St. Louis will recommend everyone wear masks indoors

St. Louis’ county and city health departments recommended on Thursday that vaccinated residents wear masks indoors when among people whose vaccination statuses are unknown.

Both health departments issued a joint public health advisory that adjusted their mask guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, pointing at rising COVID-19 cases and the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant.

“This pandemic is not over,” Faisal Khan, the acting director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “The virus and its variants present a real and imminent danger to the health of people in the St. Louis region.”

The advisory acknowledges that the available COVID-19 vaccines are “highly effective against the disease” but warned vaccinated individuals can still contract COVID-19 and spread it to unvaccinated people, including children younger than 12, who are not eligible to get the shot.

Also: Nearby Jefferson County Health Department also released a similar health advisory, citing a 42 percent increase in new cases, with most among 10- to 19-year-olds.

Follows: St. Louis’s announcement follows the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s recommendation for all people to wear masks indoors “as precaution” no matter their vaccination status.

Los Angeles had been considered an outlier straying from the CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people could go maskless in most outdoor and indoor settings.