The State of New York has announced a major protocol change for anyone who sets foot in local hospitals and doctors' offices in 2023. The change is a major step toward normalcy for a field that has been constantly at-risk since March of 2020, and hopefully, it also signifies better times ahead for the entire country.

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Report: New York State Ends Mask Mandate for Healthcare Workers

A story from New York Upstate shared the news that medical professionals, and patients, at local hospitals and doctors' offices are no longer required to wear a face mask, with New York opting not to renew their mask mandate in that area.

The protocol was put into place after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in March of 2020, and at the time, required all patients, staff and visitors in hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and other health care settings to wear a mask at all times, regardless of if you were vaccinated or not.

Unsplash / Irwan @tweetbyirwan
Unsplash / Irwan @tweetbyirwan

There is one small stipulation: the report claims that individual hospitals and healthcare facilities could still enforce a mask mandate on their own, but that decision would be made independent of the State Department of Health.

The current mask mandate was set to expire on Sunday, February 12th anyway, and with the state opting not to re-new, masks can officially be removed beginning on Monday.

Unsplash / National Cancer Institute
Unsplash / National Cancer Institute

Of course, if you feel the need or desire to wear a mask in a medical setting, you are still more than welcome to do so. As has become the case in public and private settings, masks are worn on a case-by-case, person-to-person basis in every state in America.

This story isn't meant to support, or oppose, the decision in any way. Instead, it's meant to share a positive update about the health of the United States, and the world, as we enter the second month of 2023. COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations are down significantly in New York, and the country appears as though it's continuing to bounce back.

COVID may never fully disappear from our lives, but we're reaching a point where a new normal in society can be reached, and that's fantastic news.

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