Due to an increase in COVID-19 transmission levels, at the end of July, both GTNP and YNP announced that regardless of vaccination status, visitors to Yellowstone are required to wear a mask indoors and in all public and commercial transportation. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

JACKSON, Wyo. — As cases climb and community transmission increases, Teton County has entered the “red,” or high, risk level for COVID-19, the Teton County Health Department (TCHD) announced today.

Similarly, in February of 2021, the county was at a red risk level, but in those days vaccine distribution had yet to transpire.

So now with 75% of the county’s population vaccinated, what does “red” risk level mean for the community? Does it prompt public health orders or change recommendations on protocol?

“At this time there are no health orders in place,” said Rachael Wheeler, public health response coordinator at TCHD.

Although no public health orders are currently in place, TCHD and the town continue to recommend indoor mask-wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Because we are at high risk for transmission of COVID-19 we do recommend that people wear masks when they are in public indoor areas at this time,” said Wheeler.

With transmission levels soaring, Wheeler noted that while breakthrough cases are possible, a higher test positivity rate is being seen among unvaccinated individuals.

“Based on our data, at this time you are two times more likely to test positive for COVID if you are unvaccinated compared to vaccinated individuals,” said Wheeler.

Last week, the Wyoming Department of Health announced that a third vaccine dose would become available for immunocompromised individuals. While it is currently only available to individuals with certain medical conditions, Wheeler said that it will likely be approved next month for the general population.

“A booster dose for everybody else will most likely be approved at the end of September. And that is where they will wait for anyone who is no immunocompromised could get a booster shot eight months after their second dose. We see this quite frequently in the vaccine series.”

At this time, the third dose is only available for individuals who received Pfizer of Moderna. Johnson & Johnson is evaluating when a booster dose would be available for those who received their vaccine.

To view Teton County’s COVID-19 dashboard, visit https://arcg.is/0yivan0. To view the preventative measures for each risk level and to learn more about community transmission, click here.

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Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.