JACKSON, Wyo. (KIFI) – After the expiration of the current mask order at 11:59 p.m. 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, the 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.
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 two 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, click HERE.
“Even though Teton County still remains in theRed/ high risk level there are multiple developments that have occurred that allow us to feel more comfortable with the mask order expiring,” Teton District Health Officer Travis Riddell said. “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.