CDC: Masks should be worn in all but one Utah county

Coronavirus Updates

FILE – In this July 19 2021 file photo, employees check out customers at 2nd Street second hand store in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. New evidence showing the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox has prompted U.S. health officials to consider changing advice on how the nation fights the coronavirus. Recommending masks for everyone and requiring vaccines for doctors and other health care providers are among measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering, Friday, July 30. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Nearly every county in Utah is marked as having a high level of community transmission of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Utah’s 28 counties falling in the high or substantial transmission category is an increase over last week.

In July, the CDC issued new masking guidelines for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in response to the Delta variant spreading rapidly. Within the guidelines, the CDC encourages anyone living in areas of “substantial and high” virus transmission to wear a mask inside.

According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, the vast majority of counties across the U.S. are seeing substantial or high COVID-19 transmission. States from Iowa south to Louisiana, east to South Carolina, and north to Pennsylvania are almost entirely red – ‘high’ COVID-19 transmission – with a few orange counties – ‘substantial’ transmission. The same goes for states across the west, with Nebraska being the only exception.

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the COVID Data Tracker. On the left, is the map for the week of Sunday, Aug. 8 through Saturday, Aug. 14. On the right, the map for the week of Monday, August 2021 through Sunday, August 22.

Utah is among the states who are vastly red or orange.

Of Utah’s 29 counties, just two are not in the ‘high’ categories – Rich and Morgan. In the previous week, Rich county was in the substantial category, identified with the color orange, where it remains this week. Emery County has moved from moderate to high while Daggett moved from low to high. Morgan has moved from high to substantial.

Based on the latest CDC guidance, this means everyone, vaccinated or not, should be wearing a mask when indoors in all but one county. Below is a side-by-side comparison of Utah’s COVID-19 transmission rates, courtesy of the CDC. On the left, Utah’s transmission rate for Aug. 15, and on the right, the map as of Aug. 24.

As of Aug. 24, 59.8% of Utahns 12-years-old and older are fully vaccinated against the virus. The vaccine is not currently available for kids 11 and under. For more on COVID-19 in Utah, click here.

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