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Inslee announces indoor mask rule can end March 21

Gov. Jay Inslee announced at a news conference Feb. 17 the indoor mask requirement will be lifted March 21 in schools and certain indoor spaces.

Masks will no longer be required in schools, child care facilities, libraries, restaurants, bars, churches, gyms, recreation centers, indoor athletic facilities, grocery stores, businesses and retail establishments.

Masks still will be required in health care and medical facilities, long-term care settings, correctional facilities, and private businesses and local governments that want to require masks for their employees, customers or residents. Federal mandates still require masks on public transportation including taxis, rideshare vehicles and buses.

Vaccine verification will no longer be required at large events beginning March 1.

Mason County reported 95 cases from Feb. 14 to 17 and one death, a man in his 60s. Five people were hospitalized as of Tuesday and the county is 57.5% vaccinated. The seven-day case rate has decreased to 851.4 per 100,000 people and the 14-day case rate is 2,013.7.

Mason Health announced Tuesday it has returned to conventional staffing standards after a period operating under contingency capacity staffing guidelines.

According to a news release, Mason Health alerted the community Jan. 17 of the move to contingency capacity staffing guidelines in response to a post-holiday surge of COVID infections, which increased the demand for medical care and affected availability of staff.

Contingency capacity staffing guidelines were developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help mitigate pandemic-related health care worker shortages. The guidelines allowed health care workers who tested positive for COVID or had a high-risk exposure to return to work sooner than under standard guidance, if certain requirements are met and returning to work under the guidelines is voluntary.

All COVID safety protocols remain in effect for patients and hospital visitors. Information about services, visitor guidelines, COVID testing and vaccines are available at

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Matt Baide, Reporter

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Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald
Email: [email protected]


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