By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, Garrett County Health Department
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its masking recommendations as new information is learned about the delta variant of COVID-19 which has quickly spread across the U.S.
The agency is now recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in the parts of the U.S. where the delta variant is causing numbers of cases to surge.
“We’re not approaching any kind of a threshold for a mask mandate,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, “but, we do have rising numbers with the delta variant so we are just continuing to encourage people to get their vaccines.”
State and local leaders are watching the statistics to decide if any new local recommendations will be needed.
“People who decline to be vaccinated are essentially choosing to be naturally infected with COVID-19 instead,” said Dr. Jennifer Corder, Deputy Health Officer for Garrett and Allegany Counties. “COVID-19 is not going anywhere, and is more easily transmissible than ever before. Choose the safer way to develop immunity, choose to be vaccinated.”
According to the CDC, recent data shows that the delta variant behaves differently, and on rare occasions some vaccinated people may be infected with the variant and may be contagious, allowing them to spread the virus to others.
The CDC also recommends indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status, as school systems begin returning to in person learning for the new school year.
There are no changes in the recommended actions for unvaccinated persons. The CDC continues to strongly urge them to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to continue to masking until they are fully vaccinated.
In addition to the masking changes for fully vaccinated people, the agency also now recommends testing for fully vaccinated people if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or if they were recently exposed to someone who had a suspected or confirmed infection. Fully vaccinated people should isolate if they test positive for the coronavirus or are experiencing symptoms.
For more information visit GarrettHealth.org, or call 301-334-7698.