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Special meeting called to discuss New Hanover County mask mandate

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 10:41 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:29 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Health and Human Services board plans to hold a special meeting early next month to discuss possibly lifting the countywide mask mandate.

The decision came Tuesday morning after the board received the latest COVID metrics.

The New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board implemented a mask mandate in August. The numbers are improving but lifting the mandate is up to the board.

“The board made a commitment to revisit the health rule when we got to a five percent positivity rate in the county and we have reached that mark, so it is reasonable for us to consider this now and determine how we move forward.,” said Dr. LeShonda Wallace, Chair for the New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board. “We have to ensure our COVID-19 metrics are remaining steady and hopefully decreasing in case rates and percent positivity over several weeks.”

As of Monday, the rate of positive COVID tests was 5.1% in New Hanover County.

“We have only recently reached some of those goals, so we want to analyze that in the coming weeks, and ensure this positive data is sustainable,” Dr. Wallace said. “Because, you know, if the five percent has only been five percent for five days, what happens next week when we go back up to seven [percent] or eight [percent]? And you know we don’t want to yoyo the community, so having the special meeting will give up the opportunity to only talk about that.”

Calling a special meeting is the first step that must be taken by the board in order to begin the process of possibly lifting the mask mandate.

“We will discuss this as a board at our special meeting and hear from the public as well, to determine how we move forward,” Dr. Wallace said.

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