March 13, 2022 – Going forward, keeping up with the latest COVID recommendations is going to be a bit like tracking Minnesota weather. Each week the CDC will be posting a rating of risk level, (low, medium or high) for each county. It’s based on the number of hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in the area. If there are any big changes we will email you. As always, call if you have any concerns or questions.

Our masking requirements will be based on the risk level the CDC assigns:

  • Low (green) – If the client and the volunteer are both fully vaccinated (2 shots plus 1 booster), they may choose to mask if they wish. Please be respectful of a client’s vulnerability and their preference.
  • Medium (yellow) – Clients and volunteers are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, especially if either is at a high risk for severe illness. You may also want to observe recommendations for social distancing.
  • High (red) – Clients and volunteers should both wear masks and observe social distancing.  Additional precautions may be taken, including a temporary suspension of in-home visits and non-essential rides.
  • All Levels – Masks should always be worn if either the client or volunteer has had fewer than 2 shots and 1 booster, or if either is immune compromised, regardless of the CDC risk level. Volunteers with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should refrain from meeting with clients.  N95 masks provide the best protection.

Keep in mind that masking guidelines may differ depending on the setting. For example, masks are still required in medical facilities regardless of the CDC risk level.

We will post the levels for both Cook and St. Louis counties each week on our website, since health care in Cook County is deeply connected to Duluth area medical services. Volunteers and clients are asked to follow the guidelines based on the HIGHER of the two CDC levels.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for all you do to help our Cook County friends and neighbors age safely in place!