Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, in response to speculation about a potential return of COVID-19-related lockdowns, mask mandates, and other restrictions across the United States amid a recent rise in cases and hospitalizations, said there will be no new COVID-19 restrictions in her state.
"In Iowa, government respects the people it serves and fights to protect their rights. I rejected the mandates and lockdowns of 2020, and my position has not changed.”
Several hospitals around the United States have announced a return of mask mandates, although some only apply to staff members, while several offices and colleges have done the same in recent days. Mask orders and other COVID-19-related restrictions can still be issued by local governments, school districts, or businesses.
"We have seen some organizations, such as hospitals and schools, in a few locations around the country who have made local decisions based on their local situation. But I'd like to stress that those are local decisions by local organizations based on their local situation."
According to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 hospital admissions rose for a sixth consecutive week, for the week ending Aug. 19. However, officials and doctors have said that the increase is relatively small compared to previous rises in cases since 2020.
“An upswing is not a surge; it’s not even a wave,” Dr. Shira Doron, chief infection control officer for Tufts Medicine, told ABC News in August. “What we’re seeing is a very gradual and small upward trajectory of cases and hospitalizations, without deaths really going along, which is great news.”
On Aug. 30, the CDC said COVID-19 hospital admission levels “are currently low for more than 96 percent” of the United States, but the agency recommends that transportation workers, travelers, passengers, and others get the COVID-19 vaccine “before they travel.”
“Anyone may choose to wear a mask in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor areas, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs at any time,” the CDC spokesperson said in response to an Epoch Times' question about whether the agency would reinstate a mask mandate.
CDC guidance currently doesn't recommend or require masks. Meanwhile, a CDC spokesperson told NBC News that there have been no discussions about bringing back mandates.
MandatesOver the past two weeks, a handful of hospitals across the United States have started to reinstate mandates, although some have required masks only for staff, nurses, and doctors, while patients and visitors are exempt from the rule. However, a few have made masking mandatory for anyone who goes into the facilities.
In Massachusetts, UMass Memorial Hospital confirmed in a statement on Aug. 24 that it would reimpose masking for staff. Patients and visitors are exempt from the mandate, it stated.
“We have continued to see a dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19-positive employees over the past two weeks, which has led to exposures of both fellow caregivers and patients,” the statement reads. “In response to this, as a protective measure for our staff and patients, effective immediately we are requiring mandatory caregiver masking for all patient encounters in all licensed clinical areas.”
In New York, several upstate hospitals have required masking for anyone who goes into the facilities. They include United Health Services in Binghamton, Auburn Community Hospital in Auburn, and University Hospital in Syracuse.
In California, a Kaiser Permanente facility in Santa Rosa said it would reimpose its mask mandate, but issued a statement several days later saying that only applied to staff.
“Our intent was to communicate that as of Tuesday, we have expanded the masking requirement for our employees and physicians to medical offices and clinic settings; we apologize for any confusion among Press Democrat readers,” the hospital said in an updated statement to local media.
In addition to hospitals, the Lionsgate entertainment studio in Southern California and a college in Atlanta also announced the return of masking. But as with Kaiser Permanente, Lionsgate later said that it won’t require masks and suggested that the company was being pressured by the Los Angeles Department of Health.