MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In this week’s Clarifying COVID, Dr. George Morris of CentraCare returns to answer questions about COVID-19 pandemic developments.
In this episode, Morris answers questions surrounding the end of the mask mandate and outdoor COVID-19 transmission rates.READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: Health Department Reports 173 New Cases, 9 More Deaths
Watch the video above or read his answers below.
Where can you go without a mask in Minnesota? Where can’t you go without a mask?
For everybody that’s fully vaccinated, you can go to almost anywhere you want, except for health care facilities, which would be hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, child care, and schools still are under the current Minnesota guidance where it says you still need masks.
Now, individual businesses, cities, you know, governmental agencies, they may still need masking requirements. We know that transportation locations, the busing, trains, commercial vehicles are still expected to keep a mask on, along with their planes and travel.
I think we should all be prepared to be flexible with how we show up to businesses, restaurants, schools, daycare, hospitals. Have your mask available, because truly, the best guidance is still masks protect people, and they save lives.
Does the decision to lift the mask mandate endanger minority communities, many of whom haven’t been able to get vaccinated yet?READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 174 Cases, 7 Deaths Reported; Cumulative Fatalities Breach 7,500
In many communities, the access is not there, the availability is not there, bringing it closer to where they work, or where they live is not as easy, along with the potential need for time off both to get the vaccine and what if they get side effects. So right now, with the guidance changing, I think this also puts our essential workers and some of our BIPOC communities at a little more risk
So, now is the time for us to really commit to getting it to our local communities, making it easy for all of our citizens, all of our community members to get vaccinated, and then to do targeted outreach, and listen to their voices and their concerns.
What should parents with kids under the age of 12 do with masking, now that the mandate has been lifted?
As a parent, and you’re helping out with young children, if you don’t wear a mask, what’s their behavior going to look like?
With kids, I think they’re so impressionable. And we really have to model that behavior that I foresee a lot of families with young children at home, they’re not going to wear masks, because that’s their home environment. But if they go out for an exposure, or at a school, they would likely all do it, just so that the parents are demonstrating their kids the value in maintaining that type of behavior.
What’s the latest on outdoor transmission rates? How likely are you able to get the virus if you’re outside?MORE NEWS: Music Rings Out Once Again In Minneapolis's Orchestra Hall
So, now we are able to do the research, do the studies, check the data, trial some things and we’re seeing that the likelihood of getting COVID from a, I’ll call it a random or a walking by outdoor experience, is less than 1%. So very, very low. And that’s why I think the activities outside, even outdoor restaurants, outdoor gathering, outdoor sports are very safe.