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Guilford County Commissioners discuss possible county-wide mask mandate

During their meeting Thursday night, Guilford County Commissioners spoke briefly on the effectiveness of masks as COVID case numbers rise.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Just when you thought we were done with mask mandates, lots of cities and towns across the Triad are reinstating them as the Omicron variant spreads quickly.

Some areas in Guilford County, including Greensboro as of Wednesday in city facilities, brought the mask mandate back to help combat the spread of the virus. Commissioner Chair, Skip Alston said there is a possibility that the rest of the county could go under the mandate as well. 

Guilford County Commissioners held their regular meeting Thursday night and even though masks weren’t on the agenda, the topic definitely made its way to the discussion. 

"We have to act, hospital beds are fully filling up. A week ago there were like 73 or 93 (in the hospital with COVID) and now there are 193 people, ” Alston explained. 

City leaders have said that Guilford County is considered an area of high transmission with a current 14-day positive COVID-19 test rate of 22.8% and a single-day record on January 5th, of 30.8%.

"This 30.8% has been recorded on January 5th and again these are the highest positivity rates we have ever recorded during the pandemic," said Guilford County Health Director, Dr. Iulia Vann.

While some commissioners like chair, Alston, are pushing for the masks to be put back on, others like James Upchurch aren’t 100% for it.

"I just think it’s very interesting the fact that places that have mask mandates currently and the cities and counties we compare ourselves to generally have 50 to 100% higher cases per capita than we do and they have a mask mandate and they've had one since we last expired ours so I think that everybody on this call really needs to look at that," said Upchurch. 

Now the decision was made a couple of days ago to reinstate masks in some areas of Guilford county including Jamestown, Gibsonville, Pleasant Garden, and Sedalia.

The mandate will last until next Thursday, Jan. 13, the day of the county's special called meeting to discuss the possibility of a countywide mandate.