Face masks

On Thursday, May 13, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released updated guidance for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The new guidance says that people who are fully vaccinated can go back to activities they did before the pandemic started. Anyone who is fully vaccinated can now participate in indoor and outdoor activities of any size without wearing a mask or keeping six feet apart. Fully vaccinated people also no longer need to get tested if they have been exposed unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.

Masks and social distancing are still good ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. It is important for people to continue to wear a mask until they have been fully vaccinated. A person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when it has been two or more weeks since they got the second dose in a two-dose series (such as Pfizer or Moderna), or one dose of a single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson).

There are important exceptions to the updated mask guidance. Masks are still needed in healthcare settings and schools. As of now, the CDC’s school guidance remains unchanged. Most students will still be unvaccinated and schools should follow CDC’s guidance for schools. Masks still need to be worn in places where they are required by businesses and workplaces. Residents and employees of correctional and detention facilities and homeless shelters should still wear masks. All people traveling on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation and in airports will still need to wear masks as well. 

Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Everyone age 12 and older is now able to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are free and offered at many locations in Barron County including health care providers, pharmacies, and public health. Free Pfizer vaccines are available for anyone 12 years and older at the UW-Eau Claire Barron County Campus Gymnasium located at 1800 College Dr. in Rice Lake. Walk-ins are welcome from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays. People can also register by calling 844.684.1064. A parent or guardian must be present for children ages 12 to 17. Free rides may be available, call 715.537.6333 if needed. 

Barron County Public Health is currently offering free Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccines. Johnson & Johnson Vaccine is available for those 18 years and older and is only one shot. Please register for this vaccine with Public Health by calling 715.537.6123 or fill out the following survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5X3NT5W

To find a location to get vaccinated: https://www.vaccines.gov/. For more information on the updated guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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