Northborough Board of Health votes to lift mask mandate

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Northborough Board of Health votes to lift mask mandate
A sign outside the Northborough Town Offices in August asked unvaccinated visitors to wear a mask in accordance with CDC recommendations.
(Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – Northborough’s mask mandate will end at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday following a 4-0 vote by the Board of Health on Tuesday night. 

Member Swati Sane was not present for the board’s meeting.

Chair Glenn French noted during discussion that other communities have rescinded their mandates.

“I know, when we passed it, things were really out of control,” French said, noting COVID-19 case rates. “[Now], I think things are going in the right direction.”

Board, town officials discuss recent COVID-19 data

Northborough enacted its mandate on Jan. 6. It then took effect on Jan. 10.

That decision came after the state Department of Public Health reported 332 COVID-19 cases in Northborough between Dec. 19 to Jan. 1. 

Cases in this latest COVID-19 surge then peaked in the two week period before Jan. 14, according to town data, when 645 cases were reported.

Health Agent Kristin Black joined this week’s Board of Health meeting, presenting a graph showing Northborough’s daily case counts dating back to the start of the pandemic. 

“We can see that our greatest surge was really about a month ago when we held a meeting and the board cast a [vote for a] mask mandate,” Black said.

Black said the numbers have “dropped back down” again in recent days and weeks

She said she ran Northborough’s case numbers on Tuesday, to find 83 cases reported over the previous two weeks. 

Black said she had received over 10 emails from residents calling for the mandate to be rescinded.

“The rates have come down,” said board member Lisa Johnson. “We have a high rate of vaccination and booster vaccination in town, which is phenomenal…It’s reasonable, I think, to rescind the mandate.”

All of the other board members voiced their support for rescinding the mandate. 

Neighboring communities rescind mask mandates

This decision comes on the heels of similar votes in Grafton and Marlborough this week. 

Both of those communities enacted mask mandates last month. They both then ended their mandates citing decreased coronavirus case counts. 

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