CDC guidlines say fewer people need to wear masks

Staff Report

Here are the latest details on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the area:

• The CDC on Friday loosened mask wearing guidelines, saying area residents and most Americans do not currently need to wear masks indoors.

“We’re in a stronger place today as a nation with more tools to protect ourselves in our communities from COVID 19, like vaccination, boosters, broader access to testing, availability of high quality masks, accessibility to new treatments, and improved ventilation,” said Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC. “Over 200 million people have received a primary vaccine series and nearly 100 million have been boosted and millions more have had prior disease.”

Recommended prevention steps will be based on COVID-19 Community Levels going forward.

COVID-19 Community Levels are a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

Fulton County and neighboring counties are at the medium level. At that level, it is recommended that individuals at high risk for severe illness talk to their healthcare provider about whether they need to wear a mask and take other precautions.

The guidelines call for wearing masks indoors when a county is at the high level.

“None of us know what the future may hold for us and for this virus and we need to be prepared and we need to be ready for whatever comes next. We wanna give people a break from things like mask wearing when our levels are low and then have the ability to reach for them again, should things get worse in the future,” said Walensky. “We at CDC will continue to follow the science and epidemiology to make public health recommendations and guidance based on the data.”

County levels can be found at

• New cases of COVID-19 continue to fall in Fulton County. There were 29 new cases from Feb. 18-24, according to the Fulton County Health Department.

There were 47 cases the previous week.

The decrease in cases dropped Fulton County’s case rate per capita from 265.9 to 168.5. That is the 49th highest in Ohio, which has an overall rate of 160.7 per capita.

Lucas County is 70th at 117.7 per capita, Henry County 31st at 214.8 and Williams is 18th at 286.2. The highest in the state is Lawrence County at 812.3 cases per 100,000, while the lowest is Holmes County at 61.4.

The number of active cases in Fulton County fell from 68 to 41. It was 228 three weeks ago.

Last week, there were also 4 new deaths and 2 new hospitalizations in the county.

• Fulton County now has had 10,259 overall reported cases as of Sunday according to the Ohio Department of Health. There have been 172 deaths reported in the county.

In Lucas County, there have been 98,707 total cases with 1,340 deaths, according to the health department.

• With new case numbers continuing to drop, case rates are now below 200 per 100,000 people in all Fulton County zip codes over the last two weeks.

The Archbold zip code had the highest case rate in Fulton County over the last two weeks at 181.6 per 100,000 with a case count of 12. The Wauseon zip code had a case count of 22 with a rate of 166.1.

Swanton’s zip code had a case rate of 102.7 and 13 cases over the last two weeks. The Delta zip code’s case rate was 128.2 over the last two weeks, with 11 cases reported.

Over the last two weeks there were too few cases in Fayette, Metamora and Lyons for the state to report.

• COVID-19 vaccine is available Mondays at the Fulton County Health Department. The hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the last two hours for kids 5-11 years old.

Appointments are preferred.

It is also available at the Rite Aid locations in Archbold, Swanton, and Wauseon, the Swanton Kroger, and Wauseon Walmart.

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Staff Report