The Oregon Healthcare Authority (OHA), established a Rules Advisory Committee to (RAC) earlier in the week to address a state-wide indoor mask mandate. Oregon retain this two years into the global pandemic.
According to KATU, several community stakeholders were represented, including representatives from business and the hospitality sector.
Dr. Paul Cieslak is the OHA’s medical director for communicable disease and immunizations. He explained to KATU OHA’s potential “permanent indoor mask mandate” is not permanent. It can be repealed.
According to reports, OHA met for about two hours with the RAC.
OHA will allow the public to comment on the indoor mask rule when it is officially proposed. The date has not yet been announced.
Gov. Kate Brown, D-Ore. reinstated the outdoor mask mandate after the flood of the delta variant in August. OHA rescinded the outdoor mandate for masks in November but maintained it indoors.
“We continue to see a concerning pattern of COVID-19 spread throughout the state, with the heaviest concentrations found in counties with lagging vaccination rates,” OHA Director Pat Allen stated.
Marty Makary from Johns Hopkins, another health expert, has spoken out against the indefinite mandate of a mask.
“We may have a baseline rate of COVID cases hovering around where they are now in the Southeast forever,” Makary shared in a November interview. “We are entering an endemic phase and the question we need to ask as a society is, do we want a perpetual society with people masked?”
Makary said, “And the marginal benefit of masking is diminishing as the prevalence declines. Also, in many instances we’re requiring masks of people at the absolute lowest risk and by insisting on throwing the kitchen sink at virus transmission we will have to pay the piper somehow. That may come in the form of a loss of human connection, more increased mental health problems, and in children a series of problems including issues in development and speech development and other downsides.”