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Rock Co. health officials recommend wearing masks indoors

Regardless of vaccination status, health officials are urging people to mask-up inside.
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 12:01 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2021 at 7:21 PM CDT
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ROCK COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - Regardless of vaccination status, the Rock County Public Health Dept. now recommends that everyone wear a mask while inside public spaces.

Rock County moved from the ‘moderate’ into the ‘substantial’ category for COVID-19 transmission rates Thursday based on the CDC Map. Case numbers have been steadily increasing over the past month in Rock County and state-wide.

“We felt like it was the right time to move back to mask wearing,” said Katrina Harwood, Rock County Health Officer. “Primarily, we want to control the number of people who are seeking care in the hospital for a severe COVID illness.”

Harwood says reported cases of the Delta variant in Rock County are also a reason for bringing back mask recommendations.

“It’s circulating more in the community than we know at this point,” said Harwood. “It’s associated and linked to the number of cases we’ve seen because it is thought to be more transmissible and contagious.”

MASKS RECOMMENDED: New recommendations from the Rock County Health Dept for people to wear their masks indoors at public spaces regardless of vaccination status. Hear from health officials on NBC15 at 5 & 6.

Posted by Gabriella Rusk NBC15 on Friday, July 30, 2021

Rock County epidemiologist Nick Zupan is keeping a close eye on the latest COVID-19 data.

“Based on the number of new cases that we’re seeing, this really puts us in a higher transmission category for the disease,” said Zupan. “That’s really what we want to avoid and we want to see the case activity remain low.”

He says the CDC analyzes the number of cases over 100,000 people in the last seven days to determine which category a county will fall into.

“The idea right now is that we want to be proactive and we want to prevent the spread of the delta variant,” said Zupan. “So that’s kind of why the recommendations are changing and also based off some of the data that we’re seeing.”

However, officials say the vaccination rate in Rock County is promising. Currently, about 51 percent of the county’s population has received at least one dose with 48% fully vaccinated.

“We have been seeing an increase in the number of people getting vaccinated,” said Harwood. “We’re sitting just under the state average which is pretty good.”

For those looking to make a vaccine appointment in Rock County, click HERE.

Rock County health officials say they will monitor COVID-19 activity on a weekly basis to decide whether or not to adjust mask recommendations.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its revised guidelines for indoor gatherings and schools. Health officials advised everyone ages two and older, in counties where coronavirus transmission was considered ‘substantial’ or ‘high,’ should wear a mask, even if they are fully vaccinated.

CDC COVID Map
CDC COVID Map(CDC)

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