There is now a high level of community transmission of COVID-19 throughout the entire Blue Ridge Health District. As we experience this surge in cases, we urge all individuals, businesses, and other organizations to take prevention measures that includes masks indoors and physical distancing.
A high level of transmission means that people are much more likely to come into contact with someone who has the virus when they are out in the community. And while vaccination remains the most important and effective way to stop COVID-19 in our communities, using additional prevention measures also helps prevent the virus from spreading. 

The Delta variant is the dominant strain of the virus and the primary driver of recent high transmission rates of COVID-19 because it spreads more easily than earlier strains of the virus. 

While the vaccines are effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated may get COVID-19. These are known as breakthrough infections. In those cases, the illness is usually mild, but those people still may spread the virus to others.

The best way to slow the emergence of new variants is to reduce the spread of infection with vaccination and by combining other prevention strategies to protect yourself and others around you. BRHD advises residents to:
  • Wear a mask indoors in public, even if you are fully vaccinated.
  • Get fully vaccinated. Find the nearest location to get your vaccine here.
  • Stay at least six feet from others who do not live with you.
  • Avoid crowds, large indoor gatherings,  and poorly ventilated spaces, especially if you are unvaccinated or immunocompromised.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Stay home if you are infected with COVID-19.
  • Stay away from others and get tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Find free COVID-19 testing here.

Helping to stop community transmission also means businesses, public officials and community organizations can do their part and are urged to take the following steps:
  • Urge customers, visitors and participants in local activities to wear a mask indoors.
  • Make use of social distancing inside facilities, reminding those inside to stay six feet apart.
  • Encourage frequent hand-washing.
  • Keep your facility well-ventilated. 
  • Urge employees and others to stay home if they have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and to call their healthcare provider.
  • Limit large gatherings indoors and consider encouraging telework to the extent possible.
  • Promote vaccination for employees and visitors.
The best way to stop variant strains from developing is to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Please visit VDH’s webpage about Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19 for more information about all variants of concern identified in Virginia. Learn more about transmission in communities here.
COVID Testing: Available in BRHD
To meet local demand, BRHD is hosting COVID testing in each locality one day every week from 5:00-7:00pm. Appointments are not required, but may be made the two days prior by calling the BRHD COVID Resource Hotline. Testing is available:
  • Mondays- Greene County Health Department 
  • Tuesdays- Louisa County Health Department
  • Wednesdays- Fluvanna County Health Department
  • Thursdays- Nelson County Health Department
  • Fridays- former J.C. Penney parking lot at Fashion Square Mall in Charlottesville/Albemarle

In addition to the above testing options, UVA Health offers free COVID-19 PCR tests in the greater Charlottesville/Albemarle area:
  • Mondays: The Church of the Incarnation, 6:00-7:30pm,
  • Tuesdays: Mt. Zion African Baptist Church, 5:30-7:00pm.

Testing is also available at the former J.C. Penney parking lot in Charlottesville on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 3:00-7:00pm.

All tests are FREE and weather dependent. Results distributed online through UVA’s MyChart medical record system. Negative results are NOT called by either UVA or BRHD. Visit our testing webpage for updated information and schedules.
Narcan Saves Lives!
Fatal overdose rates in Virginia have been increasing since the start of the pandemic, with studies showing a more than 40% increase in 2020 alone. In support of Overdose Awareness Day this August 31, the Community Mental Health & Wellness Coalition, Region Ten, and the Blue Ridge Health District are encouraging Virginians who are, or may know someone at-risk for an opioid overdose to learn how to administer Narcan/Naloxone through one of our free events.  
  • Region Ten offers REVIVE opioid overdose reversal training on the 2nd Wednesday of each month and can provide free Narcan from their Preston Avenue location to anyone who has completed this training. The next training will be held on September 8, from 12:30-1:30pm. To register, email and learn more at our website.

  • BRHD offers free drive-thru Narcan the 3rd Monday of each month from 3:00-4:00pm at the Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Department (1138 Rose Hill Drive, Charlottesville). Along with free Narcan, free in-home HIV test kits, safer sex items, education, and more are also provided. No ID or appointment is required. For more information, call 434-484-0255 or 434-989-3292.
Test & Go: Free STI Screenings Return

It is estimated that tens of thousands of cases of sexually transmitted infections nationwide were missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is expected to result in potentially severe outcomes due to delayed detection and timely treatment. In the U.S., this occurs in the context of an unprecedented rise in syphilis cases, as well as increases in gonorrhea and chlamydia, over the past five years. There is a strong demand for STI testing, as well as increased numbers of people needing treatment and case management once services return to pre-pandemic levels.

The first Wednesday of each month, BRHD hosts Test & Go at the Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Department from 4:30-6:30pm. This clinic provides free screenings for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and syphilis, as well as free safer sex items like condoms, lube, and dental dams.

Have questions? For more information call 434-972-6269.
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 Sabrina Torgesen, BRHD COVID-19 Test Site Coordinator.
How long have you been at BRHD?
Since June 2020
What is your job?
I coordinate COVID-19 test sites within the Blue Ridge Health District. This includes identifying locations for testing, planning the layout and traffic flow, organizing staff and volunteers for everyday tasks and testing sites,, making sure all specimens collected get to the lab for processing, and so much more. It can be a lot of work, but I really enjoy being able to help offer these important services to our community!
Who are you outside of BRHD?
I am originally from New Mexico, but Charlottesville feels like home. I moved here in 2019 so my husband could attend law school at UVA. We enjoy going for hikes, traveling, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. My husband and I welcomed a baby boy in March!
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, maintain physical distance, wash hands frequently and properly, and limit indoor social gatherings.