SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — According to the latest update from the CDC, 29 counties in South Dakota are listed as having high or substantial community transmission of COVID.
Those are the areas that federal health officials say everyone, no matter your vaccination status, needs to be wearing masks. So should you start masking up again?
You don’t see many people wearing masks in Sioux Falls anymore, but should they? Dr. David Basel with Avera Medical Group says it depends.
“If you are unvaccinated, you really should be masking up in public. The Delta variant is in town and you are at risk,” said Dr. Basel.
Avera only has ten people hospitalized with Covid right now. That’s why Dr. Basel says vaccinated people don’t need to wear a mask, but he says that advice could change quickly.
“What I’m really following is how many people we are seeing hospitalized with Covid. If that number starts to really go up, then I’m going to be concerned and then I’ll really start to push masking more,” said Dr. Basel.
Doctors at Monument Health in Rapid City have a different recommendation because of the surge of people riding into the Black Hills for the Sturgis motorcycle rally.
“I would say that the correct advice for all of the folks serving others in restaurants and wherever it be, is to mask up,” said Dr. Shankar Kurra with Monument Health.
Dr. Kurra says his advice applies to everyone, vaccinated or not and even to people outdoors if they’re in crowded areas.
“Knowing that we are less than 50 percent vaccinated, I think masking up is the right thing to do. That is what is going to stop this so everyone needs to mask up,” said Dr. Kurra.
Dr. Kurra says that when vaccinated people get Covid, they don’t get as sick, but they can still transmit the virus just as easily as anyone else.
“We are at a critical moment in our history where the fourth wave of this pandemic is on the surge and we need to stop it and it’s in our hands. It’s not going to hurt you so please wear a mask,” said Dr, Kurra.
But while the doctors have slightly different advice on masking, they both agree on this: Now is the time to get vaccinated before the Delta variant really gets a foothold in KELOLAND.