Colin Greene column: How to prevent heat-related illnesses

Originally posted at Richmond.com


girl in poolAlthough it won’t officially be summer for another month, many Virginians already are facing some days of extremely hot weather. What follows are some recommendations on staying safe in the heat.

Every year, more than 600 people in the U.S. die of heat-related illnesses, and many others experience hospitalization. It is crucial to ensure that we take precautions against heat injury.

Your body has several ways of getting rid of excess heat. The first is to release it into the air (or water) around you from your skin, and to dilate the blood vessels beneath your skin to carry more internal heat to the surface to be released.

The second occurs through breathing, where body-temperature air is exhaled and replaced by cooler inhaled air. The third — and perhaps most important — is through sweating. Water in sweat evaporates, taking heat with it and cooling the skin.

When the body can’t shed enough heat, its core temperature starts to rise, and serious danger can follow. Heat cramps might occur, where muscle pain develops, often after overexertion in the heat. Heat exhaustion might follow, with excessive sweating; cool, clammy skin; extreme fatigue; headache; muscle cramps; nausea or vomiting; dizziness or lightheadedness; confusion; and darker-colored or decreased urination.

Heat stroke is the most serious outcome, where the body’s cooling systems have been overwhelmed. The body temperature rises to 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; the skin becomes warm and dry; and rapid heart rate, shallow breathing and significant mental status changes occur. This might lead to permanent brain and organ injury, coma and death.

Extreme heat is especially dangerous in humid climates. As the air temperature approaches body temperature, it becomes harder for the skin or breath to release body heat. In high humidity, sweat evaporates very slowly, losing much of its cooling effect.

Dehydration occurs as body fluid is lost through sweating and evaporation. In turn, dehydration makes it harder to sweat, and increases risk of organ damage due to loss of blood flow.

The best way to avoid heat injury is prevention. Here are few tips from an old soldier, who now is your state health commissioner:

  • Be aware of the weather forecast for any given summer day, and plan ahead. (P.S. This is good advice all year round.)
  • For particularly hot, humid days, limit outdoor activity. Stay in an air-conditioned location as much as possible, and if you will be outdoors, frequently seek shade. Wear light-colored clothing and wide-brimmed hats to reflect the sun’s rays. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
  • Limit or postpone outdoor exertion. The hotter it gets, the more time resting (in shade) you need and the less time you should spend working. Play, such as sports or hiking, counts just as much as work.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you will be outdoors, plan on drinking a quart of fluid every hour or so. Alternating water with a sports-type drink often works best. Skip the caffeine and alcohol: Both of these increase urination and dehydration.

Don’t wait to feel thirsty.

  • Drink fluids on a schedule when you’re outdoors in the heat.
  • Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. There is water in your food as well as in your drink.
  • Have a buddy, and watch out for each other while in the heat. Include weather in your work planning.
  • Be a buddy, especially to elderly or disadvantaged neighbors, who might not have air conditioning. Check up on them; offer them access to AC during the heat. Homeless people are especially at risk.
  • Never leave children or animals alone in vehicles.

For mild symptoms, in yourself or your buddy:

  • Get out of the heat, into an air-conditioned space if possible, but into the shade as a minimum.
  • Rest in a cool area until symptoms completely resolve.
  • Drink water or sports drinks, as discussed above.
  • Consider calling it quits for the day for any more outdoor exertion.

For any concern of heat stroke (changes in level of consciousness; disorientation or confusion; warm, dry skin without sweating despite the heat):

  • Dial 911 immediately.
  • Cool the victim down as effectively as possible: move to shade/indoors, wet down with water and fan the body.
  • Only give fluids by mouth if fully conscious and oriented.
  • Get to medical attention as soon as physically possible.

Heat is part of summer — and sometimes late spring — but it can be dangerous if not treated with respect. Let’s prevent heat injuries in our commonwealth.

Infant Formula Shortage Information


Fact Sheet: Helping Families Find Formula During the Infant Formula Shortage (from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) 
This fact sheet includes information regarding:

  • Manufacturer Hotlines
  • Community Resources
  • WIC -Eligible Families
  • General Guidance

Infant Formula Shortages: Tips on what to do when you can’t find formula at the store (En Espanol)
Visit healthychildren.org from the American Academy of Pediatrics for more information regarding healthy children

Other Resources:

Severe Weather Preparedness

severe weather sign

Understand Severe Weather Terms

Understanding severe weather terms can help you and your loved ones prepare.

