~ from Hennepin County News
Face coverings are required again inside Hennepin County buildings (this policy was reinstated Wednesday, August 4) due to the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading in the community. This applies to all employees, volunteers and visitors ages five and up, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings will be available to those who don’t have one.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta variant spreads about twice as easily as previous strains of COVID-19. Cases have surged nationally, growing from less than 1% of cases nationwide in May to more than 80% of current cases.
The CDC has recommended a return to mask wearing indoors, including those who have been fully vaccinated, in areas of the country where transmission rates are “substantial” (defined at a rate of 50-99 cases per 100,000 over 7 days) or “high” (defined at a rate of 100 or more cases per 100,000 over 7 days). The reason for this change is that vaccinated people may still transmit the virus to others.
According to CDC data, the current seven-day transmission rate in Hennepin County as of July 31 is 65.65 per 100,000. This rate has been trending up since the week of June 28.
In Hennepin County, currently just over 72% of people 12 and up are fully vaccinated (nearly 62% of all residents including kids under 12).
While Hennepin County’s overall vaccination rates are among the best in the state, there are still many residents for whom vaccination is not sufficient to protect their health or not yet possible, such as children under age 12.
Further, significant racial and geographic disparities in vaccination exist, putting some communities at greater risk from Delta.