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What you need to know for Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Good morning Tampa Bay!

TAMPA, Fla. — Good morning Tampa Bay! Happy hump-day. 🐪

Who needs to mask up? 

Virtually everyone in Florida needs to mask up to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its highly infectious delta variant, that is if new federal guidance is followed. 😷

The state appears "red hot" on the newest map published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows every corner of the state dealing with high transmission of coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course Tuesday on some of its masking guidelines, recommending that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where there are surging cases of COVID-19. 

Despite the new CDC guidelines, masking up will be optional in Hillsborough and Pinellas County schools.  

People who are unvaccinated have always been asked to wear a mask.

Visit the Florida Department of Health's website to find a vaccine location near you.  

RELATED: Who needs to mask up in Florida? Pretty much everyone, per CDC guidance

RELATED: Despite new CDC guidance, masks to stay optional in Hillsborough, Pinellas schools

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The level of community transmission from Monday, July 19, through Sunday, July 25.

Red tide levels in Tampa Bay at their worst in decades

If you think this year's red tide event is the worst you've seen in Tampa Bay, research now shows you're right. 

Data compiled from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA show red tide impacts in the Tampa Bay area over the decades, dating back to 1956. Scientists at the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) say this year's spike in red tide algal blooms is no coincidence  

"This year, combined with the lower rainfall, as well as the nutrients we saw from Piney Point entering the system, that made this a perfect mix for red tide to grow in the bay," said Dr. Marcus Beck, a program scientist with TBEP.

RELATED: Red tide levels in Tampa Bay at their worst in decades

Credit: TBEP
This graph shows K. brevis concentrations in Middle Tampa Bay since 1956.

Bringing home the gold 🥇

Her journey back to the Tampa Bay area from the Tokyo Olympics was long, though the memories Anastasija Zolotic made likely will last a lifetime.

She has a gold medal in taekwondo to prove it.

The 18-year-old from Largo arrived late Tuesday in Tampa International Airport, where her biggest fans — friends, family and fellow students — lined up in the terminal to welcome her home.

Zolotic won the United States' first gold medal in women's taekwondo over the weekend by beating Russian athlete Tatiana Minina 25-17 to claim the featherweight division title.

She took up taekwondo at the age of five and started winning tournaments not long thereafter. Zolotic won six U.S. Opens as a junior and senior fighter before qualifying for Team USA Olympics last spring.

RELATED: Welcome home: Olympic gold medalist Anastasija Zolotic greeted with cheers, applause

You can keep track of how all the Florida athletes competing in the Olympics are doing here.