  • Hurricane Warning: show the onset of hurricane conditions expected in the warning area within the next 48 hours.
    • During a hurricane warning: complete storm preparation;
    • leave the affected area if directed by local officials.
  • Hurricane Watch: issued when a hurricane with sustained winds of 74 mph (65 knots, 118 km/h) or higher is possible.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: there is a possibility that severe thunderstorms may occur in your area.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: a severe thunderstorm is occurring or will likely occur soon in your area.
  • Flash Flood Watch: due to heavy or excessive rainfall in a short period of time, your area may experience flooding.
  • Flash Flood Warning: Flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely. Seek higher ground immediately or evacuate if directed to do so.
  • Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

Prepare For Severe Weather

Download the Ready Virginia mobile app to stay up to date on changing conditions.  More steps that you can take to keep yourself and loved ones safe include:

  • An emergency kit prepared with supplies. Include things such as:
    • Alternate fuel source for heating your home,
    • Flashlights and batteries,
    • Blankets,
    • Food that needs no cooking or refrigeration,
    • 3 day supply of water,
    • Prescription medicines,
    • Battery operated radio,
    • Flashlights, and
    • Cell phone chargers.
  • Prepare your car with emergency supplies. Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends.
  • Check batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors.
  • Update important documents: insurance information and home inventory. Store them in your emergency kit or a waterproof container.

 

Know What To Do During Severe Weather:

Governor Youngkin and the Virginia Department of Health Recognize April 4-10 as National Public Health Week

Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin has released a proclamation recognizing April 4-10, 2022 as National Public Health Week. This week allows us time to formally recognize the amazing efforts that the staff of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the citizens of Virginia perform to keep themselves and others safe and healthy.

The American Public Health Association’s national theme, “Public Health is Where You Are”, focuses on how our interactions as a community are the foundation for building a healthy population. The VDH regularly collaborates with both public and private sector partners to build strong healthy communities in Virginia.

During this week the VDH has launched its “I Am Public Health Campaign” which showcases how each person is instrumental in creating and maintaining a healthy population. The campaign seeks to inform the general public that VDH performs a wide array of functions including and beyond COVID prevention, while celebrating the role of the public health worker.

 

Virginia Department of Health Urges Virginians to Get the Flu Vaccine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–  December 6, 2021
Media Contact: Brookie Crawford, brookie.crawford@vdh.virginia.gov

Virginia Department of Health Urges Virginians to Get the Flu Vaccine
State Sees First Influenza Cases of the Season

RICHMOND, Va. –With the 2021-22 flu season officially underway, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) encourages all people in Virginia six months and older to receive their annual influenza (flu) vaccine.

Although flu activity remains low nationally, Virginia has started to see sporadic reports of the influenza virus detected in recent weeks.

December is not too late to get your flu vaccine! While the flu season may vary from year to year, cases often peak in January or February and continue through May.

“I make it a priority to get a flu shot every year,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “If you’ve ever had the flu, you know it can make you sick with symptoms such as chills, cough, fatigue, sore throat and aches all over. Getting a flu shot is a simple and effective way to reduce your risk of getting sidelined by the flu.”

A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.

The 2020-21 flu season was unusually mild. “Public health recommendations such as social distancing, wearing a mask indoors, staying home when sick, avoiding crowds, and hand washing all likely contributed to the mild 2020-2021 season,” said Respiratory Disease Coordinator Lisa Sollot, MPH. “How well these recommendations are followed this season will likely have an impact on transmission of influenza.”

“Additionally, some experts have suggested that because there was little flu virus activity last year, natural immunity may be lower than in an average flu season,” Sollot said. “This development makes getting the influenza vaccine this season even more important.”

Visit www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines/ to find a location near you to get the flu vaccine. It is safe to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

To minimize your risk of contracting or transmitting the flu, follow these simple steps:

  • Get vaccinated;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds;
  • Cover your cough, either by using a disposable tissue or coughing into your sleeve, not your hand; and
  • Stay at home when you are sick.

