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Mask Guidance Change Catches Public Health Officials By Surprise

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Public Health Department will take direction from the state when comes to implementing new guidance regarding face coverings, specifically for those who are vaccinated.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday that people fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a face-covering or social distance, noting that the vaccines are effective. States and local governments now have the task of revising regional health orders.

Reacting to the announcement, Tuolumne County Interim Public Health Officer, Dr. Eric Sergienko, responds, “I will say from a county perspective, I was not expecting this. And I don’t know that the state had a heads up on it either. So, coordinating on that messaging, and then thinking about how to implement, is going to be the challenge.”

The county and state have current guidance calling for face coverings in places like work environments and group gatherings. Masks are also required when going into government buildings and public meetings. As of this morning, there is no change.

Dr. Sergienko adds. “The intent is to get out (new) guidance as soon as possible, recognizing that the feds have already spoken, and the science backs it up. It really gets back to how we implement it.”

He says new local face-covering guidance should come within the next 3-7 days, adding that the State of California is likely playing “catchup” following yesterday’s announcement.

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