Missouri has been identified as a high-risk area of the country and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now urging that vaccinated people wear masks indoors.

As the pandemic evolves, the Tuesday afternoon announcement marks a change of course from the CDC’s statement in May that vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask indoors under most circumstances.

The CDC also recommends wearing masks inside schools for teachers, staff, students and visitors regardless of vaccination status.

Sara Humm, public information specialist for the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services department, said that no comment on the new federal recommendations would be made until officials have time to review them.

The city’s most recent public health advisory recommends that residents wear a mask while visiting indoor public places, no matter your vaccination status.

The city’s advisory, released on July 7, also recommends that residents:

  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible. Parents are encouraged to take their children aged 12 or older to get vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 12 and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for people 18 and older. Parental consent forms are required for anyone under the age of 18.
  • Stay home when you are sick. Get tested if you have symptoms, even if you think you only have a cold or allergies.
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet when around people who may not be fully vaccinated. While people aged 12 and older are eligible for vaccination, that doesn’t mean everyone is. While in large groups or at events, don’t assume everyone around you is vaccinated.
  • Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Talk to your friends and family about the importance of getting the vaccine. For parents of children younger than 12 who can’t be vaccinated, the best way to protect your child is to make sure the adults around them are vaccinated.

The department issued those guidelines following the increasing number of positivity rates in Boone County and across the state, along with the increased transmissibility of the delta variant.

Last Friday, St. Louis officials announced the reinstatement of a mask mandate for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents. The mandate was implemented Monday in indoor public places and on public transportation, for ages 5 and up. It is also recommended wearing a mask outdoors, including in group settings.

St. Louis was one of the first cities nationwide to reinstate a mask mandate.

This latest mask mandate was not taken lightly by the state. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has sued in an effort to stop the reinstatement in the St. Louis area, amidst the ever rising COVID-19 cases and lowering number of available hospital beds.

Missouri is currently one of the states with the lowest vaccination rates, ranking 39th with 40.89% of the population fully vaccinated as of Tuesday.

Hospitals in Boone County have been been receiving overflow COVID-19 patients from Springfield, one of the biggest COVID hotspots nationwide, the Missourian has reported.

Statewide, Boone County is the highest vaccinated county with 46.7% of the population having completed vaccination according to the Missouri COVID-19 Dashboard.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Reporter, Summer 2021 Studying cross platform journalism Reach me at ecm6zb@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at (573) 882 5720

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