Philadelphians are advised to begin wearing masks indoors once again, even if they are fully vaccinated. The Philadelphia Department of Health said on Thursday that anyone visiting an indoor public space should wear a face mask, regardless of their vaccination status.

The city does not appear to be officially requiring that face masks be worn at this time, but this announcement has many wondering if such a decision could be imminent.

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The Department of Health said they are concerned about a small increase in hospitalizations among kids under the age of 12— as they're too young to get vaccinated. 

“It’s time for all of us to do what we need to do to protect our city’s kids,” Philadelphia's acting Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said in a written release. “That means getting fully vaccinated if you haven’t yet, and it means all of us going back to wearing masks in public.”

Philadelphia reported 56 cases of the COVID-19 virus on Monday. That's a sharp increase. As earlier this month (and for much of June) the city had an average of about 24 cases per day, the Inquirer reports. 

“Now is the time to take action. Doing it now will help us head it off before it gets to a point where it really gets bad," James Garrow, a spokesperson for the city Department of Public Health said on Thursday.

The city's original mask mandate was lifted just over a month ago on June 11.

Across the country, there has been a concerning rise in COVID-19 cases in the past month as the delta variant of the virus spreads.

Vaccinated persons have reported an increase in breakthrough infections, however, their cases are often not as serious as a person who is not vaccinated, officials say.

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