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Fargo-Moorhead mayors not considering mask mandates as COVID cases spike

On Wednesday, Minnesota's seven-day rolling average test positivity rate was 13.4%. In North Dakota the 14-day rolling average rate was 9.5%

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FARGO — With the highly infectious omicron variant taking hold on both sides of the Red River, mayors in Moorhead, Fargo and West Fargo on Wednesday, Jan. 5, indicated they had no plans to instate indoor mask requirements.

On Wednesday, Minnesota's seven-day rolling average test positivity rate was 13.4%. In North Dakota, where COVID-19 infections nearly doubled over two days , the 14-day rolling average test positivity rate was 9.5%

In response to the rising COVID-19 positivity rates in Minnesota , Minneapolis and St. Paul are reinstating indoor mask requirements beginning Thursday evening.

Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson said she is not considering a citywide indoor mask requirement at this time. Masks are required in city buildings, she said, noting that policy has been in place for months.

Cass County also has a mask mandate for visitors and employees in government buildings.

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Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said the omicron variant spreads easily, and he hopes it overtakes the more virulent delta variant, which can cause more complications. He said they are leaving masking up to the discretion of residents at this time. Cass County is reaching the 60% vaccination rate, he added, and testing is "going crazy" in the county with 3,500 people tested one day last week.

Mahoney also hopes home testing kits and the new antiviral or vaccine pills from Pfizer can help slow the spread of the omicron variant in the coming weeks.

West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis said they are continuously monitoring the virus situation, but neither staff nor city commissioners have made any suggestions about a mask requirement for the city.

He has noticed that some businesses in the city have again put up signs encouraging people to mask up in their buildings, however.

An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. bamundson@forumcomm.com 701-451-5665
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