North Texas Daily

New CDC guidelines reinstate recommendations that North Texans wear a mask indoors

New CDC guidelines reinstate recommendations that North Texans wear a mask indoors

New CDC guidelines reinstate recommendations that North Texans wear a mask indoors
July 28
20:47 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance on Tuesday regarding face coverings as the country experiences a rise in COVID-19 cases connected to the delta variant. 

The health agency now recommends fully vaccinated individuals wear face masks indoors in areas experiencing substantial or high transmission rates. North Texas falls into this category, with Denton, Tarrant and Dallas Counties labeled as areas with high community transmission rates. Collin County is labeled one degree lower at substantial. 

Substantial transmission is categorized by the CDC as 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. High transmission means an area has seen more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. 

As of July 28, 2,043 counties in the United States — or 63.45 percent — fall under substantial or high levels of community transmission. Texas as a whole is labeled as high by the CDC, with 213 out of 254 counties — or 83.86 percent — experiencing substantial or high levels of COVID-19 transmission. 

Businesses and schools are urged by the CDC to regularly assess the need for COVID-19 prevention strategies. Under Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-36, the university is prohibited by law to implement a campus-wide mask mandate. Failure to comply with the order by any local government entity, including a county, city, school district, university and public health authority, will result in a fine up to $1,000.

On May 19, alongside announcing the removal of the campus mask mandate, the university said it will move away from the six-foot social distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC. 

 Individuals on campus who have not yet been vaccinated are specifically encouraged to maintain a greater distance from others and continue wearing a face mask, according to the university Q&A page released in response to the executive order. All faculty, staff and students are “strongly urged” by the university to get vaccinated.

Between July 19 and July 23, COVID-19 cases across the nation increased 300 percent, with the rise driven by the delta variant, which is more than two times as transmissible as the COVID-19 strains experienced at the beginning of the pandemic. Data shows that the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines offer high levels of protection against the delta and other COVID-19 variants currently circulating, according to the CDC.  

The federal agency recommends all unvaccinated individuals wear face masks while indoors. Texans who want to get vaccinated can find available doses through the Department of State Health Service’s website. University students and staff can get vaccinated at the on-campus vaccine clinic located in Chestnut Hall.

Featured Image: UNT students walk to and from Kerr Hall on Oct. 20, 2020. Residents on entire floors are being tested due a recent COVID-19 outbreak. Image by Ricardo Vazquez Garcia

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Ileana Garnand

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