Health commissioner reiterates need to wear masks

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Dr. Irina Gelman

GOSHEN – As the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread and with just under 51-percent of Orange County’s population having been vaccinated, County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman reemphasized the need for people to wear masks in congregate settings.

Speaking to the Health Committee of the County Legislature on Tuesday, she discounted the believe by many that mask wearing is harmful to one’s health.

“All medical professionals wear masks on a daily basis. I have practiced surgery in the past having a surgical field of practice in my residency program, I have worn masks for a protracted period of time. We are talking about surgeries that lasted four, five, six, and at times, eight hours at a time. In my second year of residency, I was eight months pregnant while operating and having a full caseload and I continued to wear a mask in the O-R for the purposes of curtailing disease transmission,” she said.

Dr. Gelman said students should mask up when returning to school.

Because of the delta variant spread and the need to increase the percentage of vaccinated residents, she said the county is going to establish vaccination points-of-distribution in the Port Jervis, Newburgh and Middletown areas.