Olmsted County recommends outdoor mask use in crowded settings

(ABC 6 News) – Olmsted County is now encouraging all individuals to wear masks while outdoors where many people may be present.

Olmsted County health officials are following recently updated masking guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Olmsted County continues to have high rates of COVID-19 transmission. This means the county has had either 100 total new cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days or a 10 percent positive test rate over the past seven days.

“Olmsted County Public Health Services has consistently followed the CDC and MDH guidance on COVID-19. We encourage all residents in the county to use masks in crowded outdoor settings whether you’re vaccinated or not,” said OCPHS Director Graham Briggs.

In locations with substantial and high transmission rate areas, CDC and MDH recommend wearing a mask:

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and aged two or older in indoor public places.
  • In crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who have not gotten fully vaccinated.
  • If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system. Individuals should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask unless their healthcare provider advises otherwise.
  • If you are fully vaccinated to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent spreading it to others.

“The CDC and MDH guidance offer event holders, businesses, and organizations with the proper steps to take to protect their patrons from COVID-19 while transmission in our community is high,” said Briggs.

The vaccine is still highly effective against COVID-19 and dramatically reduces hospitalizations and death. Vaccines are widely available through medical providers and pharmacies. Individuals 12 and older can find vaccine availability at https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp.

Other ways to reduce the spread of the virus include staying home when sick and getting tested when presenting symptoms or coming into exposure.