King County health officer: Fully vaccinated should consider masking up in some settings

May 17, 2021, 5:43 AM | Updated: 11:08 am
rollback, maskless, vaccinated masking, mask...
Social distancing and mask requirements remain in place across Washington. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

With the CDC fielding questions over its newly-updated mask guidance, King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin provided some clarification last week, urging people — regardless of vaccination status — to consider masking up in certain scenarios.

Washington to follow CDC’s lead on relaxing mask rules

The CDC’s guidance generally recommends that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to mask up in most indoor and outdoor settings. That’s led to companies like Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Costco relaxing their masking requirements for the fully vaccinated.

As Dr. Duchin points out, though, there isn’t a dependable method for a business — or a customer — to determine a person’s vaccination status.

“CDC recommends vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks for most activities indoors or out, while unvaccinated people should continue to do so, especially indoors,” he tweeted. “However, it’s not easy to know who is/is not vaccinated in public spaces!”

In King County, 53% of residents have now been fully vaccinated, while COVID prevalence still remains relatively high. Given that, Dr. Duchin says that it “would be best to have a higher degree of vaccination and protection for all groups” before relaxing local mask rules.

He warns that in areas where COVID-19 transmission is still at concerning levels, it’s still risky to not mask up if you’re unvaccinated, and even those who are vaccinated may want to consider continuing to wear a facial covering as well.

Why Washington might not need herd immunity to ‘start taking masks off’

“Vaccinated people with weakened immune systems and all who want to reduce their risk to the greatest extent possible, even for mild infection, should consider continuing to wear masks indoors when around unvaccinated people, especially where local CoV-19 activity is at high levels,” he recommended.

As for figuring out when you should and shouldn’t be wearing a mask, Duchin says it should largely come down to the region you’re in, and your own willingness to absorb risk based on that.

“When considering whether to wear a mask indoors in public spaces, understanding your risk based on local CoV-19 activity can help you make a decision based on your personal risk tolerance,” he advised.

That said, he also noted that masks should continue to be worn at all times in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, schools, public transportation, long-term care facilities, and hospital settings.

Local News

Kshama Sawant recall, threatening emails...
Nick Bowman

Attempt to fast-track bill leads to heated back-and-forth between Seattle councilmembers

An attempt from Councilmember Kshama Sawant to fast-track a bill to require contractors to pay parking costs led to a contentious back-and-forth.
12 hours ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
MyNorthwest Staff

Climate Pledge Arena set for grand opening, Seattle Kraken debut

Climate Pledge Arena will open its doors for the first time under its new name this week, with a pair of concerts and the Seattle Kraken's home debut.
12 hours ago
Gadsden flag...
Nick Bowman

Police watchdog to investigate photos of SPD vehicles adorned with Gadsden flags

The Office of Police Accountability is opening an investigation into photos circulated on social media of SPD vehicles adorned with Gadsden flags. 
12 hours ago
religious accommodation...
Nick Bowman

Washington State Patrol terminates 127 employees over vaccine mandate

Washington State Patrol has terminated 127 employees in the wake of the newly-implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandate that took effect on Monday. 
12 hours ago
Nicole Jennings

More staff in hospitals reporting vaccination, but some losses still likely

Reports of vaccination are growing among staff of the state's hospitals, but there will likely still be cuts to services caused by staffing shortages.
2 days ago
school, vaccine...
Stephanie Klein

Seattle school district reports 99% COVID vaccine compliance

Seattle's school district says the "overwhelming majority" of its staff has shown proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
King County health officer: Fully vaccinated should consider masking up in some settings