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DHS Chief Medical Officer Ryan Westergaard says pandemic 'could be worse' in Wisconsin without mask mandate

Posted at 1:03 PM, Sep 23, 2020

WISCONSIN — Wisconsin's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said in an interview with TMJ4 News Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic could be worse if Wisconsin didn't have a mask mandate.

Westergaard spoke with Vince Vitrano during an exclusive interview where he discussed all things COVID-19 related, including the new mask mandate and mask effectiveness.

Westergaard said that while masks do not stop the spread of COVID-19 entirely, they have had a positive effect on our communities.

"It's true that a mask mandate hasn't prevented a surge altogether, but there are some data that are encouraging in ways that it has been beneficial," said Westergaard. "We've seen the number of cases in workplaces go down... that's in large part to the fact that we now have universal masking behavior in those settings."

Dr. Westergaard said medical facilities have also seen a lower spread rate due to that universal masking.

He expressed that if Wisconsin didn't have a mask mandate, things could have been worse in those areas specifically. However, the spread won't stop unless we see universal mask wearing in more settings.

"The challenge is to have more mask wearing in more settings as one piece of our response," said Westergaard.

There are also additional ways to help slow the spread, because masks alone will not solve the issue.

Those ways include washing your hands, social distancing, and paying close attention to quarantine and isolation scenarios.

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