What CDC’s Community Levels Mean and What’s Required in Each – NBC Chicago



With nearly every Chicago-area county having reached the “medium community level” for COVID-19 and one Chicago suburb reaching “high” transmission levels, per guidance set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, what does that mean for you?

As of Friday, Grundy, LaSalle, Cook, Kane, McHenry, Lake, DuPage, DeKalb, Kendall and Will counties all were listed under the CDC’s “medium community” alert level, the second-highest level on the CDC’s scale.

In all, there are 23 Illinois counties now at that “medium” level, up from 14 a week ago.

At the same time, the city of Evanston said Thursday its community COVID risk level has increased from “medium” to “high,” the highest level of alert, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Evanston reports that its percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients is also at a “medium” risk level.

So what does that mean and what does it take to reach each level?

Here’s a look at the guidelines:

The CDC recommends that those looking to find out the COVID-19 community level of their region:

  • First determine whether a county, state, or territory has fewer than 200 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days or 200 new cases or more per 100,000 people in the past 7 days.
  • Then, determine the level (low, medium, or high) for the new admissions and inpatient beds and indicators using the scale below for the area’s number for new cases.
  • The COVID-19 Community Level is based on the higher of the new admissions and inpatient beds metrics.

Low Community Level

In places with low community transmission, residents are encouraged to stay up-to-date with COVID vaccines and boosters, and maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible.

For individuals and in homes:

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
  • Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19
  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease
    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies

For communities:

  • Distribute and administer vaccines to achieve high community vaccination coverage and ensure health equity
  • Maintain improved ventilation in public indoor spaces
  • Ensure access to testing, including through point-of-care and at-home tests for all people
    • Communicate with organizations and places that serve people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease to ensure they know how to get rapid testing
  • Ensure access and equity in vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach, support services for disproportionately affected populations

Medium Community Level

This designation means elderly or immunocompromised individuals are urged to wear masks in public indoor spaces.

Here’s what the CDC recommends for individuals in counties under a medium alert level:

  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions (e.g., testing)
    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease
    • consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
    • consider wearing a mask when indoors with them
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
  • Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19

For communities under a medium level:

  • Protect people at high risk for severe illness or death by ensuring equitable access to vaccination, testing, treatment, support services, and information
  • Consider implementing screening testing or other testing strategies for people who are exposed to COVID-19 in workplaces, schools, or other community settings as appropriate
  • Implement enhanced prevention measures in high-risk congregate settings (see guidance for correctional facilities and homeless shelters
  • Distribute and administer vaccines to achieve high community vaccination coverage and ensure health equity
  • Maintain improved ventilation in public indoor spaces
  • Ensure access to testing, including through point-of-care and at-home tests for all people
    • Communicate with organizations and places that serve people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease to ensure they know how to get rapid testing
  • Ensure access and equity in vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach, support services for disproportionately affected populations

Chicago’s top doctor said the medium designation means the city will be strongly recommending masks, but the requirement likely won’t return until a high designation is revealed.

“Assuming that COVID continues to behave in the way that it has been behaving, we would not mandate masking or mandate vaccine for high risk settings unless we were at a high at a high level per CDC,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said earlier this week. “But at medium you will see more signs, for example…But as we move into a medium risk level, and we’ll see more of this now strongly recommended indoors… I personally will be putting my mask back on more. We are not at red – red, masks are required indoors and that will also be true in schools.”

High Community Level

Counties that do reach a high community level are urged to reinstate mask-wearing for all individuals indoors regardless of vaccination status and to consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities.

Here’s what the CDC recommends for individuals in “high” level regions:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask1 indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings)
  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease
    • Wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection
    • Consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to take other precautions (e.g., testing)
    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease
    • consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
    • consider wearing a mask when indoors with them
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
  • Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19

For communities:

  • Consider setting-specific recommendations for prevention strategies based on local factors
  • Implement healthcare surge support as needed
  • Protect people at high risk for severe illness or death by ensuring equitable access to vaccination, testing, treatment, support services, and information
  • Consider implementing screening testing or other testing strategies for people who are exposed to COVID-19 in workplaces, schools, or other community settings as appropriate
  • Implement enhanced prevention measures in high-risk congregate settings (see guidance for correctional facilities and homeless shelters)
  • Distribute and administer vaccines to achieve high community vaccination coverage and ensure health equity
  • Maintain improved ventilation in public indoor spaces
  • Ensure access to testing, including through point-of-care and at-home tests for all people
    • Communicate with organizations and places that serve people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease to ensure they know how to get rapid testing
  • Ensure access and equity in vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach, support services for disproportionately affected populations


Soruce : https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/coronavirus/low-medium-high-what-cdcs-community-levels-mean-and-whats-required-in-each/2832030/

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