UPDATE: Delta variant puts COVID-19 cases on the rise, prompting new CDC guidance on mask wearing for fully vaccinated and in schools

July 29, 2021
face mask protection
By Regence

The highly transmissible Delta variant, now the dominant strain in the U.S., is causing an uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country. The rise in new infections has changed public health officials’ recommendation about mask wearing for fully vaccinated people.

Vaccinated people should now consider wearing a mask indoors in public, particularly in areas of substantial or high transmission, and this fall, everyone—vaccinated or not—  should wear a mask in school, according to new guidance published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Substantial or high transmission is defined as 50 new infections per 100,000 residents, or when more than 8 percent of COVID-19 tests are positive, over the previous seven days.)

covid-community-transmission
source: cdc.gov

If you have been fully vaccinated, the CDC says you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, especially if you are immunocompromised, have been exposed to COVID-19, or live with people who are immunocompromised, or unable to be vaccinated like children under age 12. It is a federal requirement to wear a mask when traveling by air, rail or bus, and when on federal property. Check your state and local health departments for evolving safety protocols in your area.

The best protection from COVID-19 is to be fully vaccinated—considered as two weeks after your single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson), or your second dose of a two-dose series (Moderna and Pfizer), according to the CDC. For the fully vaccinated, data shows breakthrough cases are rare, and if infected with COVID-19 people can be asymptomatic and are low risk for severe illness and hospitalization.

Regence encourages you to get vaccinated to protect yourself and others. Your state health department will be your best source of information about where you can get vaccinated. Or you can visit vaccinefinder.org

Vaccinations are covered at no cost under most health plans. You can find more information about coverage for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment at regence.com.

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