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Illinois Department of Public Health adopting updated CDC guidance on face masks

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SPRINGFIELD (WEEK) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday announced it will be adopting the updated COVID-19 and face mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The updates include everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, to wear face masks in public indoor settings with "substantial and high transmission."

This includes recommendations for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools to wear masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, according to the IDPH's announcement.

“While data continues to show the effectiveness of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the U.S., including against the Delta variant, we are still seeing the virus rapidly spread among the unvaccinated,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 both continue to increase, overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated, but the risk is greater for everyone if we do not stop the ongoing spread of the virus and the Delta variant.  We know masking can help prevent transmission of COVID-19 and its variants.  Until more people are vaccinated, we join CDC in recommending everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial and high transmissions, and in K-12 schools.”

Areas of substantial transmission are considered by CDC to be those with 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. Areas of high transmission are considered to be those with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. The community level of transmission can be found here https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.

According to CDC, the Delta variant is causing some vaccine breakthrough infections, but even so, most breakthrough infections are mild, and the vaccines are preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Drew Veskauf

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