Indoor masks suggested after ‘substantial transmission’ of COVID-19 in Allen County


LIMA — Coronavirus activity in Allen County has once again surpassed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s threshold for substantial transmission.

In the seven days prior to Aug. 1, Allen County Public Health reported 66 new coronavirus cases. That brings Allen County’s per-capita case rate to 64.48 new cases per 100,000 residents in a seven-day period, while Allen County’s test positivity rate has reached 11%.

The CDC defines substantial transmission as a community with at least 50 cases per 100,000 people in a seven-day period.

The highly contagious delta variant is likely to blame, Allen County Public Health reported Tuesday.

Allen County Public Health Commissioner Kathy Luhn said that because the highly contagious variant behaves differently, the strategies to limit the spread of coronavirus have to change too.

That means fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals alike should wear masks in public indoor settings and get tested for COVID-19 should they develop symptoms or come into contact with someone who recently tested positive for the virus, she said.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate for 10 days as well, regardless of vaccination status.

Outdoor activities are still considered lower risk for virus transmission, so masks are generally not necessary in these circumstances unless the space is crowded.

The CDC last week revised its mask guidance for fully vaccinated individuals after new evidence suggests vaccinated people may still spread coronavirus if they become infected, although breakthrough infections tend to be mild and are less likely to transmit the virus than those who remain unvaccinated.

Only 36% of Allen County residents have started or finished their vaccines, which puts the community at risk for continued outbreaks and a possible increase in COVID-related hospitalizations.

Allen County Public Health urges masks for vaccinated, unvaccinated indoors