Middlesex County is the latest county in the state to reach the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended threshold for universal indoor masking, according to the latest data from the agency's COVID Data Tracker.
Fairfield, Tolland and Windham counties reached the level yesterday and Hartford, New Haven and New London counties reached it earlier in the week. Seven out of the state's eight counties are all seeing significant COVID-19 transmission.
Litchfield county is the only one that hasn't yet reached the CDC threshold.
"It’s concerning but not a surprise. This delta variant is very contagious and we have seen a steady increase in our case numbers," Acting Department of Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford said of the CDC data earlier this week.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health said Thursday that it "strongly recommends" that anyone over the age of 2 wear a mask in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status, in line with the CDC guidance.
The CDC recommends universal masking in indoor spaces for regions that are experiencing "substantial" or "high" transmission levels of COVID-19.
The CDC guidance is not a mandate and it leaves policy decisions up to the state and local level. At present in Connecticut, an executive order remains in effect that requires those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 wear a face mask in public indoor spaces where they cannot social distance, according to DPH.
State officials are urging residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine as the delta variant continues to spread. Connecticut has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, with about 2.3 million residents having received at least one dose.
DPH says breakthrough cases of the vaccine are very rare, and COVID-19 related deaths in people who had the vaccine amount to less than .01% of reported deaths in the state since the pandemic began. State officials say current data shows that you are 17 times more likely to get COVID-19 if you are unvaccinated.