RICHMOND, Va. – Much of central Virginia is now considered to be under a high COVID-19 community level, according to updated data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and the City of Richmond are in the high COVID-19 community level.
The rest of Central Virginia’s locations are ranked in both middle spots, while Dinwiddie fell to low levels and Petersburg stayed at low levels this week.
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The agency ranks communities as low, moderate, or high based on a combination of three metrics: hospitalizations, hospital capacity, and the number of cases in the community.
Emily Rich, an epidemiologist with the Richmond Henrico Health District, said each tier has different recommendations about what the public should do. The biggest change for those in the high areas is the recommendation to dress up in public indoor places regardless of vaccination status.
“In particular, people who are immune-compromised are at high risk for serious illnesses or people who may be around people who are at higher risk,” Rich said. “We also recommend that masks be worn when traveling on public transport.”
The epidemiologist Dr. Gonzalo Bearman, chief of infectious diseases at VCU Health, added that people considered high-risk should consider avoiding indoor public spaces whenever possible.
Bearman wasn’t surprised Metro Richmond jumped too high.
“I think this is an important reminder for all of us that COVID-19 has not gone away,” Bearman said. “It’s also a reminder for many of us that if you aren’t vaccinated, now is the time to get vaccinated. If you’re vaccinated and eligible for a booster, it’s time for a booster.”
Bearman hopes people will follow the recommendations to stem the current surge and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed like in previous waves of the virus.
“We are certainly not nearly as overwhelmed by COVID-19 in hospital this time around, but certainly we don’t want to take it lightly either, be well prepared and keep our finger on the pulse. ‘ said Barman.
Officials noted that while many people are likely to gather outdoors over the long bank holiday weekend, social distancing is still recommended.
“Transmission seems to be lower outdoors,” Rich explained. “[But] If you’re in a heavily crowded area where you can’t social distance, it’s always a good idea to put on this mask, especially if it makes you feel safer and more comfortable.
Along with masking, officials recommend keeping a supply of home testing kits on hand.
“In Richmond we can get free trials from some libraries. You can also order tests from COVIDtest.gov,” Rich said.
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Virginians age 5 and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. Go to Vaccine Finder to search for specific vaccines available in your area or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).
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Have you been fully vaccinated?
Fully vaccinated people are:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, e.g. B. the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
How to protect yourself and others by being fully vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are effective in protecting you from disease. Related to what we know Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can do some things they stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We are still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should do so continue to take precautions– like wearing a mask, keeping 6 feet away from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces – in public places until we know more.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are Not determined for healthcare.
For more information from the Virginia Department of Health, click here.