Minneapolis residents respond to new mask recommendation, experts say COVID metrics have changed

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Navigating the range of COVID mask recommendations is generating confusion in the metro, following Minneapolis Health Department’s mask recommendation.

“Our campus still recommends that we wear a mask on campus,” Mya Cederson, a college student, said.

But when Cederson leaves her campus, the mask recommendations change depending on what city she’s in.

“It’s always changing, everyone is saying something different. It’s hard to keep up,” Cederson said.

As of Thursday, the Minneapolis Health Department is strongly recommending everyone wears a mask inside public spaces, if you’re vaccinated or not.

The health department cited data showing an increase in the 7-day case rate and hospitalizations, since mid-March.

Infectious disease experts said cases are going up, but they’re not seeing as much severe disease.

“The ICUs are not being as stressed with patients because they’re not seeing a lot of COVID patients come through,” Dr. Greg Siwek, Regions Hospital infectious disease doctor, said.

Minneapolis health officials said the new case count puts the city in the high community transmission category.

According to the CDC COVID data tracker, Hennepin County’s COVID transmission is low.

Experts said the calculations are not the same across the board because the metrics are different.

“The other one that is used, the transmission level that is used by the hospitals has been at a higher level so I think people are looking at different markers,” Dr. Siwek said.

Health experts said with the range of recommendations, wearing a mask is a personal choice. 

“Think about your own risk factors and what your status is and just pay close attention because things rarely have stayed stable for a long time with this,” Dr. Siwek said.

The Minneapolis Health Department has not mentioned any mandates going into effect with Thursday’s announcement, but they say they’ll continue to keep an eye on the data.