For Immediate Release
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What You Need to Know about CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels
On February 28th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated guidance to current realities pertaining to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Community Level is a tool to help individuals and communities decide what prevention steps to take based on current conditions. One of the main changes is a shift from only looking at new cases of COVID-19 to looking at a more holistic picture that includes spread of COVID-19 and severity of illness through hospitalization data. One great outcome for the decreasing amount of COVID-19 in communities and the increasing immunity among citizens is that mask guidance has changed showing the reduced need for face coverings as long as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain low.
Under the new CDC guidance, people are advised to wear masks in public areas indoors, including schools, when there is still a high amount of COVID-19 infections within their community that could overwhelm their local hospital. As of late last week, more than 70% of Americans live in communities where wearing masks is no longer recommended under the new CDC guidelines. This new change is a result of fewer hospitals no longer being under a severe threat of COVID-19.
“With widespread population immunity, the overall risk of severe disease is now generally lower. This updated approach focuses on directing our prevention efforts towards protecting people of high risk for severe illness and preventing hospitals and health-care systems from being overwhelmed,” according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC.
People can now check whether masks are recommended for their county at the CDC’s website. Under a color-coded system, people who live in green counties with low COVID-19 levels no longer need to wear masks. People who are at high risk and live in yellow counties where there’s a medium COVID-19 level should consult with their doctor about wearing a mask. Whereas people who live in red counties, where high COVID-19 levels still exist, should continue to wear masks in indoor public places and schools.
Here in Rowan County, on February 28th, we still maintained a higher level of new cases and hospitalizations that kept us in the “High/red” category under the CDC’s color-coded system. As of today, March 3rd, we have transitioned to a “Low/green” category. While this means that community transmission is much lower and citizens are safer to not wear masks indoors, we encourage each individual to take precautions based on their individual realities. We continue to encourage vaccination and getting boosted as that is the best way to build immunity safely and to prevent severe illness and hospitalization. In addition, if you do feel sick, we encourage you to get tested as soon as possible so that you can receive therapeutics to prevent severe illness or hospitalization.
This approach is flexible and allows us all to respond accordingly when and if the risk increases for COVID-19. In the meantime, our citizens still need to continue to do the following things to help reduce the transmission of the virus and to keep the number of hospitalizations down:
For more information and for updates on our local conditions, please visit.
Download Media Release COVID-19 - March 3, 2022 (PDF)