Community information: CDC updates COVID-19 metrics to determine community risk levels

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – On Feb. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new metrics to guide COVID-19 mitigation practices.

The new metrics will continue to consider caseloads to determine community risk level and will also incorporate the impacts on the healthcare system as indicators to determine appropriate prevention measures for each county.

Using the new metrics, Coconino County’s COVID-19 community level is Medium. The CDC recommends the following guidelines for communities at Medium level:

-If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions

-Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters

-Get tested if you have symptoms

-People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask regardless of community level.

The updated metrics provide a mechanism for ongoing monitoring of risk to the community. Coconino County will follow this new guidance and will change its reporting to align with the CDC direction.

CDC’s new COVID-19 Community Levels recommendations align precautions for educational settings with those for other community settings.

CCHHS has consistently followed CDC guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the new system of measurement, individuals are encouraged to mask to their comfort and risk level. Individual decisions to mask or not to mask based on individual circumstances should be supported and respected.

Masking continues to be an effective prevention tool for high-risk individuals and for those with a household member at increased risk for severe disease. Those at highest risk of severe COVID-19 illness include unvaccinated individuals, adults 65 years and older and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions. Please visit the CDC website for an updated list of certain medical conditions that put people at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 to include additional disabilities, primary immunodeficiency, and physical inactivity.

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