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Changes could be coming to St. Louis County's mask mandate as COVID cases decline

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said public health experts are "hopeful that we can move from a mask requirement to mask recommendation by the end of the month."

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County's mask mandate could change to a "mask recommendation" by the end of the month, according to a Friday afternoon tweet by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.

Page included a letter in the tweet from St. Louis County's acting health director Dr. Fisal Khan. In the letter, Kahn gave an update on COVID-19 where he noted rapid improvement in the pandemic. Khan says the omicron variant continues to decline.

“Specifically, new cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 have declined substantially across the region. This means the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 has decreased and that hospitals now have the staff and beds available to care for everyone who needs health care services,” the letter said.

Because of the improvements, Kahn said the county can reconsider the current mask mandate by the end of the month. It's already on the agenda for the upcoming St. Louis County Council meeting on Tuesday.

Health officials reminded people that COVID-19 transmission in the community is still considered high.

“While we continue to be hopeful, the experience of the last two years of this pandemic shows us that surges can occur with new variants/sub-variants during the summer and fall," Khan said in the letter. "As the virus adapts, we must adapt along with it.” 

Page gave a similar hopeful tone in a COVID-19 update he gave this past Monday, saying if transmission rates continue to trend in the right direction, mask rules could be relaxed.

"We're almost there," Page said on Monday. "We just need to keep an eye on this virus for a few more weeks to make sure these promising numbers hold. If they do, we can talk about moving from a mask requirement to recommending wearing one in crowded indoor spaces."

Also Friday, St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Richard Stewart dismissed three of four counts in Attorney General Eric Schmitt's lawsuit over the current mask mandate in St. Louis County.

Schmitt has 15 days to amend his petition after Stewart said the remaining count — that the mask order is “arbitrary and capricious" — was "vague."


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