The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Community Levels (cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html) are a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the most recent data available. The CDC has released its new community level graphics which are determined by looking at hospital beds being occupied by COVID-19 patients, COVID-19 hospital admissions, and new COVID-19 cases in an area. Each county’s community level is ranked weekly as low, medium, or high.
With increasing levels of vaccination and high levels of population immunity from both vaccination and infections, CDC notes that the risk of medically significant disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 is greatly reduced for most people. At the same time, some people and communities, such as the elderly, people who are immunocompromised, and people with disabilities, are at higher risk for serious illness and face challenging decisions navigating a world with COVID-19.
Vaccines are highly protective against severe disease, and continuing to expand vaccine coverage and ensuring people are up to date with vaccination is essential to protecting individuals against hospitalizations and deaths.
COVID-19 community levels do not change the guidance for healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Instead, healthcare settings should continue to use levels of community transmission and follow CDC’s infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare workers.
Take precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 based on the COVID-19 Community Level in your area.
These prevention steps should be taken when the level is low (green): Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if you have symptoms.
If the level is medium (yellow): If you are at high risk for severe illness or are immunocompromised, 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 get tested if you have symptoms.
If the level is high (orange): Wear a mask indoors in public, stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if you have symptoms. Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness.