Huntsville health officials stop short of calling for a mask mandate

Health officials support the new CDC guidance recommending masks indoors, but don't believe it should be required.

Posted: Aug 4, 2021 5:11 PM
Updated: Aug 4, 2021 5:40 PM

Madison County is seeing a rise in COVID cases that we haven't seen in months!

Most of the state, including all of North Alabama, is considered to be at a high community transmission level. The test positivity rate in Madison County is at 17.5%. It's even higher across the state!

That's why local leaders held their first COVID briefing in months to keep the community updated on the situation. No city official was at that meeting, but WAAY 31 asked local health officials what precautions need to be taken now as we see a COVID surge.

Masking has been an ongoing debate that continues to this day. On Wednesday, health officials said they stand beside the CDC recommendation for everyone to wear masks inside. However, they stopped short for requiring a mask mandate.

"I don't think it's productive to get hung up on a debate about required versus recommended. I'd rather talk about it in a productive manner than have an extended debate about requirements," Huntsville CEO Jeff Samz said.

However, health officials say there's no question masks can prevent people from getting COVID-19.

"We know the facts! We know the science, and we should be empowered to at least make these recommendations, so that the public can do what they need to, but the science is clear. There's no doubt about it. The mask is helpful," Madison County Medical Society President Dr. Aruna Arora said.

Heath officials say mitigation and vaccination will be the two keys to helping stop the spread.

They ask people to be aware of their surroundings and wear a mask indoors or if you're in large groups where you believe many are unvaccinated. They also ask for you to get a COVID vaccine.

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