The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released a new national COVID-19 risk map that is offering guidance as to where people may be able to safely un-mask.

The map, released February 25, is color-coded depicting which counties are at the lowest risk for overwhelming hospitals with the spread of the coronavirus and the news isn't good for Broome County.

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The CDC is recommending residents all in counties stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if they exhibit symptoms. The new data, however, does not make a recommendation for residents to wear masks indoors if they live in areas in the green that are low risk.

The CDC says residents who are at high risk for serious illness who live in medium-risk, yellow, areas should consult with their health care provider about the necessity of wearing a mask and other precautions.

Getty Images/ twinster photo
Getty Images/ twinster photo

The residents of high-risk counties, depicted in orange shading, are recommended to wear masks in indoor settings, stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, get tested if they exhibit symptoms and additional precautions may be needed for people who are at high risk for serious illness.

Broome County is shaded in orange as is Tioga County in New York and are considered high-risk counties for COVID-19.

Chenango County and Delaware Counties are shaded green, the low designation while Cortland County is yellow, or medium risk.

In the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania, Bradford County, which has regularly been listed on that state's high infection rate list, is painted orange by the new CDC map, high risk. Susquehanna, just south of high-risk Broome County is also in the high-risk category while neighboring Wayne County to the east is in the yellow, or medium-risk listing.

The CDC says the new designations "are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area."

Of course, people may choose to mask up at any time and that is all dependent on an individual's assessment of risk and level of comfort in certain situations. Individual businesses could also set a policy requiring customers, staff or visitors to wear facial coverings if they so choose.


The CDC says people with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should still wear a mask and a federal mandate requiring wearing a mask public transportation remains in effect at least until March 18.

Masks are still required in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings.

February 27, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the mask mandate for public schools in the state would be allow to lapse.

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