Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (WPVI) – The light at the end of the tunnel may finally be close, as the CDC announced Friday that most masks could stay at home.

“I really feel relieved,” said Cheney Bulak of North Philadelphia. “My face is relieved.”

As vaccines are widely available, the CDC has introduced a new way to approach pandemic recommendations. Instead of focusing on the number of cases, officials will evaluate COVID hospitalization, hospital capacity and new COVID cases.

“It’s definitely time, but reversing is scary, so be sure to be careful,” said Morgan Dempsey of Wynnefield Heights.

According to new figures, more than 70% of Americans now live in low- or medium-risk counties and should no longer wear masks indoors, even in schools. Almost the entire region of the three states is in medium danger. New Castle and Berks counties are low risk.

“Now, for the most part, our population, especially in the Philadelphia area, has been vaccinated. They’ve been upgraded, and they’re really good at wearing masks,” said Dr. John Stalkamp, ​​chief physician. main line of health. “And now we are at the point where the omicron is going down. Now it’s time to get back to a new normal life.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced it is moving to the endemic stage of COVID-19 as the disease becomes part of a new norm.

But some parents told Action News they were not ready for the children to take off their masks at school.

“I prefer that they continue to wear them honestly, just to be safer, to make things firmer,” said Taisiya Stedley of Bala Cynwyd.

The CDC allows local governments to impose their own restrictions.

The city of Philadelphia is taking its own position, saying it will still require everyone to wear masks indoors based on data specific to its residents.

“As a student who has to wear a KN95 mask all day in class, I hope it will be removed soon,” said Kristen Paniscotti of West Philadelphia.

The CDC is still considering a federal requirement that people wear masks on public transportation.

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