Photo by Zach Lathouris
The CDC is once again recommending everyone — including the fully vaccinated — wear masks in public spaces in areas of high COVID-19 transmission, which includes Humboldt County.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued new guidance yesterday recommending
that everyone — regardless of vaccination status — resume wearing masks in public, indoor spaces in areas with "high" or "substantial" rates of COVID-19 transmission, which includes Humboldt County.
While cases of severe illness, hospitalization and death in fully vaccinated individuals remain very rare, officials say they are seeing increased rates of so-called "breakthrough" cases amid a surge in the more contagious Delta variant, which now accounts for 85 percent of cases nationally. As such, the CDC is urging fully vaccinated people to consider again masking in public to help prevent virus spread, particularly if they live with someone who is immunocompromised, has underlying health conditions that put them at elevated risk of severe disease or is not fully vaccinated.
"Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant," the CDC reported. "However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others."
The CDC defines
areas of "high" transmission as those that have recorded more than 100 new cases per 100,000 in population over the past seven days with a test-positivity rate higher than 10 percent, and areas of "substantial" transmission as those with 50 to 99.99 new cases per 100,000 in population and a test positivity rate of 8 percent or higher over the prior week.
According to the CDC's data
, Humboldt County saw 123.19 new COVID-19 cases confirmed per 100,000 residents over the seven-day period ending July 24 with a test-positivity rate of 8.42 percent, which would place the county between the "high" and "substantial" designations but nonetheless trigger the masking recommendation.
The county's dashboard
, meanwhile, is more up to date and paints an even grimmer picture, showing the county having recorded 142 new cases per 100,000 residents and a test-positivity rate of 12.7 percent, which would place the county firmly in an area the CDC considers be "high" transmission.
Humboldt County's numbers also outpace the state and nation. Nationwide, the CDC reported
an average of 119.8 cases confirmed per 100,000 in population with a test-positivity rate of 7.61 percent, per the CDC. California, meanwhile, has recorded
83.3 new cases with a test-positivity rate of 5.4 percent.
Local officials issued a recommendation
for all county residents — including those fully vaccinated — to resume using facial coverings in indoor, public settings on July 23.
Nationwide, health officials continue to report that fully vaccinated individuals account for an incredibly small number of hospitalizations and deaths. Locally, just two of 229 hospitalizations and none of the county's 53 deaths have been confirmed to be in fully vaccinated individuals.
Humboldt County Public Health continues to host free vaccination clinics at various locations. For more information or to sign up for an appointment, click here