Mask Mandate Discussions For Tasmania Had Again As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Masks currently "encouraged"


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Spikes in COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths has left people wondering if a mask mandate should return despite the emergency declaration ending.

Hospitals across the state have escalated their management plans in attempts to manage the third wave – which today saw 173 patients in hospital, two of which are in ICU.

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With the emergency declaration ceased on June 30, the government still could reinstate mask mandates, capacity limits, and isolation rules but said it would not reintroduce masks at this time.

It would reinstate rules if it were advised by public health.

State Health Commander Kathrine Morgan-Wicks said it was strongly recommended to wear masks indoors and when social distancing wasn’t physically possible.

"The best protection continues to be vaccination," she said.

"The state's high rates of vaccination have reduced hospitalisation and death among people who contract COVID-19."

Shadow Health Minister Anita Dow said Tasmania’s health system is in “crisis” and encouraged people to wear masks.

"The state's high rates of vaccination have reduced hospitalisation and death among people who contract COVID-19."

- Shadow Health Minister Anita Dow

However, Deakin Professor and Chair in Epidemiology Catherine Bennett told the ABC she believed it was time to considering long-term COVID-19 management plans rather than “all or nothing opinions.”

"Public health messaging isn't just telling people what to do, either through rules or messages that encourage it," she said.

"It's actually about sharing information that keeps people engaged in what's happening in relation to COVID in their community and helps them understand their own risk, and therefore motivates them to reduce their own risk through other measures.

"We do want to have an informed community making these choices, rather than reverting back to a rules-based system where people tend to think 'masks are on' or 'masks are off'."

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20 July 2022




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