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Health department recommends all Marion County residents wear masks indoors

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Posted at 4:24 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 20:09:31-04

INDIANAPOLIS — All Marion County residents, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, are encouraged to wear masks in indoor public spaces, according to the Marion County Public Health Department.

The recommendation from the public health department comes after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance Tuesday recommending people who are fully vaccinated wear masks inside in areas of substantial or high transmission.

According to data from the CDC, Marion County has a substantial community transmission level.

Areas with substantial community transmission level means there's been 50-100 cases per 100,000 over a 7-day period, according to the CDC. An area with high transmission means the area has seen more than 100 cases per 100,000 over a 7-day period.

This recommendation for Marion County residents is especially important for those who are or live with someone who is at higher risk for complications for COVID-19, according to the health department.

"Vaccination remains our most powerful tool against COVID-19, and masks provide an extra layer of protection," a statement from the health department read. "The Health Department continues to urge all eligible residents ages 12 and up to walk-in to a nearby COVID-19 vaccine clinic and get vaccinated today. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization and lessen the risk of death from COVID by nearly 100-fold. In fact, from January through mid-July, only 1.5% of those hospitalized with COVID in Marion County were fully vaccinated."

Those who are vaccinated should consider the following questions when deciding to wear a mask, according to the health department. If the answer is yes to at least three questions, mask usage is recommended.

  • Are there potentially unvaccinated people this space?
  • Is this an indoor space?
  • Am I or those who I live with at higher risk for complications from COVID-19?
  • Is the current case rate in Marion County at an orange or red level, according to the CDC?

The map below from the CDC shows community transmission rates for Indiana counties from July 19-25.

cdc map.png

Masks are optional for students at Perry Township Schools when they returned to the classroom Monday. They are still required on school buses due to a federal mandate.

On Tuesday, Keesha Hughes, media relations for the district, said the board of education, administrators and nursing staff are continuing to monitor positivity rates in each school.

"If rates increase, the district reserves the right to implement a mask requirement," she said in an email. "We recognize that this will be an evolving situation. At any time, if the data inside our schools indicates that cases inside our classrooms are going up, we are prepared to pivot."

The Indiana State Department of Health says it will review the CDC's new guidance once it becomes available.

On Tuesday, the Indiana State Department of Public Health reported 15 COVID-19 deaths and 1,085 positive cases. It's the first time Indiana saw more than 1,000 cases since June 2.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the state, you can call 211 or visit ourshot.in.gov.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.