Public health order ends, many hospitals to end mask requirement

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State officials announced New Mexico’s public health order will expire late Friday night. The guidelines were put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

KOB 4 asked people to reflect on their time spent under COVID restrictions and their current mask wearing habits. Their comments can be seen in the video above.

Officials with the largest health systems in New Mexico made a joint announcement, saying they will not require masks in health care settings starting April 16.

“We’re asking people to use their best judgment in understanding their own risk and the risk to those around them,” said the University of New Mexico Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve McLaughlin.

He said the number of COVID patients is now lower than at any point in the last year at UNMH.

The hospital system recognizes there is not a consensus on the topic of mask wearing.

“There are individuals that feel this change should have been made a long time ago. There are other individuals who would like to see us wait longer,” Dr. McLaughlin said.

There are similar changes in the rules for schools and courts.

The New Mexico Public Education Department is retiring its COVID-19 Response Toolkit. A spokesperson said schools will now use the manual that covers all communicable diseases – like the flu, measles and pink eye.

The state court system lifted its requirements for masks and social distancing. A spokesperson said people will still be appearing remotely so they don’t have to show up in-person.