The CDC now recommends vaccinated people wear masks indoors in some localities
July 27, 2021—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a change in its guidelines regarding people vaccinated against COVID-19, urging those living in areas where the Delta variant of the disease is spiking to wear a mask indoors. The CDC also recommends masks when indoors for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
The new guidance comes on the heels of recent mask mandates for Los Angeles, California; St. Louis, Missouri; and Provincetown, Massachusetts—all of which have seen alarming increases recently in COVID cases and hospitalizations. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), over 550 cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota can be traced back to the Fourth of July weekend outbreak in Provincetown. MDH is asking anyone who has spent time in Provincetown since July 3 to get tested for COVID-19.
The CDC provides a color-coded COVID transmission tracker on their website to help people determine risk level based on their locality at covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.
If you live with unvaccinated people (including children) or with people 65 and older or anyone else especially susceptible to the virus, wearing a mask could reduce your risk of developing a rare breakthrough infection and passing it on to them.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 (the B.1.617.2 strain of the disease) was first identified in India last October, and it is now present in every state in the United States. This mutation is more transmissible than other variants, and based on hospitalization rates so far, it also seems more deadly. People unvaccinated against COVID-19 are most susceptible and at risk to contract the Delta variant of COVID. This includes children and younger adults who are not yet able to receive the vaccination. Scientists are not yet sure how the Delta variant will effect breakthrough cases of COVID in those already fully vaccinated. Pfizer announced it will be seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for a booster dose of the vaccine this August.
Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe complications and hospitalizations resulting from the Delta variant. The CDC reports unvaccinated people account for more than 97% of those entering American hospitals with severe COVID-19 in recent weeks.
CDC Advice for Those Fully Vaccinated
CDC COVID-19 County View Tracker
Minnesota's Mask Mandate Ends—Those Unvaccinated Should Continue to Wear Masks
May 15, 2021—Governor Walz has signed an executive order ending the masking mandate for the state of Minnesota, following the CDC guidance recommending fully vaccinated people can safely stop wearing masks indoors and outdoors except when using public transportation, and in hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters. The caveat for the removal of the mask mandate is that Minnesotans who want to go maskless must be vaccinated; those who are not vaccinated, or are waiting for full immunity to kick in two weeks after their second shot, should still wear masks in public.
Individual municipalities and businesses may establish their own rules for requiring masks. The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are still requiring masks in public, for the time being. Many schools are keeping mask and social distancing requirements in place through the remainder of the school year. This means people should pay close attention to signage on buildings and businesses they plan to enter as to whether or not a mask will be required for entry.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, roughly 60% of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of that group, 51% (2,229,027 people) are fully vaccinated. Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.
Following New CDC Guidance, Governor Walz Announces End to Statewide Face Covering Requirement
COVID-19 community testing sites
MN Department of Health: To order in-home testing
Mark Your Calendar: Test Every Two Weeks
Sign Up for Minnesota’s COVID-19 Tracking App
November 23, 2020—Governor Tim Walz announced a new tool in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference today: a Bluetooth-enabled mobile app called COVIDaware MN. The COVIDaware MN app seeks to slow the spread of COVID-19 by notifying more Minnesotans—more rapidly—of possible exposures to COVID-19, so they can take action to protect their communities.
Minnesota is the 17th state to formally launch an exposure notification app, which has proven effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in other states.
The app notifies you if you’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19; and if you test positive, you can use the app to anonymously notify anyone you’ve been near. The app is free and does not collect any personal information or track your location.
For more information about how the app works, visit covidawaremn.com.
Aid and Assistance Is Available
Residents looking for updated information and relief opportunities regarding COVID-19 should visit Ramsey County's website to apply for any available aid. Aid for eligible residents may include resources for housing assistance, automobile repair, food support, and early childhood learning vouchers. Ramsey County is the local expert when it comes to Public Health resources. The county has relief available for both residents and businesses, and provides information from other agencies, such as the State of Minnesota and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).