With its population experiencing rising COVID-19 transmission, St. Louis County recommended Monday that everyone wear face masks when visiting indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status, a news release said.

The county is experiencing substantial transmission, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as 50 or more cases in a week per 100,000 residents. As of Monday, the case rate in St. Louis County has risen to 54.4 cases per 100,000 residents.

"We are as frustrated as anyone, but more than that, we are concerned by this growth in cases," said Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health division director. "We all want to put this pandemic behind us, but the highly contagious delta variant is demonstrating why it is so important for people to get vaccinated. There are pockets in St. Louis County that have low vaccination rates that remain concerning."

Previously, only unvaccinated people were recommended to wear masks indoors in public places. However, with the rapid growth in cases attributed to the delta variant, the county reiterated what the CDC is now recommending that even vaccinated people need to wear masks in order to maximize protection from the delta variant and prevent spreading it to others.

Signs at the Whole Foods Co-Op Hillside location Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Duluth alert customers of mask requirements at the store. Significant transmission rates in St. Louis County led the Public Health Department to make the recommendation that masks be worn in indoor public spaces. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)
Signs at the Whole Foods Co-Op Hillside location Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Duluth alert customers of mask requirements at the store. Significant transmission rates in St. Louis County led the Public Health Department to make the recommendation that masks be worn in indoor public spaces. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

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Currently in St. Louis County, 114,987 people have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This represents 67% of people over 16.

Anyone not yet vaccinated, or who is overdue for a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, can find vaccine clinics offered by St. Louis County Public Health by visiting stlouiscountymn.gov/vaccineregistration.

People also may contact their medical provider to ask about vaccine appointments, or visit mn.gov/COVID19/vaccine.

Any Minnesotan who receives their first dose of a COVID vaccine now through August 15 is eligible to receive a $100 Visa gift card from the state.