SALT LAKE CITY — Although last week's announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped mask requirements for most of the U.S., there are still some questions whether residents of Salt Lake County should drop masks completely.
Under the new guidelines, Salt Lake County is considered to be under the "medium" level for COVID transmission, which means that masks should be considered in certain circumstances. The CDCs "medium" level asks people to make decisions on masks based on underlying risks of serious COVID illness for themselves and others close to them.
Dr. Angela Dunn, the Executive Director of the county's health department, issued the following guidance for residents when deciding whether to continue wearing masks:
- Being up to date on recommended COVID vaccinations, including boosters when eligible
- Isolating at home and getting tested for COVID if you have symptoms
- Wearing a high-filtration mask when indoors in public—if certain personal circumstances apply
- Seeking early treatment if you test positive and are at high risk for serious illness
- Maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, including good nutrition and regular physical activity
“Ensuring you and your loved ones are up to date on your COVID vaccination is still the single best way to prevent serious disease and death,” Dunn said. “And while high-filtration masks are no longer essential community-wide, they remain an important layer of protection for many people in our community.”
The health department still maintains that people who test positive for COVID or experience symptoms should isolate for five days and wear a mask for an additional five days, regardless of the county's transmission level.
“Please be aware and respectful of what the people around you are doing, and also consider the people in your life who may be at higher risk than you,” Dunn continued. “If you enter a business and they require or recommend masks, please respect this and wear a mask; they may have a colleague at high risk who needs that additional protection. If a family member or friend you see regularly has an underlying health condition, wear a mask in crowded, indoor settings for their sake — or evaluate if you need to be in that setting at all.”