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Some officials around the bay area are wondering when the time will come to loosen regulations regarding wearing masks.

On Tuesday night in Polk County, that was a topic of discussion for commissioners. Though they voted to extend the mask ordinance for thirty days, commissioners did ask the questions “when will it be safe to lift the mask mandate?”

The two-hour discussion began with an update from Dr. Joy Jackson, the director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County.

Over two months, Jackson reported that there’s been a decline in new COVID-19 cases, in Winter Haven and Polk County. The county’s positivity rate dropped from nearly 15% in mid-July to 7.25%.

Dr. Joy Jackson is the director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County. She said, “Things are improving for sure but I would say we are definitely not out of the woods yet. My comfort level is to at least be under 5%. The lower we get, the better. And we are just not quite there yet. I would also caution that we can’t look at just one value. We can’t just look at positivity. That needs to be part of our picture, including our new case trends.”

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