We will share a snapshot of BRHD COVID-19 data each week. This week, we are sharing the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in the District and in each of our localities as compared to last week. Since September 4, 713 people have tested positive for COVID in our District (similar to last week). 96% of all of these cases are the highly contagious Delta variant.

Based on what we know now, the vaccines protect against known variants, including the Delta variant. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best ways that we can protect ourselves from this virus. Unvaccinated people are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19. Cases in fully vaccinated people are uncommon. When they do occur, though, current information suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant are at right for transmitting it to others. However, these individuals are likely infectious for a shorter period of time as compared to unvaccinated people. Because the Delta variant is spreading so quickly, we recommend that everyone get vaccinated and wear masks indoors (regardless of vaccination status).
Case Investigation Update and
Close Contact Guidance
Due to significant increase in COVID-19 cases, BRHD may not contact every positive individual for contact tracing. We are prioritizing cases who may be at greater risk of exposure, are not eligible to receive the vaccine, or may expose a larger number of people. This includes students and children in pre-k through 12, UVA students, and individuals in congregate care living facilities. We will still contact individuals who test positive at a BRHD testing site to provide information and guidance on how they can assist with the contact tracing process. 

Guidelines for People Who Test Positive for COVID-19: 
  • Stay home.
  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members whenever possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom whenever possible.
  • Avoid physical contact with other members of the household.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask if you must enter shared spaces within the home.
  • Inform your contacts (the people you have been around) of your positive status.

Guidelines for Close Contacts:
If you are unvaccinated and a close contact of a positive case: 
  • The safest option is to quarantine for 14 days after your most recent exposure. Even if you test negative within that time frame, continue quarantining. There are options for reduced quarantine for people experiencing logistical or financial hardship here.
  • If no symptoms occur, we recommend testing between 5-7 days after the last date of a known exposure.
  • Test immediately if symptoms do occur.

If you are vaccinated and a close contact of a positive case:
  • Vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine, but should look out for symptoms for 14 days after contact and seek testing if symptoms occur. 
  • If no symptoms occur, we recommend testing between 3-5 days after a known exposure when available.
  • If symptoms occur, test immediately.

Employers and schools may have a different quarantine or return to work/school policy. Please consult with your employer or children's school for more information.
Update on Boosters from Dr. Avula
On Thursday, September 9, the following statement from state vaccination coordinator Dr. Danny Avula, MD, MPH was issued regarding COVID-19 vaccine boosters:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not yet issued guidance on whether the general public should get COVID-19 vaccine boosters or when. This issue remains under discussion in the scientific and medical communities. For the time being, the Virginia Department of Health will continue to follow CDC guidance that only immunocompromised individuals should get a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee  is scheduled to meet next week to discuss the topic in open session on Friday, September 17, 2021. Should the FDA amend an Emergency Use Authorization for a booster dose, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) would then meet to provide recommendations on who should receive the booster dose and in what interval. The topic of whether a booster dose of vaccine is needed is currently being discussed and studied in scientific and medical circles.
Updates to BRHD COVID Testing
Change in Test Resulting Process: 
On Tuesday, September 7th, BRHD began using the DCLS lab for all COVID-19 tests conducted by BRHD (at local health departments and Wednesday-Friday at Fashion Square Mall). BRHD made this change in labs in order to provide COVID-19 test results more efficiently while also providing negative test result documentation that some individuals may need.
This will change how people receive their COVID-19 test results, effective immediately, as follows:
  • Negative results: Individuals will now receive an email with negative test results. This email will be confidential, HIPAA compliant, and include documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result that can easily be printed. If someone does not have an email, BRHD will call them with the negative results, but email remains the quickest way to receive results.

  • Positive results: Individuals will receive a phone call if they test positive for COVID-19.

All test results, regardless of result, will be available within 72 hours.
Change in Age Limit for COVID Testing
Starting September 13, 2021, BRHD is lowering the age limit for testing at all BRHD community sites to ages 6 months and older.

COVID-19 Testing Reminders
UVA will continue to offer testing every Monday and Tuesday in Charlottesville and deliver results through MyChart. Results that were previously available in MyChart will remain accessible to patients needing documentation or confirmation of results. 
As a reminder, individuals can schedule a test through BRHD by calling our hotline at 434-972-6261 (open M-F 8am-4:30pm). Upcoming testing sites can be found on the BRHD Testing webpage.
Vaccines Coming to High School Football Games
BRHD is kicking off the football season with free COVID vaccines at local high school games! Beginning September 17 and continuing through November 5, BRHD will be attending football games throughout the District with free Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for anyone 12 years and older:
  • Friday, September 17: Louisa County
  • Thursday, September 23: Albemarle
  • Friday, September 24: William Monroe
  • Friday, October 8: Louisa County
  • Friday, October 22: Fluvanna County
  • Friday, October 29: Charlottesville
  • Friday, November 5: William Monroe

Appointments are not needed, but can be made ahead of time by calling the BRHD COVID Resource Hotline (434-972-6261) or visiting the BRHD vaccine webpage. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a consenting adult.

Unable to make it to a football game, but have an upcoming event where you want vaccines offered? We are actively scheduling vaccination events with community partners throughout the District. For more information, call our BRHD COVID hotline Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm at 434-972-6261.
Special Daytime Test & Go Offered Next Week
BRHD will hold a special daytime Test & Go clinic on Wednesday, September 15 from 1:30-3:00pm at the Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Department. We will offer screenings for HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Hepatitis B and C.

No appointments are necessary for this clinic, but services are provided on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information on sexual health services currently offered through BRHD, visit our Sexual Health Services webpage.
COVID Testing in BRHD
To meet local demand, BRHD is hosting COVID PCR 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 (434-972-6261). 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.

PCR 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. Visit our testing webpage for updated information and testing schedules.
Quit Smoking Blue Ridge:
Free Tobacco Cessation Classes
The Tobacco Free Community Coalition is offering free virtual smoking cessation classes starting next week! Learn about and experience strategies for quitting, such as medication options, acupuncture, stress reduction, nutrition, and more.

This weekly class is held every Wednesday from September 22 to October 27, 5:30-6:00pm and is open to residents of Charlottesville City and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson Counties These groups are informative and supportive and can help you successfully quit smoking or tobacco products.

To learn more or register in advance for the interactive support group, email Scott Mein.

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 Emma Baker, Office Support Specialist Supervisor for Albemarle and Charlottesville.
How long have you been at BRHD?
Since July 2020
What is your job?
I supervise the administrative side of BRHD’s (currently limited) clinic services at the Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Department, including immunizations, family planning, STI testing and screening, and making sure all visitors to the health department have the best possible experience while they're receiving services. I love getting to meet different members of our community and connecting them to the appropriate resources, whether in the health department or through another agency.

Who are you outside of BRHD?
Fun Fact: Before holding my current position with BRHD, I was hired as an operator and supervisor of the BRHD COVID-19 Resource Hotline (434-972-6261)! Outside of my work with the health department, I am a former community organizer, current passionate library goer, and house plant collector. 
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.