BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Department of Health on Monday issued new guidance on wearing coronavirus masks.
State health officer Nizar Wehbi says the department is aligning with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that fully vaccinated individuals can resume activities without wearing a mask indoors and outdoors.
"COVID-19 vaccines have a very high level of effectiveness. This is encouraging news. North Dakotans are slowing and can stop the spread of COVID-19 by continued and expanded participation in vaccination efforts,” said the department's chief of disease control, Kirby Kruger.
The risk of being infected or spreading COVID-19 once fully vaccinated is very low, and therefore wearing a mask if you are fully vaccinated is no longer a recommendation, the health department said in a statement.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
A recommendation remains that everyone wears masks when they are in a health care setting, when they are traveling on public transportation, including airplanes, and when they are in a business or employer that require masks, health officials said.
“North Dakotans have come together throughout this pandemic to keep our communities safe, first through mitigation and now through vaccination,” said Wehbi. “More than 50% of adults in the state have already been vaccinated and this number continues to grow. We are grateful for all the hard work and sacrifices made to get us to this point.”