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Pierce County requires masks in public spaces, new strains of COVID and limited vaccine supply are to blame

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This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows the appearance of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. Submitted / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

ELLSWORTH- Pierce County Public Health is requiring individuals age 5 and older to wear a face mask when in indoor public spaces where a non-household member is present in the same enclosed space.

Newly identified variants of COVID-19 in the region and a limited supply of vaccines led to the advisory issued Thursday, April 1, 2021.

This comes one day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate.

The advisory shall be in place until June 4, which is the last day of the school year for most K-12 schools in Pierce County, according to a news release.

Vaccine rollout is going well in Pierce County, the department said, but supply is limited and most adults have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

“Only a quarter of adults in Pierce County have received their first vaccine,” health officer AZ Snyder said. “None of the vaccines have been approved yet for individuals under the age of 16. We are seeing an increase of newly identified strains of COVID-19 in the region, which may compromise what existing immunity we’ve built. ... Doing the right thing now will allow us to finish out the school year, keep those waiting for vaccines safe and ensure this summer is the best it can be.”

Since it is possible for vaccinated people to contract the virus and spread it to others, and because of the variants in the county, people who have been vaccinated still should wear a mask in public.

“This is not about punishing anyone. It's about communicating the importance of continued masking to all Pierce County residents,” Snyder said.

Find Pierce County pandemic and vaccine information at

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