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Incoming health director: 'Mask mandate metrics won't be changing'

On Flashpoint, Dr. Raynard Washington maps out his new role in the new year.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Facing a winter surge in COVID-19 cases, Mecklenburg County will have a new health director at the start of 2022, and he's not planning any sweeping changes in the county's approach.

"The level of transmission in our community remains really really high," deputy director Dr. Raynard Washington said.

Washington takes the helm of the health department in January, replacing Gibbie Harris.

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Given the widespread availability of vaccinations, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson asked Washington if there was any consideration about changing the current metrics for dropping the county's mask mandate.  

"No, not at this time," Washington responded. "Masks are helpful tools for us to help reduce the spread of infection."

Currently, the rate of positive COVID-19 tests must fall below 5% for seven consecutive days. Recently, it's hovered around 8%.

If global trends are an indication, Washington anticipates the omicron variant will become prevalent in Charlotte in the new year.

"Delta variant is still dominant strain in Charlotte," he said.

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