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80% of Kentucky counties affected by new CDC mask guidance

Jefferson County currently has substantial transmission rates and surrounding counties experiencing high rates in the latest data set.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said even vaccinated individuals should return to wearing masks indoors in counties with substantial or high amounts of community transmission of COVID-19.

In Kentucky, that would mean 97 of 120 counties or 80% would be included in the new guidance. 

Substantial transmission means there's been 50-100 cases per 100,000 over a 7-day period and high transmission means an area has seen more than 100 cases per 100,000 over a 7-day period, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

The CDC's online data tracker features a color-coded interactive map that shows different levels of community transmission. On the map, orange indicates substantial community transmission with red meaning high levels of transmission. 

From July 19 to July 25, 29 counties in Kentucky are in the orange level and 67 are in the red level of transmission. Only five counties in the commonwealth rank in the low level of community transmission. 

Jefferson County has a substantial transmission or orange rate in the latest data set. Surrounding counties like Bullitt, Oldham and Shelby are all in the high level. 

In Indiana, 65 of 92 counties fall under the new CDC recommendation. Clark, Harrison and Scott are all in the red level while Floyd is in the orange.

More than 2,000 counties across the country would be affected by the new guidance, which follows recent decisions in Los Angeles and St. Louis to revert to indoor mask mandates amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that have been especially bad in the South.                  

The US is averaging more than 57,000 cases a day and 24,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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