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The Hamilton County Health Department is recommending that all individuals, vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks indoors due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant and the threat of breakthrough cases for vaccinated individuals.

Becky Barnes, administrator for the health department, said in a statement Wednesday that wearing masks indoors is "in the best interest of our community."

"Although the risk of transmission from a vaccinated individual is low, many people in Hamilton County are still unvaccinated and, therefore, are at high risk of developing severe illness. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and those around you," Barnes said in a statement.

The county health department's announcement follows similar guidance announced Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The county health department also "strongly recommends" that all people wear masks in school settings.

"Many school-aged children are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, leaving them susceptible to infection," the department said in a news release. "To ensure that students and teachers are able to safely participate in in-person instruction, it is recommended that all wear masks and practice social distancing when possible."

Hamilton County Schools has said previously it will encourage face masks but not require them.

Contact Wyatt Massey at wmassey@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6249. Follow him on Twitter @news4mass.

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