The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its recommended indicators for monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on communities, changing from community transmission to COVID-19 Community Levels – Low, Medium, or High.
Dodge County is now considered to be at a “low” COVID-19 community level. Community levels will replace community transmission level, and this change will be reflected on the Dodge County COVID-19 snapshot, Human Services and Health Department Director Becky Bell wrote in a March 1 press release. As a community, masks are not recommended in low or medium COVID-19 community levels.
“When a community has reached a high COVID-19 community level, masks are recommended for indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status, such as schools, businesses and other community settings,” Bell wrote. “Those who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease are encouraged to talk with their health care provider about COVID-19 prevention strategies like masking and testing.”
The CDC will use COVID-19 community levels to inform the implementation of prevention strategies in U.S. communities.COVID-19 community levels are determined based on three key metrics. The first is new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 residents in the previous seven days. The second is the average percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in the previous seven days. The last one is the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the previous seven days.
However, this new guidance does not change quarantine guidance upon exposure or on a positive test. Also, the new community levels do not apply to hospitals and nursing homes.
“Healthcare settings should continue to use community transmission rates and continue to follow the CDC’s infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare guidance,” Bell wrote. “At all levels, people can wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by personal level of risk. People with symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.”