DES MOINES, Iowa – Masks will no longer be required in Des Moines’ city government-controlled buildings. City Manager Scott Sanders announced the change on Monday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed mask guidelines for communities and lowered the risk category for Polk County.
“We are lifting the mask requirement because of the ‘low’ risk level that CDC has designated to Polk County, however, we still ask residents and employees to stay at home if they are sick or experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19,” Sanders said.
Last week, the CDC released COVID-19 Community Levels – a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.
CDC’s new interactive map places Polk County’s COVID-19 Community Level – and that of 42 other Iowa counites – at ‘low.’ The CDC lists 41 Iowa counties in the medium risk category with 15 designated in the ‘high’ category.
Des Moines masking requirement for city government buildings went into effect in August 2021.
Update: Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague on Monday also lifted his city’s local mask order and emergency proclamation, effective immediately.
“New cases of COVID-19 are decreasing and hospitalizations due to the illness continue to fall,” Teague said. “I ask the entire Iowa City community to continue to do your part to prevent the spread of this disease. Make responsible choices. Isolate or quarantine when necessary. And wear a mask if you’re a risk to others.”
The CDC lists Johnson County as “Medium” on it’s COVID-19 Community Level ratings. At a “Medium” Community Level, community members are encouraged to get tested if they have symptoms and stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations. Those who are at high risk for severe illness are encouraged to talk with their health care provided about whether masks or other precautions are necessary.