LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed their decision on mask use Tuesday afternoon, recommending both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear a mask indoors where COVID-19 transmission is high.
Just hours after that, the Oregon Health Authority announced their recommendation for universal mask use in indoor public spaces statewide.
This also applies to anyone in K-12 schools.
KEZI spoke to Lane County Public Health spokesman Jason Davis who shared that 13 cases of the Delta variant have been found so far in the county -- and that number is likely higher.
“I can honestly and in good conscience say that it is a great idea for individuals who are vaccinated to wear a mask indoors,” Davis said. “You're going to cut down on the overall amount of viral particles. We know that it's an effective strategy.”
Davis said that 97 COVID-19 cases were identified in the past 24 hours. This is something the county has not seen since early to mid spring.
“There is never a time when it's appropriate to give up on trying to slow the spread of COVID,” Davis said. “We have the ability. We have the tools right now in Lane County. If everyone got vaccinated, we would effectively end the spread at least at the outbreak level. We have that capability right now.”
This CDC guidance comes as counties such as Multnomah, Clark, Clackamas and Washington gave recommendations Monday to their communities.
Davis said vaccines need to be made a priority. For example, at the Lane County Fair, only 19 people received a vaccination over the five-day span.
“That's pretty sobering,” Davis said. “When we have thousands of people going into that fair, walking by that tent, and we vaccinated 19 people. We had the capability to vaccinate hundreds. If it had been in March of this year, there would have been lines around the block. Right now, our community has slowed down our response, and we need to remedy that. We need to inspire vaccination.”
KEZI also spoke to several local businesses.
Jody Maddox is the owner of WAGS! Dog Emporium.
"We are all in this together," Maddox said. "I think that we have to be considerate of others, their thoughts, opinions and their comfort level. I think that's the most important thing. I'm really concerned about keeping my employees and customers comfortable."
Maddox said she will follow what the CDC recommends in an effort to keep everyone safe.
David Lucht is the chef and owner at Ciao Pizza Trattoria.
"If it is mandated and other counties around us and the CDC recommends it, we will probably enforce mask policy again," Lucht said. "Especially with the Delta variant coming our way, it seems like the right thing to do."
Lucht encourages everyone going out to restaurants to be kind to staff, as they're trying their best to create a safe environment and are also dealing with staffing shortages.
Lane County Public Health is currently discussing how to approach this new guidance at the local level.
"Where our mind needs to be is what can I do individually to help promote health in the county," Davis said.