Return of the masks in Northern Virginia as counties enter “substantial transmission”


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NORTHERN VIRGINIA (WDVM) — Fairfax County is recommending residents to mask up when going indoors regardless of vaccination status.

While other local health departments are also recommending the same, following CDC guidance, as all NOVA counties are now in a substantial transmission area.

Virginia’s substantial transmission rates (8/4/2021) from the CDC’s website.

Just a week ago, WDVM reported that Northern Virginia counties were in moderate transmission areas.

Virginia’s moderate transmission rates (7/28/2021) from the CDC’s website.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky discusses their newest recommendation.

“A lot of this country that has a lot of viral burden, that’s driven a lot by people who, and mostly, by people who are unvaccinated,” said Walensky. “Those are the people driving the new infections. But at an individual level, we believe everybody should be wearing a mask in those areas with substantial and high transmission.”

Fairfax County Health Department’s Epidemiologist, Sean Kiernan, says the change in guidance is following a change in numbers.

“The centers for disease control recommended that masks be worn indoors for vaccinated individuals if community transmission raised above a certain threshold, we just met that threshold day ago,” said Kiernan. “So that was the cause for the change.”

He says this surge of COVID cases is worrisome.

“Public health we are we are definitely concerned by this surge,” said Kiernan. “As you [WDVM] mentioned, just a month ago, we were in low transmission and had almost no cases in Fairfax, which was great. And we have quickly ramped up into moderate and now substantial.”

Loudoun County also following CDC guidance, here’s the full statement below:

Consistent with CDC guidance and that of Governor Northam, the Loudoun County Health Department is recommending mask use indoors for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals when in a public space.

We will likely be putting more information out to the public on this within the week.

Dr. David Goodfriend, Director the Loudoun County Health Department

While Northern Virginia counties are considered substantial transmission, the rest of the U.S. is high transmission according to the CDC’s website.

With that high transmission, the delta variant is powering 83% of new COVID cases across America.

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