Essex County Virginia

Three Rivers Pandemic Update 8-2-2021

Posted on 08/03/2021

           

Three Rivers Pandemic Update                                                 08/02/2021

 

Pandemic Status: The United States is in a pandemic surge, driven by the Delta variant.  Three Rivers cases are rising.

  • The Delta COVID 19 variant has become dominant in the United States; the current case rate in the US is over 89,000/day 7 day rolling average.Almost every state is reporting increasing case counts.
  • Virginia is increasing in new case rates; currently we are over 890/day 7 day average.
  • Three Rivers is also increasing; we had 163 new cases in Three Rivers last week, up from 79 the week before.
  • Across Virginia, 48.9% of individuals under the age of 18 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.About 72.4% of the population over 18 has received at least one dose. In Three Rivers, 28.4% of our population under 18 has received at least one dose.About 61.6% of our population over age 18 has received at least one dose.Over 80% of our Three Rivers residents aged 65+ have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Everyone age 12 and older is now eligible for vaccination in Virginia.  The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in adolescents age 12-15.  Twelve to seventeen year olds must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, unless the vaccination is offered in schools while they are in session.  Sites operated by the Virginia Department of Health require the parent or guardian to verbally confirm a minor’s date of birth; however, other providers may require additional proof of age.  It is recommended that you check with the facility that is offering the vaccination about requirements for proof of age.  Please visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA to find vaccination opportunities.

  • If you have doubts or questions about COVID 19 vaccination, consult with your health care provider to consider the facts they tell you and to make a decision whether or not you will take the vaccine.To help you form an opinion, please consult credible authorities; the CDC and the World Health Organization are great sources of information.Professional societies like the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Family Physicians are also good.The information available through any of these organizations is based on scientific evidence and best scientific judgement.Other sources, such as universities and major health care organizations (Mayo Clinic for example), are also trustworthy.Here are links to informative information about vaccine myths and facts:

    Virus and Vaccine Update

  • The COVID 19 virus continues to genetically drift.Many COVID 19 variants are in the United States now.The variant from India (B.1.617.2, also known as the Delta variant) is much more transmissible than other variants and is now dominant in the United States, responsible for more than 80% of COVID 19 cases in many areas.
  • The Delta variant generates over 1000 times the viral load of previous variants, making it much more contagious.It is specifically causing more hospitalizations and untoward health outcomes among unvaccinated people, including those who are younger.We are also seeing numbers of breakthrough infections among vaccinated people at higher rates than we have previously seen.Recent evidence strongly indicates the Delta variant can be transmitted to others by those experiencing a breakthrough infection.
  • Our vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID 19 infection.Over 98% of persons hospitalized with COVID 19 currently are unvaccinated.Vaccinated people are highly unlikely to experience severe disease, hospitalization, or death from the Delta variant of COVID 19.
  • Health officials and vaccine manufacturers are in discussion concerning the need for a booster shot campaign.Booster vaccines are being developed, while the immunity data are still evolving.At this point there is not enough evidence for the CDC and FDA to recommend booster vaccinations, although more authorities are discussing a possible booster shot for persons aged 65 (and older) as well as immunocompromised individuals.Israel is offering a booster shot to older and immunocompromised individuals now.
  • The VDH has established a COVID 19 Variants of Concern Dashboard.The dashboard can be accessed here:https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-data-insights/variants-of-concern/
  • We are in a race to vaccinate people as fast as we can to keep case levels as low as possible and limit variant evolution. The higher the case levels in the population, the more opportunity exists for the virus to continue to evolve.
  • All three vaccine types in use in the United States (Moderna, Pfizer, and Janssen) are available across the Commonwealth.All of them are very effective in preventing serious and critical COVID 19 disease, and almost eliminate the risk of hospitalization and death.We recommend vaccination for everyone eligible in the strongest possible terms.

