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Health, Science & Tech

Pennsylvania Follows Relaxed Federal Guidance On Masks

dinosaur dippy wearing mask oakland coronavirus covid-19 - katie b.jpg
Katie Blackley
/
90.5 WESA
Dippy the dinosaur dons a mask in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood.

Pennsylvania automatically adopted new, relaxed federal guidance on mask-wearing for people who are vaccinated, while the Philadelphia Phillies said Thursday it will increase seating capacity at home games.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidance on mask-wearing, saying fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear them in uncrowded situations indoors or outside at all, even at a crowded event.

The federal agency advised following guidance at workplaces and businesses, and recommended vaccinated people wear masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals and prisons.

Pennsylvania's comprehensive masking requirement is still in place for unvaccinated people, until 70% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated, the state Department of Health said.

More than 700,000 people in Allegheny County have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data.

Sarah Boden reports that’s roughly 58% of the county’s total population, and more than 10 percentage points higher than the national vaccination rate—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among those most recently vaccinated include kids as young as 12. The CDC gave the greenlight for younger teens to receive the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday—though some providers in the county jumped the gun, immunizing kids before federal approval.

Thanks to the vaccine, case numbers have decreased significantly. Still, many people remain unvaccinated and vulnerable to the virus. The hope is that kids getting vaccinated will further tamp down on transmission. Both Pfizer and Moderna are conducting vaccine trials in infants as young as six months. The Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine—which has the least stringent storage requirements of all three vaccines—is currently in trials with teens.

Phillies welcome more fans

The Phillies, meanwhile, will welcome up to 16,000 fans to the stands at Citizens Bank Park against the Boston Red Sox starting May 22. That's in line with the city relaxing social-distancing guidelines from 6 feet to 3 feet.

Seating capacity will increase to 100% for the rest of the season beginning June 12 for a two-game set against the New York Yankees.

The team said a limited number of seating pods will be available for fans who want a “socially-distanced environment.” Tailgating also will be permitted in parking lots surrounding the ballpark, it said.

Face coverings are still required when attending games, under city guidelines, the team said.