New CDC Masking Guidelines

6/10/2021

The new CDC guidelines caught most states and public health organizations by surprise. What do the guidelines mean for local businesses, tourists and everyday activities? By Hannah Robertson. Sponsored by Tile and Light Art and Serious Texas BBQ

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As of May 13th, the centers for disease control and prevention announced that masks were no longer necessary, for people who've been vaccinated. Setting up a wave of confusion across the country as states and local health departments juggled with existing mask restrictions and the new federal guidelines. Locally, what does the dropping of the federal mask mandate mean for the San Juan Basin area? You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Tile and Light Art of Durango and Serious Texas Bar-B-Q. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. The new CDC guidelines created quite a bit of confusion across the country as local and state jurisdictions grappled with existing regulations that in many cases were far more restrictive. Many businesses immediately took down signs that ask customers to wear masks, while others waited for guidance from local health organizations. Colorado had an additional concern about the new mask guidelines, because the case rate statewide continued to rise.

So at the time that the CDC made this recommendation, unfortunately, Colorado had the highest rate of infection of any state in the country. So when this recommendation came out, San Juan Basin in Public Health said, "We want people to understand "that vaccines work and work well. "And at this moment in time, Colorado is an outlier "because our case rate is so high." So we issued an advisory, so that our community members would know that we still have strong recommendations in place for people to protect themselves with a mask, in addition to vaccine until we bring our case rate down.

San Juan Basin in Public Health new guidelines reflect level blue regulations, but now they're no longer a legal mandate.

So, the guidelines are that the advisory is saying, we still have a relatively high rate of infection here. Our rate here locally has come down. We've seen Colorado come down over the last week, but because we still have a higher rate than the rest of the country, we're advising people to keep your masks on in indoor settings. Indoor settings are much riskier than outdoor settings. We are much more likely to catch COVID in an indoor setting

While wearing a mask indoors and moving activities outside as much as possible are a couple of ways to help stop the spread of the virus, both federal and local governments continue to encourage individuals to get their COVID-19 vaccines. Local and state organizations are offering incentives for people to get the vaccine. In the state of Colorado everyone who gets a vaccine will automatically be entered into a lottery to win $1 million.

Now, to me, I feel like I've already won a million dollars because I can take my mask off. I can see people, I can hug people, and I'm making plans to go on a vacation. But for others, actually, winning that million dollars is probably a huge motivator, so let's all get this done. We're looking forward to seeing everybody's smiling faces also. But the way that we're going to get there, is get vaccinated. So people are making travel plans, we're seeing that lots of places are requiring that you're vaccinated before you travel there. And we also know that vaccine is the pathway to get us back to where we want to be.

For more information about the new guidelines, vaccine information and COVID data, visit sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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