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9 Arizona counties have 'high' level of COVID-19, masks encouraged indoors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent have recently ranked many Arizona counties in the "high" category of community levels for COVID-19.

PHOENIX — Maricopa County and eight other Arizona counties have a "high" level of COVID-19 transmissions and residents in those regions should start wearing masks inside public places, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Updated numbers tracked by the CDC show more counties in Arizona are in the "red" zone for how the agency assesses the prevalence of COVID-19 in local communities. 

The CDC has three rankings for COVID-19 community levels: low, medium, and high. Metrics are determined by analyzing a county's COVID-19 weekly case numbers and hospital admissions.  

RELATED: Arizona health officials warn of COVID-19 cases in certain counties

Less than a month ago, only Navajo and Apache counties were in the "high" category of the CDC's COVID-19 scale. Now Maricopa, Gila, Mohave, Coconino, La Paz, Pinal, and Yavapai counties have also been placed in the "high" ranking. 

The designation comes with the recommendation that residents in those nine counties should wear masks inside public places. 

Pima, Yuma, and Cochise counties are in the "medium" category, meaning residents in those areas should be cautious about contracting COVID-19 and consider consulting a doctor on whether they need to wear a mask. 

Many Arizona communities had been in the "low" category after COVID-19 cases dropped substantially in late January. But case numbers started to steadily creep back up in April.  

Arizona's current infection rate for COVID-19 is still far below the winter surge experienced a few months ago. 

If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they should stay home for at least five full days then wear a mask and maintain physical distance until a full 10 days have passed, even if they don’t exhibit symptoms.

More information about the CDC guidelines can be found here.

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