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Stanislaus County health officials say new measurement is not an accurate representation

MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A new measure that examines coronavirus risk sees Stanislaus County as high risk, but health officials said their numbers tell a different story.

“I’m really happy we’re finally moving in this direction,” said Modesto resident Edgar Fierros.

The state’s mask mandate was lifted last week, but even so, residents of downtown Modesto were still masking up.

“I think anybody should be able to do whatever they want,” Fierros said.

Recently released Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines have changed how the federal health agency determines whether to recommend face coverings. In medium and low transmission areas, most people are no longer recommended to cover up.

A recently released CDC map shows which local counties remain in the top category. It includes Nevada, Sierra, Yuba, Sutter, Solano, Tuolumne, and Stanislaus counties. In these areas, the CDC recommends people always wear face masks.

“We’re on track with declining cases, so hopefully that continues,” said Kamlesh Kaur of the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency.

The agency said it was at the end of the wave and was only handling 24 cases per 100,000 people.

“The numbers have come down significantly since we got our raise,” Kaur said.

The county disputes the CDC’s assessment that their community’s level of COVID-19 is high and said the CDC is using outdated information on case rates.

“We’ll see if the CDC updates it next week,” Kaur said.

Kaur said they are not off the hook yet, but are in a much better position than just a few weeks ago. They still advise people to wear their masks to stay safe. The county is also advising people to get vaccinated because only 69% of Stanislaus County residents have received a dose of the vaccine.

“The majority of cases are among those who are unvaccinated or have not received their booster,” Kaur said.

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, many hope that this will finally be the end.

“It’s good. I feel like I’ve been stuck inside your house for so long… It’s really a great stress reliever,” Fierros said.

State guidelines still recommend people wear face masks indoors.