DES MOINES, Iowa — Mask wearing will not be reinstated in the City of Des Moines despite Mayor Frank Cownie’s remarks at Tuesday’s city council work session.

At the session, Mayor Cownie alluded to reintroducing mask-wearing when he mentioned the rise of COVID cases in Polk County and the City of Des Moines.

“We agreed towards the end of March to take all requirements to mask and all that kind of stuff up,” said Mayor Cownie.

“Over the period of time since then, those numbers have increased, not that we’re going to change our requirements today, but I think that I’ve asked Scott [Sanders] to kind of monitor this [situation].”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the community level of COVID-19 in Polk County is low; however, hospitalizations and cases have increased slightly.

On Wednesday, the city said it would not reinstate mask-wearing, but the mayor is considering other healthy options to keep people safe. The city did not specify what those healthy options would look like.

Meanwhile, the Polk County Department of Health believes the slight uptick in cases is due to people forgetting about the pandemic.

“We’re seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations, so one of the main contributing factors is that people just don’t think it’s here anymore,” said Polk County Health Communications Officer Nola Aigner Davis.

To limit the spread of the virus, Polk County Health Department advises people to stay home if they feel sick, wash their hands, and get the vaccine or booster shot to protect themselves against the virus.