New COVID-19 masking guidance and risk levels


(Posted March 1, 2022)

On Feb. 25, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised their COVID-19 community indicators and masking guidance. The new guidance reflects the significant COVID-19 improvements the U.S. has recently observed

The new community indicators use case rates, hospital admissions, and hospital capacity to inform local decisions. This data shows how many people in the area are getting sick enough to require medical care, and if the healthcare system has the resources to provide care for all patients, including those who need care for something other than COVID-19.

The three risk levels for COVID-19 under the new guidance are low, medium and high. All levels encourage staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, following isolation protocols, and improving ventilation for indoor settings. Madison County is currently at the “medium” risk level.

The “low” level indicates there is less severe COVID-19 illness in the area and masks are not needed in most settings. When communities are at the “medium” level, hospitals are seeing more sick patients, and high-risk individuals and their contacts are encouraged to wear a mask and have a testing plan.

At the “high” level, community-wide policies to wear masks indoors are recommended, and those at high risk should consider using extra precautions to protect themselves.

The CDC’s new recommendations do not change mask requirements for healthcare facilities, nursing homes, or public transportation and hubs, except for buses or vans operated by public or private school systems.

“Some individuals may still choose to wear masks, even at low community risk levels, and that’s okay,” said Madison County Health Commissioner Erin Fawley. “We all should support and encourage efforts to protect those at high risk. If you get sick, stay home, avoid being around people who are at increased risk, and do what we know works to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others.”

Madison County Public Health (MCPH) continues to offer COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters at the office, 306 Lafayette St., Suite B, London. Monday through Friday. As testing becomes more available, MCPH will resume distribution to the public. For more information, visit

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