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Mandatory to wear Masks in Missouri, Decision Reversed Within an Hour

St. Louis Department of Health makes masks mandatory

The city employees of the St. Louis Department of Health were ordered on Thursday to wear masks indoors starting Friday. According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the department saw a spike in respiratory illnesses in the region after several new patients were admitted and treated due to trouble breathing.

The step was taken due to the rise in COVID-19 cases

Face masks have been made mandatory for certain people with respiratory issues in medical institutions located in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and also includes Washington DC. These steps were taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they noticed the spike in the number of positive cases which had risen by 12.7 percent in the week to December 2023 as compared with the prior week.

Due to the arrival of peak winters, the winter viruses have been rising at a rapid pace, hence, action must be taken to slow the transmission to prevent strain in the hospital systems. The statement had been made by the St. Louis Health Department on Thursday in the letter to the employees.

Conservative against the mandate

However, on Friday afternoon, the Department decided to reverse the mandate. Nick Dunne, the city spokesman, had strongly recommended that the employees must wear masks indoors. The reason for the change has not been disclosed yet. A spokesperson for the Republican governor, Jonathan Shiflett was the one to oppose the mandatory mask rule during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, he is against the use of mask and told Newsweek that he “would step in and oppose new mask mandates.”

Conservatives have a lot to say when it comes to the mandatory mask use. According to them, every individual has the right to make their own decisions and should be able to wear a mask as per their preference. A Republican, Eric Schmitt said that he has the power to fight these mandates, just like he did when he was Missouri’s Attorney General.

COVID-19, flue and Respiratory Syncytial Virus

A press release on Thursday highlighted the importance of masks indoors in public spaces and crowded environments for the people. The rise in COVID-19, flue and Respiratory Syncytial Virus in the area urged the Department to take these steps. None of these viruses are unknown to the medical professionals, but if the rapid rise in the reported cases and hospitalizations continues like this only, then the healthcare system might experience several difficulties in helping these people.

The number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 has been increased by 38 percent withing the St. Louis Health Service Area as noticed in the time internal between Thanksgiving to Christmas. Influenza has seen a hike of about 455 percent whereas RSV has increased by 34 percent. The department is under the Centers for Disease Control with a medium risk category. This has happened because 15.5 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents. Therefore, masks have been made mandatory to control this situation.

“The City of St. Louis Department of Health has consistently recommended masking, and the department is not mandating masks for City residents at large,” the department said.

People being more aware
It was also stated that this small step will make people aware about the intensity of the situation ans urge them to take additional steps so as to prevent the rise in respiratory viruses. This wat everyone will take care of the punctuality in taking the vaccines. They will also get tested as soon as possible whenever one feels sick and has symptoms if the illness.

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