Based on evidence regarding transmission of the COVID-19 Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance about masks for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.
Specifically, the updated CDC guidances states that face coverings should be worn indoors in areas of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission. This week Calhoun County was categorized as having substantial transmission. The CDC classifies a community as having substantial transmission if there are 50 to 99 cumulative weekly cases per 100,000 residents or if the positivity rate is between 8.0 and 9.9% in the last seven days. Calhoun County's recent COVID-19 transmission data between July 26-August 1 is 67.83 cases per 100,000 with a percent positivity level of 5.81%.
In addition, CDC recommends indoor face masks for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors of K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status and transmission rate. This ensures layered prevention strategies as children return to full-time in-person learning in the fall. Indoor masking aims to reduce transmission of COVID-19, prevent student and employee absenteeism due to illness or exposure to illness, and promote a healthy, in-person learning environment.
The Calhoun County Public Health Department fully supports and endorses this updated guidance and advises all individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and while indoors in schools.
This change in guidance is due to high unvaccinated rates in Calhoun and the more contagious variant of the virus— the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant. The COVID-19 vaccines remain the most effective way to avoid severe illness and hospitalization, and death. However preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can be infectious and can spread the virus to others. These "breakthrough infections" in fully vaccinated individuals are uncommon and symptoms are typically mild, but the chance for ongoing spread makes it important that we continue to take preventative measures.
“Vaccination is the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death. Masking up indoors provides an additional layer of protection to reduce the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant,” said Dr. William Nettleton, Medical Director of the Health Department.
The Calhoun County Public Health Department urges residents to reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others by taking the following measures:
If any person who qualifies to be vaccinated has not done so already, please get vaccinated as soon as possible. Visit calhouncountymi.gov/covidvaccine for information on the vaccine and where to get vaccinated in Calhoun County.
- Wear a mask in public indoor settings.
- Fully vaccinated people can choose to mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in their household is unvaccinated.
- Get tested 3-5 days after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- Isolate and get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Isolate for 10 days if you test positive for COVID-19.
- Continue to follow any applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.