The Illinois Department of Public Health has aligned itself with the latest recommenda- tions by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halt the spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday aligned itself with the latest recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halt the spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant.
The CDC recommended vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. 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.
Ezike said it is known masking can help prevent transmission of COVID-19 so her depart- ment is joining CDC recommendations that regardless vaccination status, everyone should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with substantial and high transmission of the coronavirus.
According to the health department, 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 transmis- sion are considered to be those with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period.
For months, COVID cases, deaths and hospitalizations were falling steadily, but those trends began to change at the beginning of the summer as the delta variant, a mutated and more transmissible ver- sion of the virus, began to spread widely, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates.
The health department on Tuesday reported 1,669 new COVID-19 cases in Illinois, with five additional deaths, bringing the total confirmed and probable deaths to 25.880. The test positivi- ty rate now stands at 4.2%, the highest its been since April.