SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is rolling out a new map and a new message: Residents living in a green or yellow county do not need to wear masks indoors.
It leaves about 37% of the country under a mask recommendation.
“We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when our levels are low, but have the ability to reach for them again should things get worse in the future,” said Dr. Rachelle Wolensky, CDC director.
The CDC has changed the way it assesses COVID-19 risk in communities. It now uses hospitalizations, bed availability and new cases to classify counties into orange for high, yellow for medium and green for low.
“We wanted to make sure we were focusing on severe disease. We want to prevent hospitalizations; we want to prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed,” Wolensky said.
In areas with medium and low transmission, most people are no longer recommended to cover their face indoors. Those with underlying health conditions, people with COVID symptoms, or people who have been exposed should still wear a mask.
The change in guidance does not apply to transits like airports and railways. Other than that, there are not many exceptions.
“Today, we are also updating our recommendations for schools,” said Dr. Greta Massetti, with the COVID-19 Response Incident Management Team. “With this update, the CDC will now only recommend universal masking in communities at the high level.”
The announcement has left Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration with a lot of attention since universal school masking remains in place. The new CDC map shows about half of California counties in green and yellow, including Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin and Placer counties.
According to the California Department of Public Health, it will have an update to masking policy, including schools, on Feb. 28.
The CDC said people who have concerns about COVID-19 transmission can continue to wear masks regardless of their county level.
A breakdown of COVID-19 community levels for counties in our area can be found below:
- Sacramento: Medium
- Amador: Medium
- Butte: High
- Calaveras: Medium
- Colusa: Medium
- El Dorado: Medium
- Nevada: High
- Placer: Medium
- Plumas: Medium
- San Joaquin: Medium
- Sierra: High
- Solano: High
- Stanislaus: High
- Sutter: High
- Tuolumne: High
- Yolo: Medium
- Yuba: High