Masks are no longer advised in any of Illinois' 102 counties except for one, according to updated mask guidance provided Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As shown on an update of the CDC's county-by-county COVID-19 community level map, Johnson County in the far southern portion of the state is the only Illinois county listed as having high COVID transmission levels.
In such communities, people are advised to wear masks in public indoor spaces, including schools, and take additional precautions if at risk for severe illness, according to CDC guidelines.
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Johnson County reported 249.66 cases per 100,000 residents, on average, as of Friday, as well as 12.3 hospital admissions per 100,000 and a hospital occupancy of 4.4%.
Despite the situation there, the statewide change is a marked improvement for Illinois which a week prior had six counties, including Johnson County, listed in the high transmission level category.
The U.S. as a whole has also seen positive shifts in COVID metrics, with 98% of Americans living in areas where masks can be safely removed, according to the CDC's Thursday update.
While 90 of Illinois' counties are listed as having low COVID transmission, 11 have been categorized as medium risk.
In those areas, people at high risk for severe illness are encouraged to talk to their health care provider about whether they should wear a mask and take other precautions, according to the CDC.
The follow counties are listed as having medium levels of COVID community transmission:
- Adams County
- Franklin County
- Jackson County
- Henderson County
- Macoupin County
- Massac County
- Montgomery County
- Perry County
- Pike County
- Wabash County
- Williamson County
The CDC late last month unveiled a county-by-county community level map and announced a shift in metrics that gives more weight to hospitalizations and hospital capacity instead of case numbers.
To learn more information about the situation in your community, you can find the CDC's map of community levels by county here.