High Transmission & Delta Variant
Since January, more than 99% of COVID cases and 98% of COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths have been among people who are not fully vaccinated. Of more than 4.6 million Virginians who are fully vaccinated, there have been 1,566 breakthrough cases, 145 hospitalizations, and 42 deaths. These numbers prove that despite aggressive virus variants, COVID-19 vaccines remain extremely effective.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and BRHD recommend that everyone in areas with high or substantial spread of COVID-19 wear a mask. Find this data updated weekly on the CDC website
  • Albemarle: SUBSTANTIAL
  • Charlottesville: SUBSTANTIAL
  • Fluvanna: Moderate
  • Greene: HIGH

The CDC also recommends: 
  • Wearing masks regardless of the level of transmission, especially 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.
  • Getting tested 3-5 days after exposure to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
  • Universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. 

All updates to mask recommendations can be found on the CDC website.
Back to School: Wear Masks
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education have released new guidance for PreK-12 schools for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. The Interim Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Virginia PreK-12 Schools reinforces the importance of in-person learning and supports school divisions in making decisions on masking and other prevention measures, as informed by local data and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition to this guidance, the Blue Ridge Health District has recommended the following for schools within the District:
  • Universal masking for all grades for all staff, teachers, and students while inside.
  • Vulnerable, vaccinated adults/children (older adults, those with compromised immune systems, those with many chronic medical conditions) should resume wearing a mask in indoor locations that are crowded or in locations that may have individuals who are not vaccinated.
  • Adults who live with or frequently see either unvaccinated individuals or vaccinated individuals who would be considered medically vulnerable, should resume mask wearing in indoor locations that are crowded or in locations that may have individuals who are not vaccinated.
  • Anyone who feels more comfortable with the extra protection of a mask should be free to use one. Individuals in communities with high COVID burden should wear a mask indoors.

On Thursday, August 5, BRHD hosted a virtual Town Hall with local pediatricians to discuss COVID updates and back-to-school safety. A recording of the entire Town Hall is available for anyone who missed the live event.
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics
Anyone 12 years of age and older qualifies for a free COVID vaccine. The Blue Ridge Health District continues to offer vaccines by appointment at walk-in. Get your vaccine: 
  • At Local Health Departments: Each local health department in BRHD offers vaccines one day per week from 9:30am-3:30pm. To find out which day your local health department is offering vaccines, call 434-972-6261.
  • At the J. Crew site: The former J. Crew location in Fashion Square Mall is administering Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson Mondays and Thursdays (3:30-6:30pm) and Tuesdays and Wednesdays (10:30am-3:30pm).
  • At Shot on the Spot: Each week, we are in the community providing vaccines near you! We offer Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer as both scheduled appointments and walk-ups. For a full list of upcoming events, visit our vaccine webpage.
  • With Homebound Vaccines: Can’t come to us? We will come to you! Through a partnership with UVA Health and the Charlottesville Fire Department, BRHD is offering vaccinations in the comfort of your own home. As an added bonus, we can check or install smoke detectors, too! To schedule vaccines for your home, call 434-972-6261.

In addition to BRHD efforts, a number of local pharmacies and providers offer free COVID vaccines. To find a vaccine near you, visit vaccines.gov.
Breastfeeding Awareness Month
August 2021 is Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Virginia. Breastfeeding is good for both infants and mothers. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants because as an infant grows, breast milk changes to meet their nutritional needs. Breastfeeding can also help protect the infant and mother against certain illnesses and diseases. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. We support parents in their breastfeeding journeys and want to remind everyone that it is legal for mothers to breastfeed in public throughout the Commonwealth.

In Action: BRHD's Mobile Health Unit
Did you catch Mobi, BRHD’s Mobile Health Unit, on the road this week?
Here’s our team at two great events: Seaman's Orchard and Fitzgerald Orchard where 26 people were vaccinated!

Every day of the week, our team is vaccinating throughout the District in neighborhoods, at events, and with community partners. So far, our crew already held six mobile vaccine events this week, and isn’t through yet!
This weekend, we will be at:
  • Westhaven Health Day - Saturday, August 7, 10am-1pm
  • New Fork River Baptist Church’s Homecoming Revival Celebration - Sunday, August 8, 1:00-3:00pm

Out and about and want to snap a picture of Mobi, or better yet, get vaccinated? Find out where we will be by calling our BRHD COVID Hotline Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm at 434-972-6261 or by visiting our vaccine webpage.
Meet the BRHD Team
Each week, we introduce you to one of our Health District Heroes so you can get to know the people working to keep you safe and healthy every day. This week, meet Sierra Loudermilk, Vaccine Data Management & Systems Specialist.
How long have you been at BRHD?
Since February 2021
What is your job?
I get in contact with community members and local businesses that need vaccines and schedule their appointments over the phone/email.
Who are you outside of BRHD?
When I'm not signing people up for vaccines, you can usually find me relaxing on the couch next to my cat, Peanut, with a dense science fiction book in my lap!
Remember, vaccination is only one tool to end the pandemic.
We need to use them all in order to return to normal day-to-day activities.
Continue to wear face masks if you or those around you are not fully vaccinated, maintain physical distance, wash hands frequently and properly, and limit indoor social gatherings.