CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – We are less than two weeks away from Christmas Day, with holiday celebrations coinciding with a concerning spike in respiratory illnesses.
22News is working for you on how this health situation could impact your upcoming plans. Here in western Massachusetts, the risk level for COVID-19 remains low. However, if your holiday plans include travel, this is not the case for other parts of the country.
Amid the spike in the flu, RSV, and COVID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated guidance. Now, the recommend the public wear face masks indoors on a county-by-county basis, depending on the community COVID-19 levels, which take into account virus-related hospital admissions, bed capacity and case rates.
“Don’t go out if you’re sick, don’t be around others if you’re sick… if you feel so inclined, put a mask on, get a COVID test. If you’re going in multigenerational for the holidays,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
A total of 48 percent of Americans are living in communities deemed ‘low’ risk for COVID-19. While 39 percent are living in ‘medium’ risk.
Nearly 14 percent of Americans are living in ‘high’ risk communities. An increase that is well over double from last week. More than 10 counties with more than a million residents are now considered in this most serious category. Those communities are located in California, New York, and Arizona. Mask-wearing remains optional on public transportation.
As of right now, none of the counties in western Massachusetts are in a ‘high risk’ but Dr. Walensky said, “You don’t need to wait for CDC.’s recommendation, certainly, to wear a mask.”