CDC: Some New Mexico counties have ‘substantial’ COVID-19 community transmission rate

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The CDC’s latest data shows that vaccinated individuals can carry and transmit the Delta variant, leading the CDC to recommend that everyone wear masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where COVID-19 cases are surging.

“This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendation,” said Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director.

The CDC said the areas where people should be wearing a mask, vaccinated or not, are places of substantial or high transmission. Eddy and Otero counties are considered to have a high community transmission rate and Bernalillo and Sandoval counties are considered to have a substantial community transmission rate.

“Nobody wants to go backward we were so excited coming out and starting to approach normal, but going back to masking is a challenge,” said Mark Epstien, CEO of True Health New Mexico.

In most recent studies, the CDC said the Delta variant is now the most common strand of the coronavirus — every 8 out of 10 reported cases.

“What’s different with the Delta variant rather than the Alfa variant is in those rare cases where we have break through infections, we want people to understand they could transmit the virus to others,” Walensky said.

While the vast majority of transmissions occur between the unvaccinated, new findings show it is possible to spread the Delta variant as a vaccinated person, and that means masks could be making a comeback.

The CDC’s guidance is only a recommendation, leaving it up to states and local officials to decide if they will reintroduce their mask rules.

The New Mexico Department of Health said they will be holding a press conference Wednesday, July 27, to talk about these new findings.

The CDC’s interactive transmission map shows each county and their category, click here to view.