Here’s Where Masks Are Recommended in the Chicago Area and Who Should Wear Them – NBC Chicago

Multiple COVID metrics have increased over the course of the past week, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand the number of counties where precautions are suggested.

According to an update to the CDC’s county-by-county community levels map, 12% of U.S. counties appear with medium or high community levels, up from 9% last week.

Several Illinois counties are also on the list, prompting some local governments to issue reminders and specific guidance on wearing masks in addition to recommendations already set forth by the CDC.

In Chicago, health officials are “strongly recommending” that residents wear masks as the city recently moved from low to medium community status due to a rising number of COVID cases.

While Chicago remains in a medium community tier, health officials have said that if the city moved into the high category, a mask mandate could be reinstated.

Health officials in suburban Cook County issued similar guidance following the change in community-level status.

Masks are recommended indoors to protect people at high risk for serious illness, those with underlying medical conditions and people who are immunocompromised, according to a news release issued by county health officials.

Recommendations differ slightly for Kane, McHenry, Lake, DuPage, DeKalb, Kendall and Will counties, which also rank in the middle category. As these counties have not yet issued specific guidance on the use of face coverings, residents and visitors are encouraged to follow the recommendations set forth by state health officials and the CDC.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, it is recommended that people in areas with increased COVID-19 infections wear a mask if they enter indoor spaces with others present.

However, the CDC recommendations differ.

The agency does not require or recommend masks for the general population in a mid-level community state. Instead, people at high risk for illness are advised to speak with their health care provider to determine if they should wear a mask. Mask wearing is recommended when a county is elevated to high-level community status, according to the guidance.

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