In light of recently updated guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Jackson County will implement new COVID-19 mitigation policies inside its buildings and facilities. Starting Monday, March 7, mask wearing will not be required among staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Weekly COVID-19 testing will remain in place for unvaccinated staff as well as temperature checks upon entering the county buildings and facilities.
These policy changes align with guidelines issued by the CDC, which is now using COVID-19 Community Levels to help communities decide what mitigation strategies to implement based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions and the total number of new cases in an area. Today, the CDC categorizes Jackson County in the medium community level, under which mask-wearing is optional.
“Since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, I have said I will trust and follow the science, as well as the CDC recommendations to determine how we move forward. It is in that spirit we implement this new approach to help keep our community safe,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “Over the past several weeks we have made significant progress in reducing virus spread and stress on our hospital systems. The downward trend is encouraging, but I urge everyone to continue doing their part to protect each other by getting tested, vaccinated and boosted, and to remain respectful of those who still choose to wear a mask in public spaces.”
Throughout the pandemic the County has used a data-driven approach to make informed decisions relating to COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Data as of March 1 from the Jackson County Health Department, shows the following:
- The 7-day average of daily new cases is 20.57 for the week of February 20. That’s down from 322.86 the week of January 23.
- The percent positive is 5.09% for the week of February 20, down from 27.22% the week of January 23.
- There are 101 daily average hospitalizations, a 12.9% decrease from the previous week.
Jackson County continues to encourage individuals in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and immunocompromised, to wear masks in public spaces to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19. Additionally, anyone who feels ill should stay home.
The County’s COVID-19 mitigation policies are subject to change each week based on its community level as determined by the CDC. Staff and visitors will be notified of any changes on Friday, in advance of new requirements to take effect the following Monday. A copy of the County’s community-level based mitigation policies can be found here.