CHICAGO (CBS) — DuPage County announced Wednesday night that COVID transmission there has reached substantial levels – and thus, masks are now advised for everyone in public settings regardless of vaccination status.

The DuPage County Health Department said the recent rise in cases and hospitalizations is likely to be blamed on the more contagious Delta variant. While vaccines continue to be the best form of protection against COVID-19, the county advised going with the masking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – which recommends that everyone, including fully vaccinated people – wear masks in indoor public settings in areas with substantial and high transmission.

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The guidance applies in workplaces, retail stores, restaurants and bars, fitness and recreation centers, libraries, government buildings, health care facilities, and other public venues.

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DuPage County noted that the CDC is also recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in K-12 schools – regardless of vaccination status.

Community transmission has reached the “substantial” level in DuPage, Will, McHenry, Grundy, DeKalb, and LaSalle counties within the Chicago area. Cook, Lake, Kane, Kendall, and Kankakee counties remain at the moderate level of transmission. Several Illinois counties have reached the highest level of “high” transmission, but none in the Chicago area.

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However, Jasper and Newton counties in Northwest Indiana are both now at the “high” transmission level.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff