SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday said it is fully adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new masking guidelines, saying everyone in counties with “substantial” transmission of the coronavirus should wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
In northern Illinois, both Winnebago and Boone counties are listed as having a “substantial” level of community COVID-19 transmission on the CDC’s website. Carroll County is flagged as “high.”
Areas of substantial transmission are considered by CDC to be those with 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. Areas of high transmission are considered to be those with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. The community level of transmission can be found here.
The CDC issued the guidance on Tuesday in response to growing cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 nationwide.
The CDC’s data indicates that on “rare occasions, some vaccinated people with the delta variant … may be contagious and spread the virus to others. This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations.”
The IDPH said the “CDC recommends that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask in public indoor setting in areas with substantial and high transmission. CDC is also recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”
“While data continues to show the effectiveness of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the U.S., including against the Delta variant, we are still seeing the virus rapidly spread among the unvaccinated,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 both continue to increase, overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated, but the risk is greater for everyone if we do not stop the ongoing spread of the virus and the Delta variant. We know masking can help prevent transmission of COVID-19 and its variants. Until more people are vaccinated, we join CDC in recommending everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial and high transmissions, and in K-12 schools.”
Dr. Sandra Martell, of the Winnebago County Health Department, said, “Winnebago County Health Department continues to recommend that all individuals consider the risks of COVID-19 and take preventive measures to reduce the spread. This includes vaccination, masking, social distancing and hand washing. Take extra precautions when in settings in which there may be individuals who are unvaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown e.g. schools, public buildings, stores, entertainment venues.”
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said he would review the latest guidance before considering any new executive orders for the state, which is currently in Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan.