Concord Board of Health Strongly Advises Wearing Masks in Indoor Public Settings
Sept. 3, 2021
The Concord Board of Health strongly advises that everyone wear a face covering while indoors in public settings.
Why are face coverings still important?
Almost all cases of COVID in Massachusetts are now due to the Delta variant of the virus. The Delta variant is much more contagious and spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another, compared with earlier strains of the virus. Individuals infected with the Delta variant tend to have more virus in their respiratory tracts than other variants and infected individuals may carry the virus for a longer period.
Concord has seen a large increase in COVID cases beginning in mid-July, due to the Delta variant. Since July 1, Concord has had 88 COVID cases (compared to 21 cases in May and 1 case in June). 22 of these cases were in children less than age 12 who are not vaccinated. Of the remaining 66 cases, 48 were in fully vaccinated individuals.
Many Concord residents remain vulnerable to infection. Children under age 12 are still unable to be unvaccinated. Seniors and others have medical conditions which predispose them to more serious disease. Wearing a mask protects both the wearer and others in the community who are vulnerable to disease.
The CDC recommends that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, in areas with “Substantial” and “High” COVID transmission rates, should wear a mask in indoor public settings to help prevent spread of Delta and protect others. Middlesex County is currently at High Risk of COVID transmission, and all Massachusetts counties are now at High or Substantial Risk for transmission.
Why isn’t the Board of Health mandating face coverings?
The Board of Health recognizes that mask mandates are controversial and, in truth, difficult to enforce. Instead of requiring face coverings, the Board is asking the Concord community to behave responsibly by wearing masks indoors to help prevent the spread of COVID.
Personal choices about behavior and activities are also important in helping stop the spread of COVID. Everyone, even vaccinated individuals, should be thoughtful and careful about attending crowded indoor spaces where respiratory viruses spread more easily. Please give careful consideration to the indoor activities children participate in outside of school hours. The Board urges the Concord community to do all it can to prevent disease and help keep our schools open for in-person learning. Wearing masks indoors will also help our stores and restaurants stay in open. The Board appreciates Concord’s high vaccination rate and residents’ strong adherence to public health best practices.
At its next meeting on September 21, the Board will review COVID case numbers and level of community transmission and discuss whether to enact a regulation requiring face coverings in indoor stings.
The Concord Board of Health endorses recommendations from other public health entities about wearing face coverings indoors.
- Everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, in areas with “Substantial” and “High” COVID transmission rates, should wear a mask in indoor public settings to help prevent spread of Delta and protect others.
- Unvaccinated individuals should wear face coverings when in public indoor settings.
- Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated. This includes parents who have unvaccinated children at home.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Public school students (age 5 and above) and staff in all grades are required to wear masks indoors in schools (with some limited exceptions). The mask requirement will be in place until at least October 1, 2021 and will be reviewed periodically thereafter.
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
- All students older than 2 years and all school staff should wear face masks at school (unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit use).
Residents and visitors are encouraged to visit the Town's COVID-19 page for up-to-date information, notices and advisories.