PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Don’t want to wear a mask? Well, you don’t have to in Pasco County. The county administrator signed an executive order rescinding their mask order on Monday due to lower COVID-19 hospital rates and climbing vaccine rates.
Pasco County leaders tell 8 On Your Side they decided to drop the mask mandate because COVID hospitalization numbers are going down and vaccination rates are going up. But USF Health expert Dr. Jay Wolfson said it may not be the right time to ditch your mask completely.
“We’ve only had this vaccine a little over two months We’ve only been living with this bizarre disease for a year and three months and it surprises us all the time,” said Dr. Wolfson.
Pasco County government said in a press release hospitalization rates for patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms have been steadily dropping over the past several weeks, increasing the number of available hospital beds for anyone who needs them.
However, Dr. Wolfson tells 8 On Your Side the case rates for younger people across the state are going up.
“They’re the spreaders, so I think we’ll see what happens in the weeks and months ahead as the rest of the states watches the effects of the spring break and summer coming on board.”
Residents like Rebecca Payne believes the county is making the right decision.
“I think we should be really careful because it’s COVID and it’s a serious thing. Also, we need to live our lives and be able to walk around and enjoy the weather since it’s summer and it’s been going on for a total year now,” Payne said.
In the meantime, Dr. Wolfson encourages everyone to practice safety.
“As the county commission says, as the governor says exercise common sense. Be careful,” said Dr. Wolfson.