HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Friday they are encouraging all Connecticut residents to wear face masks in public indoor spaces, due to a surge in COVID cases across the state.

The recommendation is based on data collected by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), shared in the state’s weekly COVID-19 community levels report provided by Gov Ned Lamont.

Connecticut COVID-19 Update: 7-day test positivity rate

The CDC has now listed six counties in Connecticut in the High/Orange risk category for the Coronavirus. The counties at the highest risk for COVID transmission are Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, Tolland and Windham.

New London County and Fairfield County are listed in the Yellow/Medium risk category for COVID.

COVID cases are up 35% this week but may be even higher because of at-home testing.

“There is a lot of COVID out there right now and we are concerned,” said Kevin Elak, Director of Health in Middletown.

The state health department revealed there are 4,750 current cases, which increased by over 1,500 compared to the previous week.

“Pretty high test positive rate of over around 17 percent and that’s probably an underestimate because of the home testing people do,” said Dr. Albert Shaw, Yale Medicine.

As cases climb, so do hospitalizations, which have doubled in the last month to 761.

Middletown, which has high community transmission, is asking residents to wear a mask once again when indoors and advises testing before social gatherings.

“I know we’re all tired of this and fatigued, but to protect yourself, to protect others, consider putting a mask on,” Elak said.

While many don’t want to go back to wearing a mask, Elak says it’s better than going back to where we were.