SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new masking guidelines, even for vaccinated people, in response to new information about the ability of the Delta variant to spread.
In addition to recommending masks inside for teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools – regardless of vaccination status – the CDC has recommended that anyone living in areas of “substantial and high” virus transmission wear a mask inside.
According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, the majority of counties across Utah are seeing substantial or high COVID-19 transmission.
Of the state’s 29 counties, only seven are not in the high transmission category – Morgan, Summit, Rich, Daggett, Sevier, Piute, and Wayne. Even among those seven counties, Morgan and Summit still fall within the substantial transmission category.
Based on the latest CDC guidance, this means everyone, vaccinated or not, should be wearing a mask when indoors in all but five counties.
In response to the CDC’s new guidance, the Utah Department of Health released the below statement:
We recommend unvaccinated people choose to wear masks in indoor settings. Of course, we’re always watching how the virus and the pandemic are evolving, but at this point have not changed our guidance regarding masks for these two populations (vaccinated and unvaccinated).
Utah’s western neighbor, Nevada, announced Tuesday it will reinstate mask guidelines, adhering to the CDC’s new guidance. Starting Friday, masks will be required indoors in public spaces in Nevada, regardless of vaccination status.
Only 46% of Utah’s 3.2 million residents are fully vaccinated against the virus. Today the CDC also recommended masks for all students, teachers, and staff in K-12 schools. The vaccine is not currently available for kids 11 and under.
“Once all school-age kids have access to the vaccine, we won’t need to recommend universal masking for unvaccinated individuals,” Dr. Angela Dunn, Executive Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department and former state epidemiologist says. “But right now, it is our collective responsibility to protect those who don’t even have the option of getting vaccinated.”
For more on COVID-19 in Utah, click here.