ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany mayor has reinstituted a mask mandate for all city employees and within all city buildings regardless of vaccination status. The mandate is effective immediately.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan said the city is seeing an increase in community spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus. Albany County is listed as having “substantial” community spread by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under this ranking, the CDC recommends a return to masking. Health officials said areas reporting more than 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days will receive a substantial ranking.

“We want to keep our employees, their families, and our community safe, and we hope this action will encourage others to implement indoor mask mandates until our risk level falls below current levels,” Sheehan said.

In addition, the mayor said she encourages all city employees and residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The only way to prevent these mutations is to reduce the number of people who become sick with COVID. The vaccine is safe, effective, and free,” she added. “Children and people with compromised immune systems cannot get the vaccine, which makes it all the more important for those of us who can get vaccinated to do our part to keep them safe.”

On Thursday, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said 67% of Albany County’s population has received at least the first dose, and 62.2% has been fully vaccinated. The first dose vaccination rate for the county’s 18+ population is now up to 77.8%.

As of August 5, all counties in the Capital Region were listed as having substantial spread with the exception of Greene County, which is now considered to have moderate spread.