HONOLULU (KHON2) — Over the weekend, masks were no longer required to be worn indoors but are still strongly recommended for people over the age of 65, with compromised immune systems.
Hawaii, like many other states, is relying on the high levels of vaccination and high levels of population immunity to get rid of mandating mask wearing indoors.
According to the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH), masks are still highly recommended and encouraged indoors when social distancing is not possible.
- Hospitals and health care facilities
- Long term care facilities
- Correctional facilities
- Congregate living facilities
- Crowded settings
If you were out and about over the weekend, then you probably saw some people still running their errands with their mask on and others completely maskless.
According to the CDC, it is safe to run errands completely maskless in certain areas of the country. There’s a new tool showing which areas have a low rate of COVID cases and the areas that have a high rate.
The CDC looks at the combination of three metrics — new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days — to determine the COVID-19 community level.
Using these data points, the COVID-19 community level is classified as low, medium, or high.
As of March 28, the entire state of Hawaii is in the low tier. The CDC recommends those in the low tier to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible and follow their recommendation for isolation and quarantine if someone would get exposed to a COVID positive person.
Their recommendation for immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease:
- Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
- Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies
- Distribute and administer vaccines to achieve high community vaccination coverage and ensure health equity
- Maintain improved ventilation in public indoor spaces
- Ensure access to testing, including through point-of-care and at-home tests for all people
- Communicate with organizations and places that serve people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease to ensure they know how to get rapid testing
- Ensure access and equity in vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach, support services for disproportionately affected populations
Get more coronavirus news: COVID vaccines, boosters and Safe Travels information
However, both the CDC and DOH suggest wearing a mask if it makes you feel more comfortable while indoors or out. For more helpful tips from the CDC on mask wearing guidance, visit their website.