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County health officials respond to CDC mask update: ‘This makes good sense’

Masks discarded in shopping plaza parking lots in Victor.
Max Schulte/WXXI News
Masks discarded in shopping plaza parking lots in Victor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to loosen its mask guidelines for the fully vaccinated.

The agency announced Thursday that those who have completed their vaccination series can resume normal activities without wearing a mask or socially distancing while in public, except where federal, state, or local laws require it.

Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County’s public health commissioner, said the CDC’s updates make good sense. He said they're a step in the right direction toward normalcy.

“Anywhere we have the authority to begin to follow the CDC guidelines, we're going to try to do that,” Mendoza said. “I think we all share the desire as a community to get out there, and to get rid of the masks whenever it's safe and effective to do so.”

Mendoza said the county can not officially enforce the updates until the state’s guidelines reflect the changes. In a statement Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is reviewing the CDC's new guidance.

Mendoza said he believes the updates confirm that the vaccine is efficient and safe.

On the downside, he said it's also a reminder that there are still a lot of people who have not been vaccinated. He said the county is doing everything it can to help those individuals find a way that's most comfortable and convenient for them.

“So they can reap all the same benefits that those who do have the vaccine can enjoy,” said Mendoza.

Racquel Stephen is WXXI's health, equity and community reporter and producer. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.