As virus levels continue to rise in New Jersey, masks should be worn indoors in all corners of New Jersey, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest masking guidelines.
All 21 counties now either have “high” or “substantial” rates of coronavirus transmission, meaning masks are recommended for indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status, the CDC says. The updated map is based on virus transmission rates over the past week.
That number has risen substantially in the past eight days. At the start of August, just ten counties had virus levels high enough to warrant masks. Warren County was the last county to see its rates pass the threshold.
The nine counties now considered to have “high” levels of COVID-19 activity are Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Ocean and Salem. All other counties are considered “substantial,” the next step down.
The categories are based on a combination of new cases per 100,000 people and the COVID-19 test positivity rate over the previous seven days.
The masking recommendations were issued earlier this month amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, which has become the predominant strain of the virus. The CDC cited concerns of increased risks of transmission, even among those who are fully vaccinated.
New Jersey reported 1,208 new COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths on Sunday. The seven-day average for new confirmed positive tests increased Sunday to 1,222 cases, up 40% from a week ago and 464% higher than a month ago. That’s the highest seven-day average in more than three months.
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Michael Sol Warren may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.