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Northern Light’s Dr. Jarvis discusses COVID-19 delta variant, possibility of school mask mandates

Jarvis says getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and the state from the delta variant or any variants that follow.
(WABI)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Public health leaders say the COVID-19 Delta Variant accounts for over 80% of cases in the U.S.

Dr. James Jarvis with Northern Light Health says the variant is more contagious than the original COVID strain.

He says the thought of another mask mandate in Maine has crossed his mind but it’s still too early to tell.

Jarvis says Northern Light Health is prepared to make changes to visitation hours and adjust things as they see fit.

“This is really rapidly coming on. It’s still too early to tell whether it’s actually causing more severe disease though there is some evidence that may be true. There’s also some evidence it may be affecting younger people and particularly children as well,” Jarvis said. “The state of Maine follows the rest of the country, which gives us some time to be prepared, and so I think that’s what you’re seeing, is the early stages, we can’t predict whether we’ll have yet another surge or that we’ll see a dramatic increase in hospitalizations but we are prepared for that.”

Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending in-person learning with masks regardless of vaccination status.

Jarvis says this likely comes with the effort to get kids back into the classroom as safely as possible.

He says because children under the age of 12 can’t get vaccinated at this time, mask mandates would eliminate any students being ostracized for needing to wear one for health reasons.

“Obviously, here in the state of Maine, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services in working with the school departments, will have to determine what’s best for our students. I think, again, this is an ever changing situation, and what I can say today may not be true two weeks from now or frankly September 1st when we start looking for the new school year to start,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis says getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and the state from the Delta variant or any variants that follow.

He says at this time Eastern Maine Medical Center currently does not have any patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 and they hope to keep it that way.

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