SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– More areas in South Dakota are starting to make masks optional rather than required, leaving people wondering: is this a good move for our state?
Dr. David Basel, Vice President of Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group, says the mask issue is a little different depending on where are at, with being indoors or outside especially important to consider.
Looking into the summer months, Basel says there is much less of a risk outdoors because of the ventilation.
Contracting COVID-19 from somebody is influenced by the length of time you are exposed and the intensity of that exposure, Basel says. With the outdoor breeze, that really lowers the risk, especially between vaccinated individuals.
Basel says according to the CDC, if you are vaccinated and outdoors, unless you are at a crowded event, you probably don’t need to wear a mask anymore.
In an indoor setting however, Basel says it is still important, even if you have been vaccinated, to wear your mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Because even though it reduces the chances something is going to happen, when you’re in indoor settings that risk is still there,” Basel said. “It may not be as much as your own risk that you’re putting yourself at. You may get an asymptomatic case and then pass that on to somebody else in that building.”
The one exception that the CDC says is if you are in a small group gathering where everyone is fully vaccinated and feels comfortable, Basel says, then you can probably take your mask off.
When asked about South Dakota universities making masks optional after May 10, Basel says he hasn’t seen the CDC guidelines change too much.
“Again, if you’re indoors, in classrooms and stuff, the official guidance would still be that you should probably be wearing a mask; it’s the safest thing in all indoor settings,” Basel said.