Board of Alderman repeal mask mandate for city buildings

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Oxford Board of Alderman voted to repeal the city’s mask mandate on Tuesday after a decline in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks.

The mandate required visitors to wear masks inside all city buildings. Visitors will still be encouraged to wear masks inside, especially when social distancing is not possible.

The city reported 83 new COVID cases and two new deaths, continuing the recent downward trend in cases across the state as the Omicron surge begins to recede.

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Mayor Robyn Tannehill said Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford is admitting fewer and fewer patients every day.

“We’ve been seeing 60-70 [patients] in the hospital a day,” said Tannehill. “Today we have 40 in the hospital, and of those 40, eight are in the ICU.”

A significant portion of the patients in Baptist come from outside Lafayette county, as the Mississippi Department of Health re-instated a policy earlier this month that requires larger hospitals to accept transfers from rural areas that do not have access to the same critical care services.

“We are still getting transfers from other states and surrounding communities, but our numbers are very much going down,” Tannehill added.

The mandate, which has been repealed and re-instituted multiple times in the past two years, will expire Feb. 2.