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Health officers urge wearing of masks

| August 13, 2021 1:00 AM

SEATTLE (AP) — Health officers throughout Washington have issued a joint statement recommending all residents wear facial coverings in indoor public settings where the vaccination status of other people is unknown.

Local health jurisdictions in Washington on Thursday urged people to wear the masks, regardless of vaccination status.

“This step will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public, including customers and workers, help stem the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in many parts of the state and decrease the spread of the highly contagious delta variant,” the statement said.

Thurston County health officials in Olympia went a step further Thursday, joining Snohomish County in requiring all residents ages 5 and up to wear masks in indoor public settings.

In those counties, anyone 5 and older — vaccinated or not — entering indoor spaces such as government buildings, grocery stores and other retail spaces will have to wear a mask.

Washington’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 977 new cases per day on July 28 to 2,949 new cases per day on Aug. 11, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.