Connecticut residents are being encouraged by federal health officials to start masking back up amid the latest surge of new COVID-19 cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance on mask-wearing to concentrate on COVID hospitalizations, hospital capacity, and newly reported infections, permitting most of the state to drop the mandate.
With the state reaching a seven-day average COVID-19 infection rate above 13 percent, and new cases on the rise across Connecticut, most of the state has been advised to take precautions to help curtail the spread of the virus.
The CDC offers a color-coded map - with counties designated as orange, yellow, or green — to help guide local officials and residents.
In green counties, local officials can drop any indoor masking rules. Yellow means people at high risk for severe disease should be cautious, and orange designates places where the CDC suggests masking should be universal, regardless of vaccination status.
As of Friday, May 13, Connecticut had no counties in the "green" category, and only New London and Fairfield counties landed were designated in the "yellow" zone.
The other six Connecticut counties were in the "orange" category, meaning the CDC advises wearing masks at all times while indoors.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky previously cited protection from immunity rising both from vaccination and infection as reasons for altering the guidance on masks.
“Anybody is certainly welcome to wear a mask at any time if they feel safer wearing a mask,” she said during an earlier news briefing to announce the changes.
“We want to make sure our hospitals are OK and people are not coming in with severe disease,” she continued. “Anyone can go to the CDC website, find out the volume of disease in their community and make that decision.”
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