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As Covid metrics improve, New Hanover County health board will reconsider mask mandate

New Hanover County's health board will reconsider the county's mask mandate next month.

In August, the health board approved the mandate as Covid rates were spiking, but the move has been contentious. Now, as key measures improve, the board will reconsider.

One of the key metrics is the positivity rate — or percent of Covid tests that come back positive — which has fallen under the 5% goal for the first time since the spike began in July, according to the county.

Citing these improvements, the Health and Human Services board recently voted to schedule a special meeting to consider action on the mask mandate. That meeting, which will take place on Friday, November 12, at 8 a.m. and will include a review of public comments and Covid-19 data, after which the board could either repeal the mandate or leave it in place (or, conceivably, tweak the existing mandate in some way).

In addition to the positivity rate, the board will also consider the rate of new cases per day. The goal is 100 or fewer new cases a day; according to the county, the rolling average has been around 32 over the last two weeks. The board will also look for decreased hospitalization rates which, over the last several weeks, NHRMC has seen.

According to the county, the special meeting will be held in the multipurpose room of the Health and Human Services building, located at 1650 Greenfield Street in Wilmington. In addition, the public may view the meeting live at NHCTV.com, youtube.com/NewHanoverCo and Spectrum Cable channel 13; or listen to the meeting by dialing 415-655-0003 and when prompted for a meeting ID, press 808 594 284, then the pound sign (#).

Public comments for the Health and Human Services Board can be submitted herethrough noon on Monday, November 8. All comments received through the online form will be submitted into the record during the special meeting. Comments will be limited to 3 minutes and the total comment period will be capped at 15 minutes.