Jones County Public Health (JCPH) is adopting updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) face covering recommendations to protect against COVID-19 and the Delta variant. The CDC recommends everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with substantial and high transmission. The CDC is also recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Areas of substantial transmission are considered by the CDC to be those with 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. Areas of high transmission are those with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. Within one week, Jones County went from being an area of moderate transmission to an area of high transmission, as defined by the CDC. The community level of transmission can be found on the CDC’s website: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing rapid spread of virus among unvaccinated people,” Jones County Public Health Director Jenna Lovaas said. “Risk remains greater for everyone if we do not reduce the current spread of virus, and vaccinations and face coverings are the way to stop the spread of this disease. Therefore, we join the CDC in recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a face covering indoors in Jones County. We are offering the same advice to our K-12 schools, preschools, and childcare facilities.”

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself and others from being infected with the coronavirus. Based on the data, all three COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. are effective, including against the Delta variant. You can find a vaccine provider by visiting www.vaccines.gov.

According to the CDC, data show the Delta variant is much more contagious than the original strain of the virus. Delta spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another compared to other strains. The Delta variant is causing some vaccine breakthrough infections, but most breakthrough infections are mild, and the vaccines are preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

In addition to vaccination and face coverings, Jones County Public Health urges all residents to avoid crowds, clean your hands frequently with soap and water, stay home when unwell, quarantine if exposed to COVID-19, and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Free at-home test kits can be requested at www.testiowa.com.

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