CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Mask mandates and public health restrictions could make their way back to local communities as multiple counties go up to the medium-risk category for COVID-19.

Most recently, Hampden County has joined Berkshire and Hampshire counties in that “medium” level of risk.

Local health experts have been expecting this due to rise in infections, hospitalizations, and the wastewater data in these counties.

22News spoke to Germaine Bryan of Holyoke about what he’s doing to remain vigilant against COVID-19.

“Cases are going back up it’s obvious. We need to continue to take the proper precautions to make sure we are still safe and everyone around us is safe also,” said Bryan.

The CDC’s COVID “Community Levels” are divided into three parts: Low, Medium and High. The Low risk level means only to test if you have symptoms, but for counties with medium risk levels, those who are high risk or immunocompromised should reach out to their healthcare providers about whether they need to wear a mask.

“I feel it’s better to wear a mask than to say, ‘should I wear a mask? Do I need to wear a mask today?’ It’s just easier to wear one,” Kathy said.

With infection rates going up health experts suggest to practice social distancing and keeping a mask handy are effective especially in crowded areas.

“Being that they are lifting the mandates, not sure about what’s going up and what’s going down, but people still need to take consideration that there is still potential risk of getting COVID,” Bryan continued.

If any local counties were to reach the high risk level, communities might have to bring back those public health precautions once again.