 

Current COVID 19 precautionary recommendations

 

  • The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Declaration of Emergency remains in effect.
  • Individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated should continue wearing a mask, practice physical distancing, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces in accordance with the CDC’s Guidance for Unvaccinated People, which can be found here:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.This is especially important with the increasing prevalence of the Delta COVID 19 variant.
  • Last week the CDC changed recommendations for fully vaccinated people. This was due to the emergence of the Delta variant, which is much more transmissible than other COVID 19 types.The CDC:
    • Added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
    • Added information that fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
    • Added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
    • Recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
  • All individuals in healthcare settings, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters, should mask regardless of vaccination status.VDH maintains an updated list of mask requirements and mask recommendations here:https://www.vdgh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/cloth-face-covers/.
  • A map showing indicators of community spread can be found here:https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/key-measures/pandemic-metrics/school-metrics/
  • Virginia’s law against covering the face was suspended or “waived” during the Governor’s Declaration of Emergency. The law was intended to prohibit people from wearing a mask in order to hide their identity. This law should not discourage anyone from wearing a mask for the purpose of protecting themselves and others from illness. There is no legal barrier to wearing masks to protect oneself and others from the virus, nor should anyone be penalized for doing so. While the law prohibits wearing a mask when the purpose for wearing the mask is to conceal one’s identity, it does not prohibit wearing masks when the purpose for doing so is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 illness or for protection from exposure to infectious diseases.

COVID 19 Vaccine Safety

  • The COVID 19 vaccines are among the best and safest vaccines ever developed.As with all vaccines and medications, there are potential adverse effects.All these adverse events following vaccination are extremely rare, and the risk of COVID 19 disease far exceeds the risk of any of the adverse events that have been reported.Health authorities in the Unites States agree that:

 “The vaccines are safe and effective, and they prevent COVID-19 illness. They will help protect you and your family and keep your community safe. We strongly encourage everyone age 12 and older who are eligible to receive the vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization to get vaccinated, as the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any harm. Especially with the troubling Delta variant increasingly circulating, and more readily impacting younger people, the risks of being unvaccinated are far greater than any rare side effects from the vaccines. If you get COVID-19, you could get severely ill and be hospitalized or even die. Even if your infection is mild, you or your child could face long-term symptoms following COVID-19 infection such as neurological problems or diminished lung function.”

How to volunteer with the Three Rivers Health District

  • The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), our volunteers, are absolutely critical to our efforts at all times.We are extremely grateful for our volunteers, we could not carry on this pandemic mitigation effort without them.
  • If you are interested in becoming an MRC volunteer, or have family or friends that are interested, please visit www.vamrc.org to learn more.
  • If you have questions about the process, please reach out to the Three Rivers Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator at 804-758-2381. We welcome your help and participation in the fight against COVID 19, and in all other health department missions.

Testing, pandemic containment efforts

  • COVID 19 testing will remain very important in the coming months. We have resumed community testing in conjunction with our continued vaccination outreach.
  • Our containment team is investigating all new cases with contact tracing of all high risk exposures.These activities will be very important to keep outbreaks from occurring and to keep new cases at a minimum, especially with increasing prevalence of the Delta variant.

K-12 Update     

  • The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) are partnering to launch a new COVID-19 testing program for the 2021 - 2022 school year, Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA). ViSSTA will provide testing vendors, supplies, and staffing to support an end-to-end COVID-19 testing experience with the goal of maximizing resources available to schools to navigate full in-person instruction in the fall and minimizing added responsibilities to existing school staff.More details are available at the VDH K-12 testing website here:https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/k-12-testing/
  • The CDC published revised guidance for COVID 19 prevention in Child Care and K-12 settings, which can be found here:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html
  • The VDH also published revised guidance last week:
    • There is greater emphasis on promoting vaccination among teachers, staff, families, and eligible students as a critical prevention strategy.
    • In indoor K-12 settings, a student who is within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student is not considered a close contact as long as both students are wearing masks and the school has other prevention strategies in place.
      • This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in indoor K-12 settings.
      • Having direct exposure to respiratory secretions of someone with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on) is also considered close contact in any setting.
      • Persons who are fully vaccinated and those who have tested positive in the last 90 days do not need to be quarantined if exposed to a case.
    • Last week, CDC recommended universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in all K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
  • The VDH is evaluating the new CDC masking recommendations and will make definitive recommendations at the state level soon.

Useful links