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Twin Cities mayors order masking for city employees

August 3, 2021 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul said Tuesday they’ll require city employees to wear masks in indoor public spaces as the delta variant of the coronavirus spurs concern nationwide.

Mayors Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter said they’ll also require visitors to city-owned buildings to wear masks. The moves are in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC recommends masks in areas with “substantial” spread of the virus, defined as 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 people. Minneapolis’ seven-day case rate, as of Friday, was almost 79 cases per 100,000.

The mayors also urged businesses to require masks indoors to less the chances of virus spread.

Minnesota reported 1,667 more infections on Tuesday, a positivity rate of 4%. That’s just below the state’s caution level but up significantly from 1.1% in early July. The Star Tribune reports the state’s positivity rate hit 15.5% when the virus was at its most intense last fall.

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The state has given first doses of the vaccine to 69% of people 16 and older, short of the 70% goal it had hoped to reach by July 1. The latest data show a gradual increase in doses administered over a three-week period through the end of July. The state just launched an incentive program to give $100 gift cards to vaccine recipients.