‘Individuals Need To Take Responsibility’ For Wearing Masks, Says Tri-Cities Region Health Officer
Cases of COVID-19 are rising dramatically in Washington’s Yakima County and the Tri-Cities region of Benton and Franklin counties. That’s driving local health officials to urge residents to wear masks in public.
The Yakima Health District’s pleas for residents to wear masks in public – through broadcast and social media – is apparently not enough. Gov. Jay Inslee has promised to step in and make wearing a mask in public mandatory in Yakima County.
It’s to be seen if a similar order is needed in nearby Benton and Franklin counties, where cases are also mounting. Benton-Franklin Health District medical officer Dr. Amy Person says masking mandates have their place but the real solution is for residents to take personal responsibility.
“There’s not enough police, public health, government officials anywhere to ensure that 300,000 people are wearing masks,” Person said Monday in a n’ews media briefing. “Individuals need to take responsibility for the things they’re going to do to try to keep themselves safe and more importantly, the things they’re going to do to try to keep their community safe.”
Yakima County ran out of hospital bed capacity last week, largely due to staff shortages. Person says that for the moment Benton and Franklin counties have beds, but hospitalizations rates for COVID-19 are increasing.
“These are real people who have real illnesses requiring hospitalizations. So when we’re asking people to wear face coverings, this is not to protect you, this is primarily for you to be able to protect others,” Person said.
The shift in guidance was a dramatic reversal from the country’s top public health agency, which has been criticized for being too conservative (and convoluted) in its earlier guidelines for those who are vaccinated. The latest changes have left a lot of people with a lot of questions, which NPR’s science, health and education reporters are here to answer. Continue Reading Confused By CDC’s Latest Mask Guidance? Here’s What We’ve Learned
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fully vaccinated adults can safely resume activities indoors or outdoors without masks or distancing, in gatherings large or small. The announcement marks a major milestone in the effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Continue Reading CDC: Fully Vaccinated People Can Stop Wearing Masks Indoors And Outdoors, With Some Exceptions
What started as a slow trickle of people became a flood of cars over Easter weekend at the FEMA vaccination center in Yakima. And as April 15 approaches (when all adults are eligible for vaccination in Washington), some Seattleites are heading East for a coveted Covid-19 shot. Continue Reading With Assistance From FEMA, A Mass Vaccination Site Opens In Yakima, And All Are Welcome