From the County Manager Column from May 14, 2021

Update following CDC, governor’s announcements on mask mandates

I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of news throughout the day following the unanticipated announcements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Gov. Walz lifting mask requirements. Like our other local governments and Twin Cities businesses and organizations, we are also working through how we will adapt to this new guidance with a focus on health and safety.

Today, in coordination with Ramsey County’s Incident Management Team, leaders from Public Health, Human Resources, Property Management, Policy & Planning and other areas began working on proposed changes to our policy on face coverings based on the best public health guidance now available. The county board will consider proposed changes at their meeting next Tuesday, May 18, and we will align our administrative employee policies to the direction approved by the board. The new policy could then go into effect as soon as Wednesday, May 19. Until action is taken by the board and communications to employees occur, we will continue under our current policy at all county facilities.

As things continue to be in flux around us, we continue steadily making progress toward our goal for 70% of Ramsey County eligible residents to be fully vaccinated. Vaccination is the primary tool to keep us all as safe as possible. Although we are generally doing very well across Ramsey County, there are significant areas that remain well below the 70% target. We know that this isn’t just a hesitancy issue; this is also because we have not yet done enough as a system to reach every neighborhood and community across our diverse county. Thank you for your flexibility and extending grace now and in the weeks ahead as we continue working through this pandemic day by day.

Also, I appreciate your help in spreading the word that the vaccines are free, safe, effective and readily available at clinics Public Health and partners operate, pharmacies and health care providers. The approval of vaccination of adolescents (12 -15) this week has opened up an entire new group of our residents who can now safely get the vaccine. Please refer people to ramseycounty.us/CovidVaccine to schedule appointments and for the latest updates.