TRI-CITIES, Va./Tenn. (WJHL) — Ballad Health system reacted to the lifted mask mandates in the region on Saturday, noting that there has been a “drastic, sustained decrease in novel coronavirus infection rates and hospitalizations.”

Ballad attributed the halt of the mask mandates to the community’s continued efforts in slowing the spread of the virus. The health system added this includes the ongoing aim to distribute vaccines.

With the relatively recent reduction in cases, decisions by some elected leaders to lift mask requirements in their jurisdictions is not unexpected. Ballad Health certainly appreciates county leaderships’ responsiveness to their constituents’ desires, especially as they strive to find balance with public health recommendations. These are still challenging times, and no decisions are made lightly.

However, even without mask mandates in place, Ballad Health urges everyone in the Appalachian Highlands to take personal responsibility for their roles in continuing this decline in regional COVID-19 cases. This includes making the choice to protect themselves and those around them from potential virus spread by avoiding unnecessary crowds and wearing masks in public — even if they’re not required.

Ballad Health

For more information about Ballad Health’s COVID-19 efforts along with vaccine information, CLICK HERE.