NASHVILLE (WSMV) - While new case numbers for COVID-19 in Middle Tennessee appear to be fewer and trending down, some doctors are worried all our hard work could be for nothing as a number of counties plan to drop their mask mandates.

"It is very concerning for us because it almost feels like we’re going back full circle living the trauma of the fall again," said Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey, a primary care physician in Franklin.

Dr. Sepehri-Harvey is among a number of health experts warning we can't stop mask mandates yet.

"It makes a difference of people of those counties. A clear message masks are required, masks are recommended, our leadership believes in them, that they work and you see the increased compliance," she told NEWS4.  

While most areas have eased on certain restrictions, counties like Williamson is expiring its mandate on Feb. 27 in addition to Robertson County, according to NEWS4 partner Smokey Barn News. Rutherford County plans to let it's mandate expire mid-March.  

This creates confusion, said Dr. Sepehri-Harvey, because the pandemic is not over.

In Fall 2020, some counties, including Williamson, expired its mandate leaving it to people's 'personal responsibility.' Cases went back up and the mandate reinstated.

While counties work to vaccinate more people, doctors say the greatest tool to stop the spread of COVID-19 is still to wear a mask.

"As a primary care physician, our patients put so much faith and care in us," said Dr. Sepehri-Harvey.

She joins other doctors with group Protect My Care saying keep the mask on, comparing the Pandemic to other illness - treatment shouldn't be stopped mid-way.

"Just like I would recommend a blood pressure medication for them based on what I see their blood pressure being evident behind the medication," Dr. Sepehri-Harvey told NEWS4. "Same thing, social distancing and masking are tools that we have that prevent community spread and transmission."

Until everyone can actually get the vaccine.

"We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, get everybody vaccinated get to the other side and have the pandemic behind us," she said.  

Nashville and Sumner County's mask mandates are not expiring. Montgomery County is extending theirs while we are still vaccinating people to the end of March.

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