June Leffler Published

W.Va. May Still Have ‘High Transmission’ According To Expected CDC Masking Guidance

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky answers is seen during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release new, more lenient masking guidelines, according to national news outlets.

The CDC currently recommends anyone living in an area with high COVID-19 caseloads and positivity rates should mask up indoors. Even though cases are plummeting, 95 percent of the country is still considered to be in a high transmission area.

West Virginia and most other states no longer have statewide mask mandates. West Virginia rescinded its mandate last summer on West Virginia Day.

State coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said federal mask guidelines could use an update.

“I think that as we go forward, what you will see is that there’s going to be a transition from governmental direction of people to empowerment of people at individual levels to be able to manage their own health and their own protection,” Marsh said.

There’s a good chance that West Virginia will still fall under the CDC’s definition of high transmission. National outlets report that the CDC will consider hospitalization rates as a key metric. West Virginia currently has a higher rate of patients in the hospital with the coronavirus (44 per 100,000 people) than any other state.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.