As most of the state of Connecticut moves into the CDC’s “substantial” COVID spread category the Department of Public Health is recommending that people mask up indoors even if they are vaccinated. 

Fairfield, Windham and Tolland counties were added to the list Friday of areas with “substantial” COVID spread. 

The Department of Public Health advised that anyone over the age of 2 who lives, works or travels through the affected counties should wear a mask in indoor public settings.

“This includes vaccinated family members who live with young children who are not yet eligible for vaccination,” the statement said.

COVID cases continue to trend upward. The state had a positivity rate of 2.72 percent as 491 new infections were diagnosed out of 18,025 tests. Four more patients were hospitalized Friday bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 116.

“We are seeing that the dominant Delta variant can infect those who are vaccinated and that they can transmit the COVID infection to others. But I cannot stress enough that the vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID,” Acting DPH Commissioner Deidre Gifford said. 

Gov. Ned Lamont, who is on vacation this week in Maine, has not changed his mask guidance for the state. 

The executive order he signed on May 20, 2021 still remains in place.

It says only unvaccinated people are required to wear a mask indoors statewide. Masks have been required in some public settings, such as courthouses, municipal buildings, health care facilities, and on public transit. But there may be more places that will require masks in the future.

State Capitol sign on July 30, 2021. (CTNewsJunkie photo)

A sign at the state Capitol says masks are “encouraged” but not required for vaccinated individuals.

Connecticut has been doing well with its vaccination rates compared to some other states, but there are still pockets of unvaccinated in the state.

In the majority of Connecticut’s municipalities, vaccination rates are above 60 percent, but in Mansfield, Sterling, Thompson, Hartford, New Britain and Plainfield, less than half of residents have started vaccination, according to the latest state data.

Overall, nearly 70 percent of all Connecticut residents have started vaccination and about 63 percent are now considered fully vaccinated, state data shows.

So far, around 2.3 million Connecticut residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

In its weekly virus update, the state reported the total number of breakthrough cases of vaccinated residents contracting the coronavirus had grown to 1,133. Breakthrough cases are considered rare. In Connecticut, .06% of fully vaccinated people have contracted the virus. At 27, the total number of deaths in breakthrough cases amounts to 3.2% of COVID deaths since February.