The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) has issued a new recommendation that is consistent with the recently updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, urging everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to wear a mask while indoors to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent hospitalization and death.
Why Masks Indoors Now?
The decision to recommend masks indoors is prompted by local health authorities seeing a substantial rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations likely attributed to the Delta variant that’s been reported across the country. The guidance applies to employers, retailers, restaurants/bars, fitness/recreational centers, libraries, governmental entities, healthcare facilities, and other public venues.
Guidance for Schools
DCHD’s latest recommendation comes just weeks before the start of classes for students this fall. As such, health authorities have updated their COVID-19 Prevention Strategies for area schools.
Health authorities are recommending masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors in K-12 schools to help ensure a safe return to the classroom. Ultimately, any rules and regulations put in place will be up to local school districts to decide.
“The increase in activity we’re experiencing is concerning given the high efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and our relatively high rates of vaccination in DuPage County. We continue to urge our residents who are 12 years and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible to protect themselves and others against COVID-19 and the more dangerous Delta variant,” DCHD Executive Director Karen Ayala said in a press release. “COVID-19 vaccine providers are now widely available and likely within minutes of your home or workplace. Please visit wwww.vaccines.gov to find a location near you.”
Health Precautions Advisory
Anyone who is unvaccinated is advised to take precautions by practicing self-isolation, getting tested and cooperating with contact tracers. Health authorities recommend that close contacts self-quarantine unless they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have developed the infection within the past three months of exposure.
DCHD would like to remind the public that vaccines are the best form of protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
COVID-19 Vaccination Data
The latest CDC COVID-19 vaccination data shows that more than 82% of those age 12 and older in DuPage County have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 66% are fully vaccinated. The numbers go on to show that 99% of residents age 65 years and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 82% are fully vaccinated.
Health authorities want to remind residents that vaccines remain an option for anyone interested in DuPage County. The community vaccination clinic in Wheaton, operated by DCHD, is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Additionally, the DHCD Care Van mobile clinic continues to provide access to free vaccines to communities in DuPage County. For details about the week’s schedule, visit the county health department’s website.
Anyone who is unable to leave their residence or is homebound and is unable to commute to a vaccination clinic is advised to consider participating in the county health department’s homebound vaccination program. Registration can be completed by visiting the county health department’s website or calling 630-682-7400 for assistance.
Should anyone have questions or need more information, call 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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