Coronavirus rates exceed CDC mask threshold in four local counties – .

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Coronavirus rates exceed CDC mask threshold in four local counties – .



Four counties in the capital region now have coronavirus transmission rates considered high enough for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend that everyone wear an indoor mask.

Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties all had between 50 and 99 new cases of the virus per 100,000 population on Friday, according to CDC data. This rate is considered “important” by the agency, which released new guidelines on Tuesday recommending that vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks indoors when in areas considered to have “significant levels”. ”Or“ high ”community transmission.

The announcement took many by surprise after a spring and early summer of declining cases and growing optimism that the pandemic could be behind us. The arrival of the highly contagious delta variant in the United States, however, changed the equation – causing cases to increase in many parts of the country and hitting unvaccinated communities particularly hard.

Greene County was the first local county to reach the threshold earlier this week, but officials said they would not issue a mask order, calling such a step backward in the recovery from the pandemic. While the new federal masking guidelines are only a recommendation, they do give state and local governments the flexibility to issue their own masking warrants if necessary. As of Friday, no local county had chosen to take this step.

In Saratoga County, the board of supervisors announced Thursday that it has formed a task force to review local data and monitor the evolution of CDC and state health ministry guidelines in response to the ‘increase in local infections.

The Saratoga Health Planning and Preparedness Task Force (SHARP) – which includes county officials, schools and businesses – would make recommendations to the local community, the supervisory board chairman said, Todd Kusnierz.

“The recent increase in infection rates in Saratoga County is cause for concern, and with the formation of the SHARP task force, our county leaders will be able to quickly analyze any new guidelines issued by the Department of Health. New York State and the CDC and to make recommendations that make sense to our community, ”he said.

County Supervisor Jonathan Schopf of Clifton Park said the task force will focus on individual choice over government mandates when issuing recommendations, citing the lingering effects of the previous closure on communities local.

“Saratoga County takes the health and well-being of its residents and employees seriously,” he said. “At the same time, the right to individual thought, decision-making and ultimate choice cannot be overcome by a government mandate. Over the next few months, we are working to keep our schools and businesses open and continue to offer the vaccine free to residents across the county while providing information and statistics to enable our residents and businesses to take the best decisions for their own circumstances.

In addition to Kusnierz and Schopf, members of the working group will include Malta City Supervisor Darren O’Connor, who chairs the Board’s Health and Social Services Committee; County Administrator Steve Bulger; Dr Dan Kuhles, commissioner of the county public health department; Scot Chamberlain, County Human Resources Director; Pete Bardunias, Senior Vice President of Community Advancement at the Capital Region Chamber; and Anita Murphy, BOCES District Superintendent in the Capital Region.

Like many other places in the region, many businesses in Saratoga County have given up on the fight in an attempt to impose masks on members of the public. Many have hung signs on their doors and windows asking unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors.

The Saratoga Springs Public Library, meanwhile, has announced it will revert to requiring all members of the public – including staff, volunteers and visitors – to wear masks in all public and shared spaces at the indoors, regardless of their vaccination status, from Friday.

The CDC released the new mask guidelines in response to a new study that found high rates of coronavirus infection among fully vaccinated people who attended several large public events held in Barnstable County, in Massachusetts, early July. Of the 469 people whose infections were linked to the events, 74% were fully vaccinated, the CDC said. Tests identified the delta variant in 90 percent of samples from 133 patients.

As the news raises concerns about how easily the variant spreads, health officials continue to report that infections in those vaccinated are milder than those who are not vaccinated and that vaccines remain highly effective. in the prevention of hospitalizations and deaths.

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