Fewer than four percent of COVID-19 tests in Wake County are coming back positive, but officials say it’s still too soon to end the mask mandate. 

Under the current mandate, residents are required to mask up inside public spaces and businesses. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Wake County is still experiencing high transmission of the virus. The CDC considers anything above 50 cases of the virus per 100,000 people “high,” and Wake is currently seeing double that—104 cases per 100,000 residents. 

 “Currently, our positivity rate is 3.45 percent, which is great, because it’s below the desired 5 percent threshold,” Dr. Wake County Chief Medical OfficerJosé Cabañas said in a press statement. “But Wake County remains at a high level of community transmission of COVID-19. We need to see that drop to a moderate level before we can recommend lifting the mask mandate.”

Public health officials reviewed the county’s metrics this week, determining that the county and Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, and Zebulon should keep the mask mandate in place. The mandate is separate from Raleigh’s, which is also still in place. 

Officials plan to keep the county mandate in place until cases drop below 50 per 100,000 residents. 

While cases have been trending down, the road to recovery from the pandemic is still a long one. County associate medical director Nicole Mushonga warned that many residents are still experiencing health issues months after contracting the virus.

“It’s one of the many reasons why wearing a mask and not spreading the virus is so critical to our community’s overall success at bouncing back from the pandemic,” Mushonga said. 

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Follow Senior Staff Writer Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to ltauss@indyweek.com.