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Health district recommends continued mask wearing

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | June 2, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Grant County Health District officials said in a release Tuesday Grant County residents should continue wearing masks indoors, even if they’re vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

The GCHD said residents also should wear masks outdoors when they can’t maintain six feet of social distance and should maintain the six feet of social distance when they can.

The recommendation will be in force for four weeks, and will be reviewed weekly.

People are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after the second shot of the two-dose vaccines or two weeks after the one-dose vaccine.

That’s different from recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: people who were vaccinated could stop wearing masks in most situations.

There’s no practical way to determine who’s vaccinated and who’s not, the release stated, and vaccination rates for Grant County are lower than the state average. As a result, GCHD officials recommended continued mask wearing.

Vaccination rates are low in Grant County, but are gradually improving, the press release stated. The goal is to have 70% of county residents vaccinated and 41.38% of ages 16 and older have been fully vaccinated. About 47% of state residents have been fully vaccinated, according to the ourworldindata.org website.

While vaccination doesn’t provide complete protection, more than 95% of the people who contract the disease are not vaccinated, the press release said.

“Considering our current COVID indicators and the pandemic’s behavior in Grant County, it is prudent to continue masking,” the press release stated.

Regional hospitalization rates due to coronavirus and ICU use remain high, the press release said. While infection rates in the county are decreasing slowly, they’re still above 200 cases per 100,000 residents when measured over a two-week period. Many of the current coronavirus cases in Grant County are caused by more infectious variants and affect younger people.