There is a “substantial spread” of COVID-19 in Hamilton County, health officials announced Friday.
Hamilton County health officials said the Centers for Disease Control gives a spread the "substantial" label when an area sees more than 50 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days. Hamilton County is at 54.07 cases per 100,000.
Cases in the county dipped significantly in March during the vaccine rollout and continued to steadily decline up until the beginning of July.
With the new designation comes updated recommendations from the CDC:
- Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask in public indoor settings.
- Fully-vaccinated people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
- Teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools should wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
There is currently no mask ordinance in Hamilton County, but Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman is urging people to follow the CDC's recommendations.
“The delta variant has altered the game plan for COVID-19,” Kesterman said. “We know masking works and is yet another layer, in addition to vaccination, to protect all of us from another surge of the virus.”
Kesterman said the problem is in the hands of the unvaccinated, urging people to get the shot.
“The vaccines are safe, effective and readily available,” he said. “This is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated. If you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, please talk to a trusted health professional for the best information.”