Memorial Health doctor discusses removal of mask requirement on public transportation

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 6:05 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A Memorial Health doctor is concerned that dropping the mask requirement on public transportation compromises high risk people especially people riding the bus.

Dr. Stephen Thacker at Memorial Health says the decision to drop the mask mandate on public transportation seems more like a legal decision than a health based one and we could see a small spike in COVID cases here in Georgia in the next four weeks.

Dr. Thacker the Associate Chief Medical Officer for Memorial says we are working toward a time when masks aren’t required on mass transportation but now is not the time as the BA.2 Omicron variant poses a threat.

Especially because different forms of public transit have higher risk as Chatham Area Transit and Savannah Hilton Head Airport have both dropped the requirement.

“The downstream impact on this when we think about mass transit is each type of mass transit has a different risk when it comes to spreading COVID 19 and we know buses can be some of the higher risk mass transit so that’s going to disproportionately impact the risk of being exposed to COVID 19 for certain members of our communities who may have a base line high risk.”

And home tests make it harder to know the exact number of positive cases out there.

“Home test are almost never reported the way they should be back to the state.”

However, Memorial Health has only two COVID patients at the moment.

Moving forward, he says we’ll know how much of an impact the surge in cases in other states will affect Southeast Georgia.

“I do think we will see a small rise. I do not think there will be this huge surge that threatens the stability of our hospital systems locally.”

While most public places no longer have mask mandates in Chatham County, masks are still required in hospitals.

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