BOSTON (WHDH) - Doctors in Massachusetts are calling on officials to bring back a statewide indoor mask mandate amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases that continues to strain hospitals.
“As the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue an alarming upward trend that is straining our health care system, the physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society recommend that masks be required at all public indoor settings in the Commonwealth, regardless of vaccination status,” the Society said in a statement.
Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday said that his administration had no plans to bring back the mandate after announcing that Massachusetts will distribute two million at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits in an effort to curb the spread of the virus ahead of the holidays.
“Unlike last year, those who were most at risk from getting seriously ill from COVID have protection from the virus,” Baker said.
Doctors say a return to wearing masks in all public spaces is a step that needs to be taken due to arrival of the omicron variant and the lingering threat of the delta variant.
“Masking is a public health measure proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Wearing masks while indoors is an effective and appropriate way to slow transmission of the disease, especially with the holiday and cold and flu seasons upon us,” the Society added. “We must all work together to take steps to confront and stem what could be a continued rise in cases, hospitalizations, serious illness, and death.”
There are mask mandates in place in individual cities and towns but the statewide mandate was lifted back in May.
Salem recently re-imposed a mask mandate for all public buildings. An indoor mask mandate has been in effect in Boston since August.
State health officials on Monday reported more than 11,000 new COVID-19 cases that were documented over the weekend.
There are currently 1,355 people hospitalized due to the virus and 287 people in the intensive care unit.
Baker said last week that he’s considering calling upon the National Guard to assist Massachusetts health care workers as hospitals struggle with the spike in COVID-19 patients.
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