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New CDC guidelines recommend everyone mask up in high community spread areas, schools

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that they are changing their COVID-19 mask guidelines as new science comes out on the spreading delta variant.

Now, places with substantial or high community spread are recommended to go back to masking.

Even if you’re vaccinated against COVID-19, the CDC is now saying that if you live in a substantial or high community spread area, you should go back to wearing a mask in public. Although rarely, those who are vaccinated could still carry the highly transmissible delta variant, even though chances are a vaccinated person won’t get sick from it. They can also spread it to those who haven’t been vaccinated.

Dr. Shankar Kurra with Monument Health said that these new guidelines should serve as a reminder for people to get vaccinated so the variant has a lower chance of spreading.

“If you’re vaccinated, your chances of dying from it are less than 0.002%, and your chance of getting the disease is less than 5%.,” Kurra said. “This also means that you have a less than 1% chance of being hospitalized.”

Because children under the age of 12 are still not eligible for the vaccine, the new CDC guidelines also call for universal mask-wearing across the country in public schools.

Katy Urban, community relations manager for Rapid City Area Schools, said that the district will highly recommend masks, and make an assessment later if they need to mandate them.

“If we were to see an outbreak of the delta variant, we might change that and recommend to the board that they put a mask mandate in place, but ultimately, that would be their decision.”

Urban said that safety protocols from the previous year, like social distancing and regular cleaning, will continue in an effort to mitigate any spread.

Right now, community spread in Pennington County is not considered substantial or high.

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