What to Know
- Starting Monday, Aug. 16, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, is suggesting everyone wear face masks inside public places to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Starting Monday, face masks must be worn inside county buildings.
- The county says it has now had two weeks of "substantial level of COVID-19 community transmission."
With COVID-19 cases spreading, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the state's third largest, is requiring all staff and visitors to government buildings to wear face masks again starting next week. And, county leaders are recommending everyone wear a mask when inside public places.
The masking order and recommendation go for anyone in indoor spaces, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status.
"Montgomery County is also requiring masks for all staff and visitors to all county buildings and facilities starting on Monday, August 16, 2021," the county said in a Friday news release.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
The county has seen an increase in daily case counts and hospitalizations over the past seven days and over the past two weeks the county has had "a substantial level of COVID-19 community transmission," according to Pennsylvania Department of Health data, the county said.
"Masks should be worn in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status in areas of high or substantial transmission," the county says on its website while noting it is falling in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
Three infectious disease experts at area hospitals who spoke to NBC10 last week said they recently have scaled back certain activities like dining indoors or gathering in large crowds. Each also said they have begun to wear masks again when going to the grocery store or the mall.
All three are vaccinated, and espoused the huge benefits of getting the vaccination to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19. Each said they did eat indoors at a restaurant as cases declined greatly during the summer, and felt comfortable going to some stores without a mask.
But that has changed with the rise in case counts due largely to the Delta variant, they said.
"Now is the time to start to scale back a little," Dr. Marci Drees, the chief infection prevention officer at ChristianaCare in Delaware, told NBC10. "I worry we did open things up too quickly and Delta took advantage of it."
Montgomery County is urging everyone who can get a coronavirus vaccine to do so. Click here for information.