Attending an outdoor event? You may want to wear a mask. Experts explain safety tips

TOPEKA (KSNT) – As fall events pick up, with large gatherings expected to draw in thousands over the weekend, state health officials are emphasizing the need to follow safety recommendations.

Deputy State Health Officer Dr. Joan Duwve said that includes wearing masks in places where social distancing isn’t possible. This usually is the case in large crowds.

“If you live in the state of Kansas and you go to a public place, you should wear a mask, outdoor spaces included if they’re going to be crowded outdoor spaces,” Dr. Duwve said.

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Dr. Duwve explained that state guidelines are in line with the CDC. Under the organization’s guidance for large gatherings, people who are fully vaccinated, but have a medical condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system, should continue to follow recommendations for those that are unvaccinated to maximize protection. One of those recommendations is wearing a well-fitted mask in places with high numbers of coronavirus cases.

“That certainly pertains to people who are immunocompromised, people who might be over the age of 65, and who might be at an increased risk of severe infection,” Duwve said.

The guidance that includes wearing a mask in areas with “high” or “substantial” transmission, extends to people who are fully vaccinated as well, especially in crowded outdoor areas. It’s also recommended if you’re coming in contact with someone who’s not fully vaccinated themselves.

While Dr. Duwve said the CDC may advise that it’s okay not to wear masks in areas with lower spread of the virus, she said following all safety measures is the best way to stay safe especially as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads, including using proper hygiene and getting vaccinated.

According to the CDC, attending a large gathering or event increases your chance of being in close contact with people outside your household and being exposed to COVID-19. If you had close contact with people you don’t live with, it’s important to get tested. Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. For those that are fully vaccinated, and may not test positive for coronavirus after large gatherings, the CDC also recommends getting tested 3-5 days after the exposure, even if you don’t have any symptoms, and wearing a mask indoors in public for 14 days following the exposure or until your test result is negative.