Delaware County is now considered a county with “substantial transmission,” which means that health authorities recommend all people wear a mask in public indoor settings regardless of whether they are vaccinated.

The Pennsylvania Health Alert Network issued the recommendation after updated COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based on new evidence of the delta variant currently circulating in the United States.

COVID-19 cases have increased sharply across Delaware County, the county said in a statement on Thursday. The seven-day average has increased from six to 45 — a 360% increase in new cases in the previous two weeks, the county said in a statement.

The new CDC guidance includes:

All people should wear a mask if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or is not fully vaccinated.

All people who have been exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be tested three to five days after exposure, and should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.

All teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools should wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

The CDC listed Delaware County and neighboring counties as “communities of substantial transmission” for the coronavirus on Aug. 2 as the number of new cases climbed with the more contagious delta variant. The delta variant is highly contagious and people who are fully immunized can still contract and spread the virus.

“COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, and respiratory viruses naturally peak in the fall. Therefore, residents are urged to get vaccinated if they haven’t already to prepare for an even larger spike in the fall,” the county’s statement said.

In Delaware County, 58% of the residents have received at least one vaccine, and 89% of residents age 65 and over are fully immunized. The county’s goal is to reach at least 70% of the total population.

“The COVID-19 vaccine and masking are our strongest defense against the deadly virus,” the county statement said. “The county is following CDC and Pennsylvania Health Alert Network guidance in county-operated buildings and urging residents and businesses to follow the public health guidance as well.”

For more information:

Information on county run and non-county run vaccine clinics across Delaware County can be found here at www.delcopa.gov/covid/vaccination.html.

More information on the COVID-19 vaccine is at www.factsoverfiction.info.

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