COLORADO SPRINGS — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has changed its position when it comes to vaccinated people and masks.
“With the Delta variant, vaccinating Americans now is more urgent than ever,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.
Tuesday, the CDC released its latest COVID-19 guidance based on information related to the Delta variant, the latest COVID-19 variant to be found.
In the past, the CDC has said vaccinated people were free to take off their masks. But now, those who have received the vaccines are being encouraged to wear masks once again.
“Some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others,” Walensky explained.
Now, even fully-vaccinated people are urged to wear their masks when at areas of high community infection.
This comes at a time when El Paso County is on the threshold of reaching very high transmission rates.
“The new cases reported are going up, quite steeply I have to say, they’re going up faster and faster with each passing day,” Microbiologist Phoebe Lostroh said.
Not only are transmission rates going up in El Paso County, the area’s percent positivity rate is also rising.
“We are about to cross from the low level, according to the Centers for Disease Control, above the medium level,” Lostroh told FOX21.
It’s important to note the CDC’s latest guidance is simply that, guidance. This means the CDC is urging, but not requiring, people to wear masks.
It’s a stance that’s being adopted by the El Paso County Health Department.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the department said “While we do not intend to issue any local mask mandates at this time, we strongly encourage our community to take prevention actions and stay informed.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Jared Polis has not announced whether he will issue a mask mandate based on the CDC’s recommendation. Currently, he is pushing for more vaccinations.
Another big part of Tuesday’s announcement was the urging of K-12 students, faculty, and staff to wear masks once school begins later this year. FOX21 has reached out to local schools to get their thoughts on the new guidance. We will update as more information becomes available.