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35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now considered COVID-19 hotspots

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in public, indoor places in these counties.

Nearly three dozen Minnesota counties, including most of those in the Twin Cities metro, have "high" or "substantial" rates of COVID-19 transmission — meaning masks are recommended in indoor public spaces regardless of an individual's vaccination status.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this new guidance Tuesday, citing the rapidly increasing threat of the delta variant and rising infection numbers in many parts of the country.

Related: CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

The agency recommends that in areas with "substantial" or "high" transmission of COVID-19, everyone wear a mask while in public, indoor spaces, whether they have been fully vaccinated or not.

When the CDC revealed the update guidance earlier this week, 14 Minnesota counties fell into the substantial or high categories. Three days later, 35 Minnesota counties pass the threshold, including six of the seven Twin Cities metro counties. (Carver remains in the "moderate" level for now.)

The three counties with "high" transmission as of Friday afternoon's most recent figures: Dodge, Morrison and Lake (in red on the map above).

Six of the Twin Cities metro's seven counties have "substantial" transmission:

  1. Hennepin
  2. Ramsey
  3. Dakota
  4. Scott
  5. Anoka
  6. Washington

As do these 26 additional counties throughout the state, listed here in alphabetical order:

  1. Aitkin
  2. Benton
  3. Crow Wing
  4. Douglas
  5. Fillmore
  6. Freeborn
  7. Hubbard
  8. Isanti
  9. Kandiyohi
  10. Lake of the Woods
  11. Le Sueur
  12. McLeod
  13. Meeker
  14. Stearns
  15. Nobles
  16. Redwood
  17. Renville
  18. Rice
  19. Rock
  20. Sherburne
  21. Swift
  22. Traverse
  23. Waseca
  24. Wilkin
  25. Winona
  26. Wright

Gov. Tim Walz, in the latest push to improve the state's flagging rate of vaccines administered, said Thursday all Minnesotans who get a vaccine through Aug. 15 will get $100.

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