For Immediate Release
Public Health Order #21-5 Requiring Face Masks for Teton County, Including the City of Jackson, Wyoming Set to Expire at 11:59pm on December 31, 2021; Mask Wearing Recommendation to help Guide Community Members to Stay Safe this Winter Season Has Been Issued by the Teton District Health Officer
December 21, 2021, Jackson, WY- After the expiration of the current mask order at 11:59PM on December 31, 2021, the Teton District Health Officer will not seek a new mask order at this time, unless a significant surge in cases, healthcare system stress, or other significant community impact is seen. Teton County is still in the red or high-risk level for COVID-19. As of December 17, 2021, our current case rate is 179.0/100,000. There is a large body of scientific evidence that supports mask wearing as one community mitigation measure to stop the spread of COVID-19. Mask wearing is a multi-layered approach that also includes vaccination. The Teton County Health Department and Teton District Health Officer encourage all community members to follow Public Health Recommendation #12, recommending that individuals wear masks in certain places once the mask order expires. This recommendation follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) guidance on mask wearing. In this guidance it is recommended that everyone 2 and older should wear a mask in crowded indoor settings no matter vaccination status, when in an area of high or substantial COVID-19 transmission. In addition, mask wearing is recommended when in crowded outdoor settings but is not recommended in other outdoor settings. To read Public Health Recommendation #12 please visit, http://www.tetoncountywy.gov/2064/Current-Health-Orders-and-Guidance.
Teton District Health Officer, Travis Riddell, MD, MPH stated, “Even though Teton County still remains in the Red/high risk level there are multiple developments that have occurred that allow us to feel more comfortable with the mask order expiring. These include authorization of booster doses for individuals 16+, enough time for 5-11 years old to receive the authorized COVID-19 vaccine and become fully vaccinated, reduction in the number of hospitalizations among Teton County residents, authorization of the first pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 for individuals with weaken immune systems, and the likely upcoming authorization of additional antiviral medications to treat mild and moderate cases of COVID-19.”
With the start of the winter season and the imminent arrival of the Omicron variant, the Health Department and the District Health Officer wanted to make sure community members, businesses, and organizations have enough time to take any necessary steps before the mask order expires. In addition to wearing a mask in crowded indoor areas, please stay home when sick, test if you have symptoms or have been exposed and please get your COVID-19 vaccine and booster. Since many community members were fully vaccinated by Spring of 2021 many are now due for a booster dose. Although the COVID-19 vaccine remains effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization against COVID-19, recent evidence has shown that the vaccination becomes less effective over time. As the Omicron variant becomes the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant in the United States, getting a booster dose is an important way to decrease community transmission and to increase your protection against mild and moderate disease especially in older individuals and those who may not have received a strong immune response. Booster doses have now been authorized for individuals 16+. To book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment please visit, www.tetoncountywy.gov/covidvax. Area pharmacies such as Smith’s, Albertsons, Broulim’s in Driggs, Corner Drug in Driggs, and Broulim’s in Alpine are other locations community members can go to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Though there will no longer be a mask order in place, the Health Department encourages community members to help protect each other by following COVID-19 protective measures. Each individual and family has different circumstances conferring different risks. For example, others in the community may live with a grandparent, have had an organ transplant, have a child under 5 years of age who cannot be vaccinated, live with someone at high risk for severe COVID-19 disease. Whatever the situation, it will be our individual actions that help ensure all community members are protected from COVID-19. It is difficult to know who you could potentially be exposing (or exposed to) when you are out in the community; please be considerate of others and do your part to help protect all Teton County residents.
To see all the Health Departments preventative measures and guidance to protect yourself, your family, coworkers, friends, and neighbors from COVID-19 please visit, http://www.tetoncountywy.gov/2171/Teton-County-Metrics.