Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Virginia Dept. of Health Urges Virginians to Get Vaccinated and Practice Mitigation Strategies During Holidays

The Virginia Dept. of Health is urging Virginians to get vaccinated and practice mitigation strategies during the holidays in light of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 (WYDaily file)

STATEWIDE — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has issued guidance ahead of the holidays, urging Virginians to get vaccinated, boosted, and to practice COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) mitigation strategies during this time.

This past Tuesday (Dec. 21), VDH reported that there were 4,437 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the Commonwealth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it believes that the highly-virulent Omicron variant (which accounted for 73 percent of new COVID-19 cases during the week ending on Dec. 18) is currently the dominant variant in the United States.

“We may be through with COVID-19, but COVID-19 is not through with us,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “Unlike a year ago, however, we have tools to protect ourselves. The vaccines we have now are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to infection with the Omicron variant, especially among those who have received their booster dose. If you’re not vaccinated or have not gotten your booster dose, now is the time to do so.”

According to the VDH COVID-19 Dashboard, the transmission rate of the virus remains high in City of Williamsburg, James City and York counties.

James City and York counties report that over 75 percent of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (78.1 percent and 75.9 percent respectively*), while the City of Williamsburg lags behind with only 57.7 percent of the eligible population* having received at least one dose of the vaccine.

In addition to full vaccination status as well as receiving a booster, VDH advises residents to take the following precautions:

  • Wear a face mask while in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status
  • Consider taking a COVID-19 test prior to gathering with others, especially if plans include visiting with others who are considered vulnerable or high risk for severe illness should they contract COVID-19

Antigen test kits are now available at public libraries throughout the Commonwealth, including locally from either Williamsburg Regional Library or Poquoson Public Library.

Additionally, VDH has partnered with Walgreens’ pharmacies to offer the free COVID-19 antigen tests.

To locate a testing site, please visit VDH’s COVID-19 Testing Site page.

At this time, researchers around the world continue to study the Omicron variant. There is not enough data to yet know how the variant may impact community members, particularly reinfections and breakthrough infections for those who are considered fully vaccinated. Everyone ages 5 years and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

To schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, please consult your medical care provider or visit the website for Vaccinate Virginia.

*Data accurate as of Dec. 22, 2021. The most up-to-date data for vaccination status in Virginia can be found by visiting the VDH COVID-19 Dashboard.

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