Digging deeper into the CDC’s new mask guidance | News

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That guidance, recommending fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in public places where community transmission is substantial or high. But how does the CDC define that risk and how close are we here in western Mass.?







SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)–Western Mass News is digging deeper on the new mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention.

That guidance, recommending fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in public places where community transmission is substantial or high. But how does the CDC define that risk and how close are we here in western Mass.?

Based on the CDC’s data, none of the three counties we cover are in the substantial or high transmission zones yet. But we found one county is edging towards it.

“I know it’s not comfortable but just until we are clear about everything and everybody gets their shots…” said Lesligicela DeJesus of Springfield.

DeJesus is okay with the idea of playing it safe. Her family was quarantined with COVID-19 before and she’s especially in support of the idea of her daughter wearing a mask to school.

“I don’t want her to get it again…It’s all about precautions you never know,” said DeJesus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in regions where community transmission is substantial or high.

We found that by the CDC’ definition, substantial transmission, 50 or more new cases per 100 thousand people over a seven-day period. High transmission: 100 new cases or more.

Western Mass News is digging deeper, using the CDC’s county-level transmission tracker, found Hampden county has 41.81 new cases per 100k people…still in the moderate zone, but closing in on substantial.

Hampshire County is also in the moderate zone, but faring better with around 13 new cases per 100 thousand people.

However, Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle is unsettled by statewide trends.

“Seeing double-digit percent rises is very troubling,” said Mayor Lachapelle.

When asked if she would consider reinstating a mask mandate:

“We will consider that absolutely. everything’s on the table,” said Mayor LaChapelle.

Franklin County fits the CDC’s definition for low transmission with fewer than 10 cases per 100 thousand people. The CDC is also encouraging more vaccinations.

“We’re about 66%,” said Mayor LaChapelle.

For LaChapelle, she is hoping people will continue to protect both themselves and those who are more vulnerable or too young to get the shot.

“It looks more and more likely that you can be vaccinated and you can carry the Delta variant and shed it to somebody who is not vaccinated or even somebody else who is vaccinated and perhaps didn’t intake that vaccine as strong,” said LaChapelle.

One thing that’s important to note, the rate of community transmission has no effect on the CDC’s guidance for schools. They still recommend that all schools regardless of that transmission rate implement a mask policy for this fall. Still, no word how the State will come down on this advice.





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