The Connecticut Department of Public Health "strongly recommends" that anyone over the age of 2 wear a mask in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status, in areas with significant COVID-19 transmission, per the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance released earlier this week.
The announcement comes after the CDC recommended universal masking in indoor spaces for regions that are experiencing "substantial" or "high" transmission levels of COVID-19. Hartford, New Haven and New London counties have reached that threshold, according to the CDC's COVID Data Tracker.
The latest DPH guidance strongly recommends that people who live in, work in, or visit Hartford, New London or New Haven counties follow the CDC guidance to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.
It also encourages residents with underlying medical conditions or who live with high-risk or unvaccinated individuals to consider wearing a mask indoors, including those with young children who are not eligible for the vaccine.
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The CDC guidance is not a mandate and it leaves policy decisions up to the state and local level. At present in Connecticut, an executive order remains in effect that requires those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 wear a face mask in public indoor spaces where they cannot social distance, according to DPH.
State officials continue to urge the public to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Connecticut has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, with about 2.3 million residents having received at least one dose.
As of Thursday, the state was reporting 1,133 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated residents, with 27 deaths reported in breakthrough cases. That amounts to a .06% breakthrough case rate, DPH said, representing 3.2% of COVID-related deaths since February and less than .01% of deaths overall.
"Emerging science indicates that with the Delta variant in circulation, in some cases vaccinated individuals may become infected with and subsequently transmit COVID infection to others. The risk of contracting and transmitting COVID infection is far greater for the unvaccinated, and vaccination remains the safest and most effective way to protect yourself and your community from COVID. The vaccines are readily available at hundreds of locations across Connecticut and everyone who is eligible should consider receiving the vaccine if they have not done so, already," the statement from acting Connecticut DPH Commissioner Deidre Gifford noted.
The state's positivity rate came in at 2.35% Thursday, down from 2.96% the day before. There were 14,401 new tests reported, with 339 new cases. There are 112 people hospitalized with the virus, a net increase of nine from the day before.
The state is reporting COVID-19 related deaths once a week, on Thursday. To date there are 8,293 deaths reported in Connecticut, an increase of seven from last week.