Thursday, May 12, 2022


Map shows the COVID-19 risk level, mask guidance in your area

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new map out that shows people what the level of COVID-19 is like in the communities that they live in.

The new map was launched Feb. 24 in conjunction with the agency's new recommendations for masking. The recommendations handed out by the CDC gave way for most Americans to not have to wear a mask due to the levels of their communities.

What are the CDC's COVID-19 community levels?

The CDC defines COVID-19 community levels as a measure of the impact of COVID-19 on your health and the health care systems in your neighborhood.

"With current high levels of vaccination and high levels of population immunity from both vaccination and infections, the risk of medically significant disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 is greatly reduced for most people," the CDC states on their website. "COVID-19 Community Levels can help communities and individuals make decisions based on their local context and their unique needs."

The agency is still tracking the number of cases in a community, but the community level indicator places a bigger focus on the number of hospitalizations. New hospital admissions of people with COVID-19 per capita and the percent of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients are now key indicators.

"Health officials and individuals should consider current information about COVID-19 hospitalizations in the community, as well as the potential for strain on the local health system and COVID-19 cases in the community when making decisions about community prevention strategies and individual behaviors," according to the CDC's website.

Do I need to wear a mask?

With the CDC now tracking community levels instead of community transmission, mask recommendations are connected to the level of COVID-19 risk in your area.

If you live in an area that is measured at a low-risk level, the CDC says mask-wearing is up to you and whether you'd like to wear a mask as a personal choice.

If you live in an area that is measured at a medium-risk level, the CDC says people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness should wear masks indoors when in public. People who live with or have social contact with immunocompromised individuals should also wear a mask when indoors with them.

People living in an area that is at a high-risk level are recommended to wear a mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk.

What should I do if I live in a high-risk level area?

You looked at the map above, searched for your neighborhood, and found out you live in a high-risk area. Now what?

The CDC recommends you wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. Those who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease should consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public and have a plan for rapid testing if needed. You should talk to your health care provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP and monoclonal antibodies.

In addition, the CDC says to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

Source: KCRA3