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HonorHealth, Banner Health speak out against rescinding mask mandates in Arizona

The health care companies spoke out against removing mandatory face mask mandates after Scottsdale rescinded theirs earlier this week.

PHOENIX — Two health care companies in Arizona have spoken out against removing mandatory face mask mandates after Scottsdale rescinded its requirement earlier this week.

HonorHealth officials said in a statement on Tuesday that it "opposes efforts to rescind or rollback face covering mandates in our community."

HonorHealth described itself as the largest employer in Scottsdale. 

Banner Health also said in a statement on Wednesday that it "strongly opposed to any decision or consideration to relax existing mask mandates."

Banner Health described itself as Arizona's largest health care system. 

The city of Scottsdale rescinded its mask mandate earlier this week, city officials announced.

But people in the city will not see much change because Maricopa County's mask requirement is still in place.

The city said in a tweet that the decision was "based upon the significant decline of infection and hospitalization rates in Maricopa County seen over the past several weeks."

"The increase in these same rate factors are what  drove the decision to require masks in June," the city continued in a statement.

But HonorHealth argued in its statement that removing mask requirements "would have a negative impact on the health of our community and may reverse the progress we have made over the past few months with declining COVID-19 infection rates and deaths in Arizona." 

The company said COVID-19 hospitalizations are more manageable now compared to the summer, in part due to people wearing masks. 

"The virus is still very prevalent in our community, the rate of immunity is low, and it is predicted that we will see another surge later this year based on patterns observed in other parts of the world." HonorHealth's statement continued. 

"While everyone desires a 'return to normal,' at this point there is still a substantial risk posed by COVID-19 and this is not the time to let our guard down."

Banner Health also said in its statement that "rolling back mask and distancing mandates now will reverse gains in slowing the spread."

"The declining COVID-19 infection rates are the result of swift and diligent action by our city and county leaders to mandate masking, social distancing and other protective measures," the statement continued. 

"Rolling those back now is not prudent. Our city leaders must hold strong and retain the mask mandates."