Mask mandate up for possible vote again in Jefferson County

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ARNOLD, Mo. – It was passed once but then quickly rescinded, now the controversial mask mandate could be voted on again Wednesday in Jefferson County.

The Jefferson County Health Department board of trustees will meet at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday in Hillsboro at the health department headquarters. That is when they could vote on the mask requirement aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The health department board met Monday where trustees talked with the head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force Dr. Alex Garza about COVID issues. The order would require anyone ten or older in Jefferson County to wear a mask anytime they are or will be in contact with people in public spaces who are not members of their household, but there are circumstances where people could take off their masks. The order also says if COVID cases don’t decrease within 21 days further restrictions may be considered. If passed, the order would take effect on Friday and would last one month.

Health Department Director Kelly Vollmar supports the move. Back in August, the Jefferson County Health Department board passed a mask mandate but then rescinded it the very next day amidst controversy over the issue.

Jefferson County is currently on its highest alert for COVID-19. The latest seven-day positivity rate there is nearly 30 percent.

This potential move comes as COVID-19 numbers throughout the St. Louis region remain at very high levels. The latest St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force numbers show record highs in both the seven-day moving average of hospitalizations with 861 and the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals with 887. The number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in ICUs has also increased to 179, which is the highest amount since April 22.

Spectators won’t be allowed in Wednesday’s Jefferson County Health Department meeting due to limited space, but it will be streamed live on the health department’s YouTube channel.

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