The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their mask guidelines for areas where the virus numbers are growing again, and some Northland counties are affected.

The CDC is recommending everyone, including vaccinated people, wear masks indoors again in Lake, Lake of the Woods, Roseau, and Bayfield counties. They are also saying that all schools should again have staff, teachers and students wear masks while indoors.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told KSTP, "I think the message we want to get across is we’re not done with this virus yet, and so this is really targeted at those counties where we are seeing this very high level of transmission and for which vaccinations are still very low."

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Let's take a look at where each county is at with their vaccination rates:

  • Lake County - 55% fully vaccinated
  • Lake Of The Woods County - 46% fully vaccinated
  • Roseau County - 40% fully vaccinated
  • Bayfield County - 70% fully vaccinated

As of July 27th, Minnesota has a statewide vaccination rate of 53%, Wisconsin is sitting at 51%, with over 6 million people in the two states being fully vaccinated. Minnesota ranks 18th in the country and Wisconsin is 23. The state with the highest percentage is Vermont with 67%, and the lowest is Alabama and Mississippi with around 34%.

The CDC is saying that new data about the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is driving the new recommendations. The date suggests the delta variant can spread unlike any other variant we've seen yet. The good news is that all the currently approved vaccines work against the delta strain, and doctors are saying most of the cases they are seeing at hospitals is with the unvaccinated population.

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