GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Adams County has the highest rate of Covid transmission of any county in the Midstate. According to CDC data, the county is categorized as having ‘substantial’ spread of COVID.
That transmission level means the CDC’s new masking guidelines apply there. The CDC says people in high-risk areas should be wearing masks indoors in public places, even if they’re vaccinated.
However, not everyone who lives in the community or is visiting it is following that recommendation.
Jackie Hinman is visiting Adams County from Florida. She wasn’t wearing a mask on Wednesday but says she has no problem doing it if asked.
“If it’s required. If it’s required where I go, I will definitely wear it,” Hinman said.
Roman Bryson is also vacationing in Adams County. He says he’s masking up whenever he goes in public.
“It’s less about protecting me and more about protecting others who may not be vaccinated,” Bryson said.
In Adams County, COVID is spreading at a dangerous rate and only around 40% of people are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Mark Goedecker with Wellspan Health in Gettysburg says rising numbers are due to a combination of factors, including the vaccination rates, the Delta variant, and relaxed restrictions.
“With the relaxation of masking and if you have unvaccinated people then there’s more chance that they are going to spread the virus. So I think that’s what we’re seeing right now,” Dr. Goedecker said.
Adams County local Dan Grove is watching the numbers and considering putting his mask back on.
“If Adams County or even around the Tri-State area starts getting a little bit deeper, then yea we’re going to start wearing the mask once again,” Grove said.
Olivia Poole lives in the area too. She says she masks up on a case-by-case basis.
“I feel like if it’s really busy I would obviously wear my mask,” Poole said. “If people are socially distancing I might not wear it, just because I’m vaccinated. But if I wasn’t vaccinated I would definitely wear my mask.”
But, Adams County isn’t the only area that has reason to be worried about the direction of the pandemic.
“I think we should be all concerned just in general about south-central Pennsylvania. I think you single out Adams County, but people travel all over right. So people from Adams County are coming into York. They’re coming up to Cumberland County. They’re coming up to Dauphin County,” Dr. Goedecker said.
The Delta variant is making local Katie Klosterman more wary of safety.
“I’m vaccinated but I’m not sure about the Delta variant, what that’s going to mean. So I’m not sure, big question mark,” Klosterman said.
Seeing Adams County with substantial transmission rates is reminding many that the virus is still a threat. Local Gillian Scott says she hopes people are paying attention to that.
“Be aware that it’s still a threat, still a problem. To definitely not let it fly by and definitely listen to the science for sure,” Scott said.
While masks aren’t mandated by the PA Health Department, businesses, schools, and local governments are allowed to make masking requirements if they want to do so.