Alexandria Health Department Recommends Mask-Wearing Indoors With Rise of Delta Variant Cases

Pixabay photo by Juraj Varga

This article has been updated for clarity regarding the number of average cases on Alexandria’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

ALEXANDRIA, VA -With the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading nationwide and a recent uptick here in Alexandria, the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) is recommending that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors to mitigate the spread of this more contagious strain. According to VCU Health, it is 40 to 60 percent more contagious than the strains seen previously.

AHD is reporting a state of substantial transmission with about 62 cases a day per 100,000 residents in the last week.. The third highest level on Alexandria’s COVID-19 Dashboard, Substantial means that there are between 50 and 99 new cases daily.

So, how can you protect yourself and others? The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) advises following these steps:

  1. Get vaccinated! The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free. If you’ve been waiting for the right moment, this is it. Visit alexandriava.gov/Vaccines or call 703.746.4988 to find a clinic near you.
  2. Mask up. Even if you’re vaccinated, wear a mask in public indoor settings when you’ll be around other people. You are legally able to set mask requirements for your institution or organization. Post signage around your workplace as a reminder to employees and visitors.
  3. Stay home when sick. Look out for your coworkers and friends and stay home if you’re not feeling well.
  4. Get tested. Free COVID-19 tests are quick and easy. Book one if you’re sick or were around someone who was at curative.com.
  5. Share the news. We know that not everyone receives emails from AHD. Please share this information with friends, family, neighbors, customers, and coworkers so that they can make informed decisions about their health.

“Although the vast majority of COVID-19 cases still occur in unvaccinated individuals, some vaccinated people can get sick and pass it to other people,” said Rachel Stadling, VDH Environmental Health Manager. “In most of these instances, the person may have very mild or no symptoms, but can still be contagious.”

In light of recent developments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has even reversed their stance on masking indoors for students and teachers. As of Wednesday, Gov. Northam and his staff were reviewing updated guidelines. And on Friday, the governor recommended masks indoors for all.

“Masks are effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Northam wrote on Twitter. “But getting vaccinated is the surest way we can bring this pandemic to an end. All three vaccines are safe, effective, and free,”

Thursday alone saw 1,101 new cases in the Commonwealth.

A July 30 Washington Post article about a Massachusetts outbreak reported a scientific analysis showed that three-quarters of people infected with the Delta variant had been vaccinated. This finding helped medical experts decide on encouraging mask-wearing indoors for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

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