Norton Sound Health Corporation has lifted its mandatory mask-wearing mandate as the worldwide COVID-19 emergency has come to an end.
On Friday, May 5, the World Health Organization declared the end of the global public health emergency, which was first issued Jan. 30, 2020.
The NSHC Board of Directors voted on Thursday, May 11 to suspend the mandatory COVID-19 mandate and masking is no longer required in all NSHC facilities.
According to a press release from NHSC, masks will still be available upon entry to any NSHC facility. NSHC is encouraging people to use masks if they are sick with a respiratory illness, are at a high-risk for infection, or if they feel more comfortable wearing one.
Norton Sound Health Corporation will continue to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at no out-of-pocket cost and will continue to provide COVID-19 testing at no out-of-pocket cost for the short-term future.
At-home COVID-19 test kits will remain available to the public while supplies last, with pick-up during regular hours at the Nome Public Health Center at 207 West 6th Ave.
Norton Sound Health Corporation did not respond to a request for comment by deadline for this story.
Image at top: COVID-19 cloth facemasks produced by FabLabs in the Bering Strait School District. These and 1,000 face shields were sent to Norton Sound Health Corporation staff to keep them protected during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo from Chase Ervin, BSSD, used with permission (2020).