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2 northern NH communities issue temporary mask mandates

October 26, 2021 GMT

BERLIN, N.H. (AP) — Two northern New Hampshire communities have issued temporary mask mandates as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Coos County.

The Berlin City Council and the Gorham Board of Selectmen met on Monday night. In Berlin, the City Council brought back an indoor mask mandate for at least 30 days, WMUR-TV reported. In Gorham, the board decided on an indoor mask mandate for two weeks, with plans to review it at the next meeting on Nov. 8.

Health officials in Coos County asked for the mandates. The test positivity rate in the county is at 14.8%, among the highest in New England.

“If you are in a car accident or if you have a heart attack or if you have other medical needs, the capacity of the health care system is really impaired at this point, and so we really need to take every action we can to preserve that capacity for us all,” said Ken Gordon, CEO of Coos County Family Health Services.

Berlin Fire Chief James Watkins said masks could help bring the virus under control.

“Frankly, a lot of people don’t want to, including myself. I don’t want to either,” he said. “However, I am trying to help everybody out.”