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Twin Cities, Duluth end mask mandates in city buildings

March 10, 2022 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth are among cities ending mask requirements for city-owned facilities as COVID-19 case counts continue to trend downward in Minnesota.

Minneapolis and St. Paul ended their mandates on Thursday. Duluth lifted its requirement for city buildings Wednesday.

City officials say they made their decisions based on local and state coronavirus numbers, as well as guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We continue to make policy decisions based on current data,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. “Minneapolis is sustaining a downward trend in case and hospitalization rates, and the new CDC indicators reflect a low community level classification in Hennepin County.”

Minnesota is now averaging fewer than 700 new coronavirus cases a day. That’s down from more than 3,000 a day in mid-February, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

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“We are entering a new, promising phase of our recovery,” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said in a statement. “While we still have work to do, I’m glad we are in the place to safely wind down emergency masking measures.”

The average test positivity rate in Minnesota is around 3.3%, below the 5% level that health officials say is concerning.