COVID Public Health Emergency Ends; DPH Gives Update On Masks, Vaccines

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Thursday marks the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on both the state and federal levels.

State health officials stressed that while this is not an end to COVID-19 or the pandemic, hospitalization numbers show that Massachusetts is in a much better place with the virus than three years ago.

"Hospitals across Massachusetts are now reporting that for the first time since March 2020, they have no patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. In-person learning, activities, and work have returned and have transformed. We are, after years of hard work, in a better place," Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Dr. Robert Goldstein said in a media briefing Tuesday.

With the end of the public health emergency, people in Massachusetts will no longer be required to wear a mask in medical settings. The decision will instead be left to the individual.

"We are rescinding the statewide order that all providers and visitors in healthcare settings must wear a mask," Goldstein said. "COVID-19 community transmission levels as monitored by CDC are down across the Commonwealth, with no county experiencing high transmissions since February of this year."

All healthcare facilities must continue to supply masks to visitors, staff, and patients should they want one.

Goldstein also noted at Tuesday's briefing that the change will not affect the ability to get vaccinated free of charge.

"Folks can still go and get a vaccine wherever they were getting a vaccine before, and the cost of that vaccine will still fall to the federal government," Goldstein said.

WBZ's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports.

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