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The Daily Tar Heel

Orange County reinstates indoor mask mandate, citing rise in COVID-19 cases


Orange County's mask mandate will go into effect Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Orange County reinstated a countywide indoor mask mandate, which will go into effect Wednesday at 5 p.m., according to an email from the county.

The mandate will apply to anyone two and older, regardless of vaccination status and is in response to an increase in cases since the end of June. 

“This step is essential if we hope to slow the spread of the Delta variant," Renee Price, Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. "While we ask all residents to take this precaution, more importantly, if you know individuals who have been reluctant to get the vaccine, please take them to a vaccination site to get their shot and protect yourself and your family members, friends and neighbors.”

For the week of June 20, Orange County reported nine coronavirus cases out of 1,596 tests — a positivity rate of 0.6 percent, according to the county. During the week of Aug. 1, the county reported 235 cases out of 4,040 tests for a positivity rate of 5.3 percent, which is nearly nine times greater. Most of the cases are among the unvaccinated.

Orange County has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state at 76 percent of the population. But according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the viral load of the delta variant is similar in vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The level of transmission for COVID-19 in Orange County is high, according to the CDC.

"Even though we have a high percentage of our eligible population vaccinated, we must use every tool at our disposal to combat this virus,” Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart said.

@DTHCityState |

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