As COVID Cases Tick Up, Minneapolis Health Officials Recommend Masking Indoors – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Following the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, health leaders in Minneapolis are recommending that everyone, including those who are vaccinated, wear masks when indoors.

The Minneapolis Health Department updated its mask guidance Thursday, saying that they should be worn in stores, theaters, schools, restaurants, and offices. They also encouraged people to wear well-fitting N95 masks and get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots if they haven’t already.

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Since mid-March, the seven-day new case rate in the city has increased by 340%, city health officials say, jumping from 51 infections per 100,000 people to 227 per 100,000. The city is now in the “high community transmission” category. Hospitalizations have also increased.

Minneapolis is currently not under a mask mandate. The most recent one was lifted in February, following the Omicron surge. Earlier this month, Twin Cities schools lifted their mask mandates.

A map shows levels of COVID-19 transmission tracked by the CDC. With the exception of the northeast, Minnesota and western Wisconsin are the only areas with “high” transmission, which is marked in orange. Wabasha and Olmsted counties are seeing high transmission, as well as Barron and Rusk counties in Wisconsin.

Statewide, the weekly case rate has doubled in the past month. Hospitalizations are also up — just above the caution threshold.

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Dr. George Morris, the lead physician for CentraCare, says COVID-19 doesn’t have that seasonality like the flu, making it tougher to predict the ebbs and flows.

“COVID is still different, but I think we can view it as we will see waves, we will have to be prepared for it, we will have to respond, and we have to accept that,” Morris said.

And health officials say adjusting our behaviors during those peaks and valleys saves lives.

Olmsted County is also recommending families wear masks inside public places.

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If you test positive for COVID-19 regardless of symptoms. the CDC says to stay home and isolate for at least five days.

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