9 Massachusetts counties subject to CDC masking guidance, including Bristol County


BOSTON (WPRI) — Guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people who live or work in areas with at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week wear a mask indoors.

When officials made the announcement, that already included 60% of U.S. counties.

The guidance now applies to nine Massachusetts counties, which is up from five counties last week.

According to CDC data released Monday, Barnstable and Nantucket counties are in the “high” transmission rate category, with Bristol, Essex, Hampden, Middlesex, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties in the “substantial” zone.

Businesses are reacting to the CDC’s recommendation, with some stores now posting signs to show proof of vaccination to enter. The CDC’s updated guidance was in part based on the hundreds of vaccinated people testing positive after spending time in Provincetown last month.

Guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health differs slightly.

The guidance only recommends that “a fully vaccinated person wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home) if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is an unvaccinated adult.”

Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, head of the infectious diseases department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital told WBZ he’s advising anyone in a “high” risk community to play it safe. 

“If you’re going into a large setting with many people indoors, and you don’t know who is and who isn’t vaccinated, I would definitely mask,” Kuritzkes said. 

Monday’s data from the R.I. Department of Health shows Rhode Island now has what the CDC considers to be “high” transmission of the virus.

A total of 400 new cases were reported from the weekend, though hospitalizations were on the decline, and no new deaths were reported.

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