BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York State has announced its dropping the face mask requirement in places like hospitals and nursing homes, a decision that went into effect earlier this week.

This puts the state on the same page as other states following the federal decision which allowed masking requirements to be lifted back in September.

But, based on CDC guidelines, masks are still recommended in areas with high community transmission rates. Because of this, it’s likely we won’t be seeing any changes here in Western New York.

Major hospital systems in the area, including ECMC, Kaleida Health and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, released statements to notify the public they are still requiring that people wear masks inside their buildings.

Dr. Thomas Russo, an infectious disease expert from the University at Buffalo, said this will help keep everyone safe – especially those who work inside the healthcare facilities.

“I think that public health officials and physicians agree that certainly, when we have high levels of transmission, we don’t want to put our patients and staff at risk,” Russo said. “In fact, we have data from England that shows that when you’re in high transmission mode, which they’re in presently, there’s a significant amount of infections that are acquired in the healthcare setting.”

Hospital officials said they will revisit their masking policies if and when transmission rates in the region go down.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.