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Masking up: Where do we currently stand?

Masking guidelines have recently been changed by the CDC. Where do we stand when it comes to masking up now?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — According to the CDC, layered prevention strategies — like staying up to date on vaccines and wearing masks — can help prevent severe illness and reduce the potential for strain on the healthcare system.

But when it comes to masking? Are we supposed to be doing it right now? Are we not? Well, it all depends...If you're critically ill, have comorbidities or are elderly, it's probably best that you continue masking up.

Now recently the CDC changed its guidelines, from recommending masking for all, to now — recommending that over 70% of Americans can go without masks... but it's not that simple. Those Americans can go without masks, sure, but all based on the CDC's new COVID-19 community levels.

This new tool helps communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. 

Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. 

RELATED: CDC eases mask guidelines for more than 70% of Americans

If the risk level in your community is low, the CDC recommends that you stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if you have symptoms.

If the risk level is medium and you're at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions. Also, you should stay up to date on vaccinations and testing. 

If the COVID levels in your community are high, the CDC recommends that you wear a mask indoors in public, stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if you have symptoms and take any additional precautions that may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness.

The CDC also makes it easy to check on the COVID status in your community, for more information on how you can check in and see the COVID levels where you live, click here

RELATED: Tennessee Valley schools COVID dashboards, information and masking policies

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