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Onondaga County reacts to new CDC mask-wearing guidance

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)
Onondaga County officials are reviewing new mask-wearing guidance from the CDC

Onondaga County officials are reviewing the details of new mask-wearing guidance released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but they expect the county will follow the new recommendations.

The CDC announced that adults who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume activities in outdoor and most indoor locations without wearing masks. The exceptions include health care settings, public transportation, and areas where state or local restrictions still require them.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said the county looks to the CDC for health guidance, and he expects the county will adopt these new recommendations. He said he also hopes the news will inspire more people to sign up for their vaccines.

"People who are hesitant about the vaccine are like, 'Nothing's going to change. Why should I go get it?'” said McMahon. “Well, now, if you're vaccinated, you can take the masks off.  The CDC's saying it.  All right, that's pretty good."

McMahon said many people want to return to normalcy, and the new recommendations show getting vaccinated is a good way to get there.

“I’m looking forward to this,” said McMahon.  “If the vaccine works, and we know it does, the data tells us it does, then we need to find that balance again, which has always been the goal during the pandemic.”

There are already concerns that people will lie about their vaccination status to get out of wearing masks.

County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta is urging everyone to be honest, pointing to how quickly the virus and its variants have recently spread in India.

"Lies are not good,” said Gupta.  “We have also seen that people are buying those vaccine cards and all.  That's not OK.  That's not good.  That's unethical.  That's immoral.  Nobody should do that.  (It will) not only put your friends and family's life in jeopardy, but the rest of the community."

The county also has other efforts underway to increase the vaccination rate.  It’s giving out an incentive booklet with deals at area restaurants to people who get vaccinated through May 21st.  Also, clinics to vaccinate the newly eligible 12-to-15 year old age group are in full swing and are filling up quickly.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.