The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Officials: Masks encouraged, but not required in light of recent CDC guidance

- By Carly Stone cstone@oneidadisp­

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

 ??  ?? Madison County logo as seen outside of the highway garage in Eaton, NY
Madison County logo as seen outside of the highway garage in Eaton, NY

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