CDC Recommends Masks for Everyone When Indoors in Public Spaces and for K-12 Schools
As COVID-19 cases and the highly transmissible Delta variant increase across the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of July 27, now recommends that vaccinated people wear masks indoors when in public spaces where there is high-transmission. They also recommend that vaccinated people with vulnerable people in their households, including young children and those who are immunocompromised, wear masks indoors in public spaces. You can learn more about these guidance changes here.
Following CDC’s announcement, Dr. Francisco Velázquez, interim health officer for Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD), showed his support of the recommendation.
“We have consistently recommended to the community to wear masks when indoors in public where you are unsure of the vaccination status of those around you. Today, as our case rates trend upwards, we strongly urge people to consider wearing masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status, in order to protect yourself, to protect those around you, and to allow our community to continue moving forward,” Velázquez said.
He explained that the vaccines remain our best tool to combat COVID-19, and when combined with wearing face masks indoors in group settings, as well as where required, and following basic public health measures such as hand washing and respiratory etiquette, the community will prevail over rising case rates as they have done over the past several months.
Velázquez said, “We will continue to watch case rates, the disease severity of those who test positive for COVID-19, and hospital capacity to determine if additional measures are necessary.”
CDC also urged universal masking for all teachers, staff members and students in schools, regardless of vaccination status. This was followed by an announcement from Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington Department of Health (DOH) that existing state guidance for K-12 schools will continue. Washington guidance aligns with CDC’s masking guidance for the upcoming school year requiring masks for all students and employees, regardless of vaccination status. You can read more about Washington’s guidance for schools here.
SRHD continues to work with schools, providing recommendations for the 2021-2022 school year. Velázquez explained that the DOH guidance will direct the health district’s recommendation to schools as they create in-person learning plans for the fall.
“Our goal is to keep kids and school staff healthy and to keep kids in school,” Velázquez said.