to masking.

READ: ‘Take it seriously’: SRHD, CDC recommend masks in Spokane County