The Madison County Board of Health and Madison County Department of Health issued the following statement in response to the July 27, 2021, updated CDC mask guidance.

As of July 27, 2021, in areas of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated. 

The Madison County Board of Health and Department of Health reviewed the CDC’s recent recommendations in light of the status of COVID-19 in our communities. Given that the virus transmission level in Madison County and our region is moderate, and not at the high or substantial levels noted by the CDC, the CDC recommendations do not apply and we are therefore not mandating masks to be worn by fully vaccinated individuals. However, we do recognize that wearing a mask, even if you are fully vaccinated, provides additional protection, and we encourage this practice. 

County residents have done a tremendous job in getting vaccinated. Over 73 percent (73.5 percent) of our adult population 18+ have received at least one dose of the vaccine; with 63 percent of our adults being fully vaccinated. Approximately 50 percent of our youth ages 12 -18 years-old have had at least one vaccine; and both the adult and youth vaccination rates continue to improve each week.

The good news is that if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe COVID-19, hospitalization, and death. The vaccines are most effective two weeks after the second dose (or first dose of J&J), and are effective against severe disease, hospitalization, and death in real-world studies. 

Not completing the series however, puts those partially vaccinated at risk of illness. If you are not vaccinated, you remain at risk. In fact, most of the hospitalizations and deaths across the country, are among unvaccinated individuals.

Getting vaccinated also helps reduce the transmission of the virus in our communities, which is the basis for CDC’s masking recommendations. So getting vaccinated will reduce the need to wear a mask.

Do it for yourself, your family, and for your community. And please do it to protect your young children who, right now, can’t get vaccinated themselves. Getting vaccinated is still the best protection we have against this virus.

The Madison County Health Department, as well as many other providers in our community offer the COVID-19 vaccine. To find a vaccination site in Madison County go to

We also understand that there is a massive amount of information about the vaccine; and not all of it is accurate. So finding correct information can be challenging. We strongly recommend that you speak with your provider about getting vaccinated and what’s best for you. If you don’t have a provider, call the Madison County Health Department at 315-366-2770 and ask to speak with one of our public health nurses. 

COVID-19 still is in our community and unfortunately the cases are going up. Approximately 27 percent (more than 19,400) residents are not yet vaccinated, we still have work to do and recommend that any residents who have not been vaccinated do so to protect themselves, co-workers, the public and their families. We also ask that you continue to wear a mask until you are fully vaccinated.

Wearing a mask, along with social distancing (especially in indoor public areas), and staying home when ill, are still effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19. With the Delta variant, there are instances, although rare, where a fully vaccinated individual can be infected and may become contagious to others. As such, fully vaccinated individuals should consider wearing a mask while in public indoor settings and or when engaging in activities that bring you into close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

The County Health Department stands ready to respond and actively monitors the COVID-19 situation in our communities and our region. An increase in transmission will prompt us to reassess our guidance and respond accordingly, keeping the best interest for our resident’s safe and healthy at the forefront of that decision.

By martha

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