What CDC’s Community Levels Mean and What Is Required in Each – NBC Chicago

With a Chicago suburb reaching “high” transmission levels, according to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, what does that mean for residents and what precautions are now being encouraged?

The city of Evanston said Thursday that the community’s COVID risk level has risen from “medium” to “high,” the highest alert level, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Evanston reports that the percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients is also at a “medium” risk level.

At the same time, 23 counties in Illinois were at “average” levels on Friday, up from 14 a week ago.

So what does that mean and what does it take to get to each level?

Here’s a look at the guidelines:

The CDC recommends that those who want to know their region’s COVID-19 community level:

  • First, determine whether a province, state, or territory has less than 200 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days or 200 new cases or more per 100,000 people in the past 7 days.
  • Then determine the level (low, medium or high) for the new admissions and inpatient beds and indicators using the area number scale for new cases below.
  • The COVID-19 community level is based on the highest of the new admissions and hospital bed statistics.

Low Community Level

In places with low community transmission, residents are encouraged to stay up to date on COVID vaccines and boosters, as well as improve indoor ventilation where possible.

For individuals and at home:

  • Stay informed about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
  • Where possible, provide improved ventilation in indoor spaces
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19
  • If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for serious illness
    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g. home testing or access to testing)
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about your eligibility for treatments such as oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies

For communities:

  • Distribute and administer vaccines to achieve high community vaccination rates and ensure health equity
  • Provide better ventilation in indoor public areas
  • Ensure all people have access to testing, including through point-of-care and home testing
    • Communicate with organizations and places that help people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for serious illness to make sure they know how to get tested quickly
  • Provide access and equity in vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach, support services for disproportionately affected populations

Medium Community Level

This designation means that the elderly or immunocompromised individuals are urged to wear masks in indoor public areas.

Here’s what the CDC recommends for individuals in counties with an intermediate warning level:

  • If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for serious illness
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should wear a mask and take other precautions (e.g., testing)
    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g. home testing or access to testing)
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about your eligibility for treatments such as oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies
  • If you have domestic or social contact with someone at high risk of serious illness
    • consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
    • consider wearing a mask when indoors
  • Stay informed about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
  • Where possible, provide improved ventilation in indoor spaces
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19

For intermediate level communities:

  • Protect people at high risk of serious illness or death by ensuring equal access to vaccination, testing, treatment, support services and information
  • Consider implementing screening tests or other testing strategies for people exposed to COVID-19 in workplaces, schools, or other community settings, as appropriate
  • Implement improved prevention measures in high-risk congregation settings (see guidelines for correctional facilities and shelters for the homeless
  • Distribute and administer vaccines to achieve high community vaccination rates and ensure health equity
  • Provide better ventilation in indoor public areas
  • Ensure all people have access to testing, including through point-of-care and home testing
    • Communicate with organizations and places that help people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for serious illness to make sure they know how to get tested quickly
  • Provide access and equity in vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach, support services for disproportionately affected populations

Chicago’s top doctor said the medium designation means the city will strongly recommend masks, but the requirement is unlikely to return until a high designation is revealed.

“Assuming COVID continues to behave the way it does, we wouldn’t mandate masking or a vaccine for high-risk settings unless we were at a high level per CDC,” Dr. That’s what Allison Arwady said earlier this week. “But on average you will see more signs, for example… But as we go to a medium risk level, and we will see more of this, now highly recommended indoors… I will personally put my mask back on more We are not with red-red, mouth caps are mandatory indoors and that will also be the case at schools.”

High Community Level

Counties achieving high community standards are urged to reinstate the wearing of masks for all individuals indoors, regardless of vaccination status, and to consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities.

Here’s what the CDC recommends for individuals in “high” regions:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask1 indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor communities)
  • If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for serious illness
    • Wear a mask or gas mask that gives you more protection
    • Consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you may be exposed
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should take other precautions (e.g., testing)
    • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g. home testing or access to testing)
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about your eligibility for treatments such as oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies
  • If you have domestic or social contact with someone at high risk of serious illness
    • consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
    • consider wearing a mask when indoors
  • Stay informed about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
  • Where possible, provide improved ventilation in indoor spaces
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19

For communities:

  • Consider making specific recommendations for prevention strategies based on local factors
  • Implement support for peaks in healthcare as needed
  • Protect people at high risk of serious illness or death by ensuring equal access to vaccination, testing, treatment, support services and information
  • Consider implementing screening tests or other testing strategies for people exposed to COVID-19 in workplaces, schools, or other community settings, as appropriate
  • Implement improved prevention measures in high-risk congregational settings (see guidelines for correctional facilities and shelters for the homeless)
  • Distribute and administer vaccines to achieve high community vaccination rates and ensure health equity
  • Provide better ventilation in indoor public areas
  • Ensure all people have access to testing, including through point-of-care and home testing
    • Communicate with organizations and places that help people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for serious illness to make sure they know how to get tested quickly
  • Provide access and equity in vaccination, testing, treatment, community outreach, support services for disproportionately affected populations

Leave a Comment