On February 25, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted a telebriefing regarding updated COVID-19 guidance. The CDC noted that with the current high levels of vaccination and high levels of population immunity from both vaccination and infections, the risk of medically significant disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 is greatly reduced for most people.

The CDC’s updated framework to determine COVID-19 community levels will include new hospitalizations for COVID-19, percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and new COVID-19 cases. These metrics will be used to determine whether a community has a high, medium, or low level of COVID-19. Definitions and guidance for each level are outlined below:

  • Low – There is limited impact on the healthcare system and low amounts of severe disease in the community. Community members are advised to:
    • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
    • Get tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Medium – The community is experiencing severe disease and is starting to see more impact on the healthcare system. Community members are advised to:
    • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
    • Get tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions.
  • High – Ahigh number of people are experiencing severe disease and there is high potential for healthcare systems strains. Community members are advised to:
    • Wear a mask indoors in public.
    • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
    • Get tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness.

At all levels, people may choose to wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by personal level of risk. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.

Mercer County is currently reported to have a medium COVID-19 community level. For more information regarding COVID-19 community levels, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html.