ADHS has consistently followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and today’s updated CDC recommendations on mask use are no exception.
The CDC’s mask recommendations now vary according to a community level that considers COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and COVID-19’s impact on the local healthcare system. The COVID-19 community level for each county can be found at bit.ly/community_levels.
According to the CDC, community levels in Maricopa, Yavapai, Coconino, and Santa Cruz counties are currently such that residents can consider going without masks in public indoor settings. In all other Arizona counties, the CDC recommends masks in all public indoor settings, including schools.
Even with these new recommendations, ADHS continues to encourage Arizonans to assess their own risk when making decisions about masks. Also note that this new CDC guidance complements each county’s own recommendations based on local conditions.
Regardless of a county’s community level, you may still want to wear a mask if you consider yourself at-risk or will be around someone who is at-risk. Examples include older people, those with weakened immune systems, and people who live or spend time with people who are at greater risk from COVID-19. Masks also might be required in settings such as businesses, airports, hospitals, public transportation, and congregate care facilities.
What doesn’t change in the CDC’s guidance, regardless of a county’s COVID-19 community level, is the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted and getting tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or are 5-7 days after exposure. You’ll find convenient providers of safe, free, and highly effective vaccines and booster doses at azhealth.gov/FindVaccine and hundreds of testing providers at azhealth.gov/Testing.
When worn properly and consistently, all types of recommended masks reduce COVID-19 transmission. N95 and KN95 respirators have been shown to provide the highest levels of protection for the wearer and others. We have more information on masks and mask use at azhealth.gov/Masks.