New York lets COVID-19 health care mask requirements lapse

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP): New York state officials said they will allow COVID-19-related masking requirements for staff and visitors in hospitals and other health care facilities to lapse on Sunday.

Acting Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said that while the pandemic is not over, “we are moving to a transition.”

“As we do, and with safe and effective vaccines, treatments, and more, we are able to lift the state’s masking requirement in health care settings,” McDonald said in a statement.

The decision announced Thursday comes as governments continue to relax rules enacted during the most intense days of the pandemic.

Earlier this week New York City announced it would no longer require COVID-19 vaccinations for police, firefighters, teachers and other municipal employees.

The statewide number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has been steadily dropping this year and as of Thursday stood at 2,176.

Health officials advised hospitals, nursing homes, treatment centers and other facilities to enact their own masking rules in accordance with guidance form the Centers for Disease Control.