CDC recommends people in these Washington counties wear masks indoors
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a recommendation this week asking that all Washington residents once again wear masks in indoor public settings. That’s based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging people to mask up in areas where COVID-19 transmission is surging.
The CDC defines the regions most at risk in a county-by-county map published to its website, breaking them down into four categories based on seven-day case rates: high, substantial, moderate, and low. While Gov. Inslee’s recommendation covers the whole state, the CDC’s guidance applies to counties where transmission levels are high or substantial.
In Washington, 34 counties are in one of the two categories where masks are recommended by the CDC, based on seven-day case rates between Wednesday, July 21, and Tuesday, July 27.
Those counties are: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, and Yakima.
These five counties are in either the moderate or low category: Garfield, Okanogan, San Juan, Skamania, and Whitman.
Local health officials believe that rising case rates are being driven by the increasing prevalence of the Delta variant, which is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 statewide. Given that, the Department of Health continues to urge people to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.
According to data released on Wednesday, an estimated 94% of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations between February and June of this year have been among those who have yet to be fully vaccinated (limited to those age 12 and up).
As of early this week, 68.6% of Washingtonians ages 16 and up and have received at least one vaccine dose, while 57% of the state’s total population has been fully vaccinated. While some counties boast vaccination rates above 60%, others like Stevens and Garfield counties sit below 30%.