FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The City of Fayetteville announced it will drop its mask mandate beginning Monday, pointing to improving COVID-19 metrics.
"There's been a significant decrease in hospitalizations, and people who are in ICU and need ventilation according to the health system's president. Any time we see positive signs from people getting vaccinated and doing the right thing, that's a great thing," said Mayor Mitch Colvin.
Friday, 1,335 people statewide were hospitalized with COVID-19, a sharp decrease from 2,074 hospitalizations just two weeks ago.
Case counts are also dropping; there were 2,366 new cases reported Friday, down from 3,182 two weeks ago.
Despite this, Wake, Durham, and Cumberland Counties all remain in high transmission based off CDC guidance, which Wake and Cumberland County officials noted in announcing they'd keep a mask mandate in place.
"Currently, our positivity rate is 3.45%, which is great, because it's below the desired 5% threshold," said Dr. José Cabañas, the county's Chief Medical Officer in a statement, "but Wake County remains at a high level of community transmission of COVID-19. We need to see that drop to a moderate level before we can recommend lifting the mask mandate."
"Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. Face coverings remain an important tool to protect children and keeping them safe inside of schools and childcare centers and as they gather with friends and family. We anticipate that children ages 5-11 will become eligible to get vaccinated in early November, helping to continue to improve our metrics," added Cumberland County Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green in a statement.
Mayor Colvin said city officials will continue to closely track metrics and be prepared to take action if numbers worsen.
"Personally, I'll still wear a mask and ask everyone to do that at their own discretion, but this is not something that the government has to mandate. If the time comes, then we'll have to make those tough decisions and do that. But that's the last thing we want to do. So we ask everyone to please get vaccinated, get your booster shots, and still use masks as a precaution," said Colvin.
Thursday, the Town of Cary announced it would drop its mandate, while Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, and Zebulon will all continue their mandates.