DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado leaders and medical experts reacted to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday recommending fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19. Several counties in the state currently have cases at those levels, but the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says it is still reviewing the new guidelines.
“If the trend obviously continues this way we all know where we’re going in order to protect people,” said Dr. James Neid, the director of infection prevention at The Medical Center of Aurora. “I think it’s appropriate to intervene, you know, earlier rather than later.”
CDPHE explained the vaccine remains the best form of protection from COVID-19, and it is easily accessible to residents across the state. The CDC went on to say fully vaccinated people may want to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk of severe disease.
That guidance was also extended for people who may live with someone facing those same circumstances.
“Our goal is to save their lives and our responsibility, and the responsibility of public health officials is to continue to provide updated guidance if it warrants from an evolving virus,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said when asked about the change in recommendations for masks.READ MORE: Some Jeffco Parents Petitioning School District To Mandate Masks In Alignment With CDC
The CDC explained that new evidence on the Delta variant including that fully vaccinated people can spread the mutation of the disease informed the new guidance. Gov. Jared Polis maintained that increasing vaccination rates in the state is the best way to help protect all Coloradans from the virus.
“The vaccine is where we need to go, where we are,” he said.
Additional recommendations released by the CDC included testing three to five days after a known exposure to someone who may have COVID-19 for fully vaccinated people. Those individuals should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they get a negative test.
“The vaccine is highly effective, not enough people have taken it and the variants are proving to be challenging,” Neid added.MORE NEWS: CDC COVID Tracker by County
The CDC said masking should be universal indoors for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools regardless of vaccine status.