Saturday, December 2, 2023

Delta Variant on the Rise; New Mask Guidance Issued

Vendors with Williamsburg Bazaar have started to sew homemade face masks to donate to local healthcare workers. (WYDaily/Pexels)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance recommending that individuals continue to wear masks indoors in certain circumstances and regions due to the high transmission rate of the COVID-19 Delta variant.(WYDaily/Pexels)

NATIONWIDE — On Tuesday, July 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance regarding facial coverings/masks in light of the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19.

In late June, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, expressed concern that the Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, would become the common strain of the virus and said, “When these viruses mutate, they do so with some advantage to the virus. In this case, it is more transmissible.”

RELATED STORY: Delta Variant Brings Concern

The new guidance advises Americans to continue to wear face masks/coverings while in indoor, public settings in regions considered to have a substantial or high transmission rate for the highly virulent Delta variant of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.

The CDC also states that individuals who have weakened immune systems or have underlying medical conditions should continue to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status and transmission rate in a region. These individuals are classified as those who are in severe risk of illness.

Additionally, those who have a member of their household with a weakened immune system or have underlying medical conditions should also wear masks, regardless of vaccination status and transmission rate in a region. To learn more about some of the conditions that qualify under this category, click here.

Also, talk to your healthcare provider to learn more about how you should proceed based on your individual health.

According to the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, the majority of Hampton Roads falls into the substantial or high risk category for transmission of the variant. Below is a listing as to where each locality in Hampton Roads stands as of Sunday, July 25, 2021:

  • Chesapeake (City of): High
  • Franklin (City of): High
  • Gloucester County: High
  • Hampton (City of): Substantial
  • Isle of Wight County: High
  • James City County: Substantial
  • Mathews County: Moderate
  • New Kent County: High
  • Newport News (City of): High
  • Norfolk (City of): Moderate
  • Poquoson (City of): High
  • Portsmouth (City of): High
  • Southampton County: Moderate
  • Suffolk (City of): High
  • Surry County: Moderate
  • Virginia Beach (City of): High
  • Williamsburg (City of): Moderate
  • York County: High

To search for more localities, visit the website for the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker.

Symptoms of the Delta variant include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

It is also important to note that a person could be infected with the variant but not exhibit any symptoms.

University of California, Davis Health has issued the following video with more information about the Delta variant:

Visit the website for the CDC to see the different types of masks recommended to protect yourself and others from the disease: CDC: Types of Masks.

As of this publication, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has not released guidance regarding the new face covering recommendations from the CDC.

RELATED STORY: VDH Encourages Masks in Schools But Stops Short of Mandating Them

Residents ages 12 years and older are currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. A person is considered fully vaccinated either two weeks following the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two weeks following the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

To find out more about Virginia’s vaccination efforts or to schedule an appointment through the VDH, visit the website for Vaccinate Virginia.

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