Mask Guidance in Pitkin County

Grant Underwood

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PITKIN COUNTY, CO - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated recommendations on July 27 that recommends mask use for the general public in indoor public settings, including those who are fully vaccinated, in places where COVID-19 transmission is substantial or high.

Pitkin County's current COVID-19 incidence rates place it in the high transmission group. As a result, Pitkin County Public Health strongly advises all people aged 2 and up, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in indoor public spaces to reduce risk and maximize protection against COVID-19, including the highly contagious Delta strain.

Masks are essential in some conditions, but not all. In the majority of cases, they are suggested. Masks are required for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated patients, residents, and visitors, and medical-grade masks are required for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated staff, in the following settings that serve vulnerable or at-risk populations, according to the State of Colorado Fifth Amended Public Health Order 20-38.

  • Homeless shelters;
  • Prisons;
  • Jails; and
  • Emergency medical and other healthcare settings

The CDC is updating its mask recommendation due to the Delta variant. Delta is nearly twice as easy to spread than prior virus variants.

New evidence shows that some vaccinated people can acquire Delta or spread it, so the CDC is suggesting that people in significant and high transmission areas consider masks, even if they are completely vaccinated.

Vaccinated people make up a very small percentage of the total quantity of transmission that occurs in the United States. Most persons who have been vaccinated are immune to the virus; breakthrough cases affect only a small percentage of those who have been vaccinated, and the vast majority avoid serious disease, hospitalization, or death.

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