The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
Officials: Masks encouraged, but not required in light of recent CDC guidance
Madison County, N.Y. — The Madison County Board of Health and Madison County Department of Health issued a statement in response to the CDC mask guidance that was recently updated.
The CDC is recommending in areas of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19 that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
“The Madison County Board of Health and Department of Health reviewed the CDC’S recent recommendations in light of the status of COVID-19 in our communities. Given that the virus transmission level in Madison County and our region is moderate and not at the high or substantial levels noted by the
CDC, the CDC recommendations do not apply and we are therefore not mandating masks to be worn by fully vaccinated individuals,” the statement read.
However, wearing a mask, regardless of vaccination status, provides additional protection, and so county officials are encouraging residents to do so, though not requiring it.
County officials are pleased with their vaccination numbers so far, citing 73.5% of the population 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 63% of Madison County adults are fully vaccinated. Approximately 50% of youth ages 12 -18 years old have had at least one vaccine, and both the adult and youth vaccination rates continue to improve each week, county officials said in their statement.
“The good news is that if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe COVID-19, hospitalization, and death,” the statement continued. “The vaccines are most effective two weeks after the second dose (or first dose of J&J), and are effective against severe disease, hospitalization, and death in realworld studies.”
Not getting vaccinated or not completing the series puts those people at risk of illness. An overwhelming majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths across the country are among unvaccinated individuals, officials noted.
Getting vaccinated also helps reduce the transmission of the virus in the community, which is the basis for CDC’S masking recommendations. So getting vaccinated will reduce the need to wear a mask, officials say.
“Do it for yourself, your family, and for your community. And please do it to protect your young children who, right now, can’t get vaccinated themselves. Getting vaccinated is still the best protection we have against this virus.” The Madison County Health Department and many other providers in the community offer the COVID-19 vaccine. To find a vaccination site in Madison County, click here.
Getting the correct information about COVID-19 is important. County officials strongly recommend that residents speak with their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated and what’s best for them. Those without a provider can call the Madison County Health Department at (315) 366-2770 and ask to speak with one of the public health nurses.
The reality is that COVID-19 persists in this community, and unfortunately, the cases are going up, officials say. Approximately 27% (19,400+) residents are not yet vaccinated, according to the county’s statement. “We still have work to do,” the county says.
The county asks that unvac