The entire Kansas City metro falls under a high transmission area defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one where masks should be worn in public indoor settings by everyone to curb the latest spread of COVID-19.
With COVID-19’s delta strain continuing its surge through the U.S., cases of COVID-19 are at a point where all residents of Missouri and most of eastern Kansas should wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, according to the CDC’s data.
Nationally, about 63% of counties are considered places where risk of transmission is high or substantial.
On Tuesday, the CDC issued new guidance saying even those who have received the vaccine and are in high risk areas should wear a mask indoors to protect themselves and those around them. The message comes after rules around the nation were eased in May following earlier guidance from the federal government that masks and social distancing were no longer necessary for people who had been vaccinated.
Those who had not been vaccinated were already advised to wear masks in public under the federal guidelines. But many local governments — including every one in the Kansas City metro — essentially abandoned restrictive measures on businesses and residents following the changes.
Meanwhile, state and local government leaders have said they are evaluating the new guidance from the CDC and may respond with actions in the future.
During a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Quinton Lucas said he appreciates the CDC changing its guidance, adding that “it’s a lot easier to act with them than outside of them.” He said the city will respond “as soon as possible.”
Lucas also said the city will reach out to other jurisdictions in the region.
The only firm governmental mandates related to COVID-19 as of late have been made in school districts where many children are too young to get the vaccine. So far, Kansas City, Kansas City, Kansas and Shawnee Mission school districts are the only three that will have any mask requirements when the new school year begins.