Natrona County's top doctor on Monday reacted to Governor Mark Gordon's lifting of the Wyoming mask mandate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the governor's announcement, counties can ask for a variance to keep the mandate in place.

"We have no plans on doing that," Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell said. "We will support the governor's lifting of the mask ordinance.

Dowell made the comments in a video posted to social media.

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"The only reason we would ever go back to mandatory masking would be is if we had a giant increase in cases, which I don't actually anticipate."

The mandate will officially be lifted March 16.

That said, Dowell encourages people to mask up in high-risk areas. He also said he will still wear a mask when going to stores and that it is his preference. He called on the community to not "mask shame."

If someone wants to wear a mask, wear one, Dowell said. It's the individual's prerogative.

"I'm going to still socially distance and I'm going to be smart about this," Dowell said. "We have to help each other."

Vaccines 

Dowell encouraged those who are high risk, such as those who have heart disease, kidney disease and other chronic illnesses to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

All three — Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson — are being distributed in Natrona County. However, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being distributed to socially vulnerable populations in Natrona County such as the homeless.

"The key for the summer and the fall — and the football season — and all the things we want to do — and to travel — is try to keep this thing from flaring up again as the country opens up again," Dowell said. "Get your vaccine. They're safe. Do it for your community. Do it for your state. Do it for your businesses.

"That way we have the best chance to get on with life. I'm sick of this just like you are."

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