COVID-19 Updates Archive - February 2022
Feb. 28, 2022 Update - 4 p.m.
Chesterfield Revises Policy on Masks in Public Buildings
All county employees no longer will be required to wear face coverings while in the workplace
With the number of new COVID-19 cases, positivity percentage and hospitalization rates falling dramatically in the county over the past three weeks, as well as updated guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chesterfield County has amended its policy on the use of face coverings by employees in public buildings.
Effective immediately, the wearing of masks indoors in county facilities is optional for employees and citizens without illness symptoms, a positive test or recent exposure to someone with COVID-19.
On Friday, Feb. 25, the CDC revised its metrics for community COVID risk levels and guidance for precautionary measures, including the wearing of masks indoors. The CDC is no longer recommending the need for these precautions in areas of medium and low risk, as determined by the 7-day average number of new cases, COVID-related hospitalizations and inpatient bed usage rates.
In addition, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) is currently in the process of rescinding its workplace COVID regulations, which include workplace masking requirements.
Under the county’s updated policy, masks still should be worn in healthcare settings, high-risk congregate settings such as correctional facilities, or when working with individuals who either are suspected of having COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus.
Any employee may voluntarily wear a mask or facial covering as a personal preference, without discrimination or bias, and without harassment by another employee.
Employees also must continue to perform a daily health self-assessment and stay home when sick.
View the full news release.
Feb. 14, 2022 Update - 9:30 a.m.
Governor Youngkin Releases Public Service Announcement Encouraging Virginians to get Vaccinated
Governor Glenn Youngkin today released a public service announcement with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) encouraging Virginians to get vaccinated as part of his COVID-19 Action Plan. While Governor Youngkin does not believe in mandating the vaccine, he believes it’s a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19.
Governor Youngkin’s COVID-19 Action Plan includes re-prioritizing resources toward vaccine education and outreach, including expanded efforts in disproportionately unvaccinated communities. The plan also includes efforts to host additional COVID-19 vaccine events across the state and increasing the number of mobile vaccine units that serve rural communities. Currently, there are approximately 1,400 vaccine events across the Commonwealth.
Virginians who are unvaccinated remain at high risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. VDH recommends individuals who are 12 and older receive booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Local Health Departments sponsor vaccine events every week in communities across Virginia, while VDH also has a mobile unit program taking the COVID-19 vaccine to areas where access is challenging. Community vaccination centers (CVCs) also have been open in nine locations in Virginia since October.
Statewide, 90% of adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine with 80% of adults fully vaccinated. Statewide, 70% of the population is fully vaccinated, but in many areas of Southwest Virginia, the percentage is less than 60%.
To find a vaccine event near you, contact or check the website of your local health department; to schedule a vaccine appointment at a CVC, pharmacy or other location, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish and more than 100 other languages. Walk-ins are welcome at the CVCs, but appointments are encouraged.
Feb. 7, 2022 Update - 10 a.m.
Statement from Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Christy Gray on Full Licensure of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
The following statement is from state vaccination coordinator Christy Gray, M.P.H., director of the Division of Immunization in the Office of Epidemiology:
“The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is pleased that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to grant full licensure to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for persons ages 18 years and older and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the approved vaccine. This action comes after rigorous review and study by scientists and other researchers at the FDA and the CDC.
“More than 204 million doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered in the United States, with 3,466,960 Moderna doses administered in Virginia since the vaccination campaign began in late December 2020. The science is clear that this is a safe vaccine that is effective in preventing infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and subsequent variants and in preventing serious illness that could result in hospitalization and/or death.
“The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which will be marketed under the brand name ‘Spikevax,’ will continue to be available under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for individuals 18 years of age and older for the administration of a two-dose primary series, a third primary dose in immunocompromised individuals, and as a single booster dose either five months after completion of two doses of an mRNA vaccine or two months after a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Spikevax has the same formulation as the EUA Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and can be used interchangeably with the EUA Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.”
Those who are unvaccinated remain at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. This population remains VDH’s top priority. Everyone 5 years or older is eligible to be vaccinated. To find free vaccines at a community vaccination center (CVC) or another location near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish and more than 100 other languages. At CVCs, appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.
Feb. 4, 2022 Update - Noon
Omicron Surge in Cases Leads to Increase in COVID-19-Associated Deaths Being Added to the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboards
The recent surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant resulted in an increase in COVID-19-associated deaths, and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is beginning to observe these expected increases in death certificates received.
Beginning Wednesday, Feb. 2, VDH’s cases dashboard began to reflect these deaths. The majority of the COVID-19-associated deaths (92%) that will be added occurred in January 2022. Certified death certificates continue to be reported, so VDH will continue to receive new death certificates for the deaths that occurred in January 2022 and those that will occur subsequently over the next few weeks and months ahead until the Omicron surge dissipates.
The best defense against COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death remains vaccination and, once fully vaccinated, staying up-to-date on your vaccine. To see the impact vaccination has on infection, hospitalization and death, view the VDH case rates by vaccination status dashboard.
COVID-19 death trends should only be evaluated when viewing the data on the cases dashboard by date of death and not by date of report.
VDH receives certified death certificates weekly and compares them to COVID-19-associated deaths already reported in the surveillance system. Those that have not been reported through normal reporting channels are then added.
The increase in deaths reported now is due to:
- The surge in cases being reported due to the Omicron variant.
- The natural delay between onset of illness to death. (e.g. someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 Jan. 1 and does not die until Jan. 30).
- The time it takes for the National Center of Health Statistics to review and assign appropriate codes to Virginia death certificates before they are sent back to VDH for inclusion in the Supplemental COVID-19 Death Certificate Surveillance initiative.
View more information on how VDH counts COVID-19-associated deaths.
The best defense against COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death remains vaccination and, once fully vaccinated, staying up-to-date on your vaccine. To find a vaccine appointment at a community vaccination center (CVC) or another location near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish and more than 100 other languages. Walk-ins are welcome at CVCs but appointments are strongly encouraged to avoid extended wait times.