What the new CDC guidance means for Mesa County

Mesa County Public Health continues to encourage getting vaccinated
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 8:57 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released updated guidance regarding masks and social distancing. According to the agency, fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks or socially-distance in any setting, including indoors, in most situations.

Mesa County Public Health stressed that the new guidance only applies to those who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. According to the department, those who are not fully vaccinated should uphold measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

MCPH Executive Director Jeff Kuhr, Ph.D., shared his take on the thinking behind this updated guidance.

“Before, you know, the guidance was that if you’re vaccinated you can still transmit, but that seems to have gone away with this, this latest set of guidelines from the CDC. So I think it’s encouraging; I think it shows that there’s more and more confidence in the vaccine.”

However, only 37 percent of Mesa County is fully vaccinated. Those who are not vaccinated, according to the county health department, are still likely to transmit the virus and should maintain mask-wearing and social distancing. The health department says directives are aimed at stopping virus transmission. One Grand Junction resident shared his optimism regarding the news.

According to Darren Turetzky,“My reaction today from the CDC news is that it’s great. It’s great that people are being encouraged to... I guess, be emboldened to return to what they used to know, was how to be safe and how to be healthy.”

Some may be hesitant to take the mask off after growing accustomed to wearing one for over a year. According to MCPH, those people don’t have to be worried about getting or spreading COVID-19.

Kuhr explained that “If I’m vaccinated and I’m not wearing a mask and I’m not distancing, the risk for me to transmit that disease is, the CDC is basically saying that it’s not, not there... [T]he chance for me to contract the disease is, is non-existent. So, you know, yeah, if you’re vaccinated, I think you should feel good about that. You should go out in the community and do your thing.”

The county health department also stressed the continued importance of vaccinations amid high risk in the area for contracting COVID-19, as well as growing case numbers and hospitalizations.

MCPH also says they want to see the county’s vaccination rates get higher, because more vaccinations equals fewer case numbers. Regardless of vaccination status, masks will be mandatory on airplanes, at health centers, and at businesses which require them.

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