OHIO — Regardless of your vaccination status, indoor masking is now recommended in 23 Ohio counties, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance released Tuesday.

The guidance is intended to come as a recommendation for the public and health officials and not a federal mandate.

The guidance calls on those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 who are in areas that have substantial or high levels of COVID-19 spread to resume wearing masks in indoor settings. The CDC’s guidance recommending masking for those unvaccinated remains unchanged. 

The guidance means that residents in three of Ohio’s 10 largest counties — Montgomery, Butler and Mahoning — should wear masks inside public venues even if they have been vaccinated.

Residents in counties shaded in orange or red are encouraged to wear masks indoors, according to new CDC guidance. Source: CDC

Ohio’s four largest counties — Franklin, Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Summit — currently have moderate spread of COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Health officials are sounding the alarm nationwide amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in areas with low vaccination rates and reports of rising cases among vaccinated people due to the delta strain.

"In recent days, I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a briefing Tuesday.

"In those are rare cases that we have breakthrough infections, we felt it important for people to understand that they have the potential to transmit virus to others," she added.

As of Tuesday, 57.9% of Ohioans ages 12 and up have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC statistics.