Communities Focus on Mask Use Amid Covid-19 Surge

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More communities in the state are urging people to mask up amid the fast spread of the Omicron variant.

Starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Norwalk re-instituted a mask mandate indoors for everyone regardless of vaccination status.

And now, West Hartford and Bloomfield are at least advising people to do the same.

“I’ve kept my mask on no matter what. Vaccinated or not. These Covid cases are just crazy. So it’s best for everybody to just stay safe,” said Ashley Rogers of Bloomfield.

On Thursday, the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District issued a mask advisory recommending everyone – regardless of vaccination status - to wear a mask or face covering when indoors.

“People should do it. The numbers are going up and in order to get the numbers down, people have to start wearing masks and getting the vaccines,” said Ida Harris of West Hartford.

The advisory applies when you’re around others who aren’t your household members, including at stores, restaurants and private holiday events.

In a statement, Health Director Aimee Krauss wrote in part:

“COVID-19 cases are surging, and we often see spread between family and friends who let their guard down at holiday gatherings…Further, we are seeing an increase in breakthrough cases for vaccinated persons, which we believe is due to the spread of the Omicron variant.”

“Everyone should be masking indoors regardless if they are unvaccinated, vaccinated, boosted. We’re too far into this pandemic, really to ease up on masking,” said Dr. Anthony Santella, the COVID-19 coordinator at the University of New Haven.

Santella believes it’s also time to rethink what type of mask you use.

“Not all masks are created equal. Given where we are right now with a very transmissible Omicron variant, you know, put the cloth masks aside. This is not the time for them. At the very least, folks should be wearing a surgical mask,” said Santella.

Santella said another option is the more fitted KN95.

“It’s part of life now. Who knows when all this will be over with,” said Rogers.

The mayors of both communities said they know how tired everyone is having to deal with all of these public health measures. But they’re thankful so many are following the advice and helping to keep people safe.

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