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Lake County Joins Other Chicago Area Counties With 'Substantial' COVID Transmission And Calls For Indoor Masking Regardless Of Vaccination Status

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Lake County, Illinois is now experiencing substantial community spread by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards – warranting the use of masks indoors by both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

All Chicago area counties in Illinois now fall under the "substantial" category – 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people over seven days – with the exceptions of Kankakee County and Porter County, Indiana – which are still in the lower "moderate" range – and Jasper County, Indiana – which is now in the "high" range.

The CDC is recommending that everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status if the spread is substantial or high – based on the higher infectiousness of the Delta variant. The CDC also recommends universal masking regardless of vaccination status in K-12 schools.

"We strongly recommend that everyone follow CDC recommendations and take necessary precautions to stay protected against COVID-19 and its variants," Dr. Sana Ahmed, Medical Epidemiologist at the Lake County Health Department, said in a news release. "A combination of vaccinations and prevention strategies is our best chance to end the COVID-19 pandemic."

More than 746,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Lake County – with a total of 51 percent now fully vaccinated. The county advised that vaccination still remains the best way to end the pandemic.

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