Douglas County Health Director lifts Omaha mask mandate

Three school districts move to optional masking
The Douglas County Health Department announced Wednesday that the Omaha mask mandate has been lifted, prompting three school districts move to optional masking.
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 11:58 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2022 at 12:04 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Douglas County Health Department announced Wednesday that the Omaha mask mandate has been lifted.

“New cases and hospital capacity have reached a satisfactory level as set out in the order,” Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse said in a Wednesday morning news release.

The mandate was put in place on Wednesday, Jan. 12, and technically expired at noon Wednesday, Feb. 16.

Dr. Huse had previously set 200 cases per 100,000 population as the goal. As of Wednesday, that number was at 195.5 cases per 100,000 people.

The second stipulation for ending the mask mandate was for local hospital capacity to remain at or below 85% for a week, which it has been for the previous three days, according to the health department’s COVID-19 dashboard.

MASKS IN SCHOOLS

Wednesday afternoon, three school districts announced they were dropping their mask requirements: Elkhorn Public Schools, Millard Public Schools, and Westside Community Schools moved immediately to optional masking.

Westside’s announcement marked the first time during the 2021-22 school year that masks would be optional for all of the school district’s students.

In its announcement to families, the Millard school district urged parents to keep symptomatic students at home and to have conversations with their doctors about getting vaccinated.

Omaha Public Schools initiated its own mask mandate at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, and told 6 News on Wednesday that it didn’t have an update any health and safety measures at this time.

“Our staff monitors health conditions in our schools and community each day. We are heartened to see conditions improving, compared to December and January. As community guidance and health conditions allow us to update our protocols, we will communicate directly with our staff and families.”

Omaha Public Schools

OTHER MASKING POLICIES

A spokesperson with MECA, which oversees Omaha facilities and venues such as CHI Health Center, said that while all its facilities required masks while the mandate was in effect, it will now be up to each event’s organizers to decide masking policies and requirements for those events.

Read the updated mask order

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