Where in Wisconsin the new CDC mask recommendations apply
MADISON Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention new guidance recommends people should mask up indoors in areas where COVID-19 cases are reaching concerning levels.
The CDC guidance applies to counties that have 50 or more cases per 100,000 people, which is classified as "substantial" transmission rate and areas with 100 or more cases per 100,000 people considered to have "high" rates.
As of Thursday, that would apply to 13 counties in Wisconsin including Adams, Bayfield, Buffalo, Dodge, Forest, Iron, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Pepin, Racine, Sawyer, Shawano, and Waukesha.
The City of Racine falls in the "substantial category" which prompted officials to issue a mask requirement in all city owned buildings, regardless of vaccination status, starting on Thursday, July 29th. It comes after the city recorded a 900% increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks.
"We’re sincerely hoping this increase in the number of positive cases that individuals will get vaccinated because that really is the best tool, the only tool we have available to us that has the best results," said Dottie-Kay Bowersox, the City of Racine Public Health Administrator.
Milwaukee County is just highly recommending people wear masks indoors, but are not requiring people to do so.
While the CDC mask recommendation is a big change from what it used to be, state health officials say if people ignore the recommendations infections could continue to trend in the wrong direction.
"Increased spread also increases the danger of new variants developing and those variants can be even more dangerous than the one we have now,'' said Julie Willems Van Dijk, Deputy Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Health officials are strongly encouraging those who are eligible to get the vaccine to get one. From January 1st through July 22nd, more than 98% of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin were among people who were not fully vaccinated, according to DHS.
"Please, please, get the vaccine if you are eligible to protect yourself, your family, and your community," said Van Dijk.