What will the CDC’s new mask recommendations for vaccinated people mean for NC?

·2 min read

North Carolina state health officials will likely announce new coronavirus mask guidance in the coming days, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest recommendation Tuesday that some COVID-19 vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors, including schools.

The move comes as the country experiences yet another surge in coronavirus cases, in part because of the large percentage of unvaccinated people throughout the country and the circulation of the highly transmissible COVID-19 delta variant.

North Carolina reported for the 16th consecutive day Sunday an increase in hospitalizations, which health officials have attributed to the delta variant.

The CDC’s reversal of its earlier mask guidance and North Carolina public health officials likely adoption of that change could signal a regression in the state and country’s fight to overcome the pandemic and the consequences of such a large chunk of the population being unvaccinated.

Around 69% of adults have received at least one vaccination nationwide, and in North Carolina, just 60% of adults are fully vaccinated.

“Most all of the people getting sick and dying now are unvaccinated,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper spokesperson Ford Porter said Tuesday morning in an emailed statement to The News & Observer. “The Governor and state health officials will review changes to CDC guidance and he strongly encourages schools and businesses to enact important safety precautions and unvaccinated people to wear masks until they get their shots.”

The North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday afternoon, before the CDC’s announcement, that it had not yet received details on the CDC’s recommendations, according to a statement to The News & Observer.

“We will evaluate any changes to CDC guidance when we receive it,” state health department spokesperson Catie Armstrong said.

Armstrong also said the department will likely provide updates — though it did not say about what — later this week. DHHS is also expected to hold a press conference providing updates on the virus later sometime this week.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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