If you feel sick, VDH urges you to stay home and to contact your healthcare provider for evaluation, treatment and possible testing. Not sure if it’s COVID-19 or the flu? This handy chart outlines the differences in the symptoms.

For more information on the flu, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/influenza-flu-in-virginia/.

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VDH Awards $6M Grant to VCU Health System to Strengthen Infection Prevention and Control Capacity in Virginia

Media Contact:
Brookie Crawford, VDH,  brookie.crawford@vdh.virginia.gov
Laura Rossacher, VCU Health, (347) 835-7775, lrossacher@vcu.edu

 

VDH Awards $6M Grant to VCU Health System to Strengthen Infection Prevention and Control Capacity in Virginia

A new Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center will be established to build and strengthen the state’s infection prevention and control workforce and reduce infections in all types of healthcare settings.

(RICHMOND, Va.)  — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) awarded a $6 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health System to establish a statewide infection prevention training center. The new Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center, to be designed and implemented by VCU, will work in tandem with healthcare facilities and public health to strengthen infection prevention and control expertise and provide universal infection prevention and control training to frontline providers.

“VDH is excited to utilize COVID-19 federal funding to address a previously recognized need for comprehensive and sustainable infection prevention and control training in Virginia,” said Laurie Forlano, D.O., MPH, deputy director of the VDH’s Office of Epidemiology. “Partnership with VCU, a nationally recognized leader in infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship, will ensure the success and longevity of this initiative.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed major gaps in knowledge around infection prevention nationally, particularly in nursing homes and other long-term care settings,” said Michael Stevens, M.D., interim hospital epidemiologist at VCU Medical Center and co-principal investigator of the VDH grant. “Our goal is to give practitioners in Virginia the knowledge and skills to prevent as many infections as possible. This means better, safer care for patients throughout the Commonwealth.”

The Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center will provide in-person and interactive online training to thousands of healthcare providers and learners across Virginia.  The training courses will include evidence-based infection prevention and control practices that can be applied across the healthcare continuum.

“Everyone plays a role in infection prevention, especially with highly transmissible COVID-19 variants on the rise,” said Michelle Doll, M.D., associate hospital epidemiologist at VCU Medical Center and co-principal investigator of the VDH grant. “We will teach beginner-, intermediate- and advanced-level courses and the introductory classes will be open to anyone working in a healthcare setting interested in infection prevention.”

By establishing the Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center, VDH and VCU aim to create a sustainable resource for training and education for all frontline healthcare workers in the Commonwealth for years to come.

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About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls nearly 30,000 students in 238 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-three of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Tappahannock Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisories Remain in place for North Anna and Upper Pamunkey Branches of Lake Anna; In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties

Media Contact: Brookie Crawford, Brookie.Crawford@vdh.virginia.gov

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisories Remain in place for North Anna and Upper Pamunkey Branches of Lake Anna; In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within these Locations of the Lake

Richmond, Va. – The North Anna and Upper Pamunkey Branches, including Terry’s Run, of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are continuing to experience a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in this area. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The area to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at the Algal Bloom Surveillance Map. A status report containing the updated advisory areas may be viewed at Lake Anna Status Report 10.18.21.

Results of samples collected October 12 indicated that swimming advisories continue to be necessary due to unsafe levels of potential toxin producing cyanobacteria segments of the North Anna and Pamunkey Branches. People and pets are advised to avoid swimming, windsurfing and stand-up-paddle-boarding, as well as other activities that pose a risk of ingesting water.

The samples collected downstream at the confluence of the two branches, at the Lake Anna State Park beach, and at the 208 bridge indicated cyanobacteria densities were at acceptable levels and do not necessitate a swimming advisory.

The sections of the lake currently under advisory (no change in advisory extents compared to September):

Pamunkey Branch

  • From the upper inundated waters of the Pamunkey arm of the lake downstream to the 612 Bridge. Includes Terry’s Run.

North Anna Branch

  • From the upper inundated waters of the North Anna arm of the lake downstream to above the confluence with Pamunkey Branch above Goodwins Point. Does not include “the Splits.”

While overall cyanobacteria densities and detectable levels of cyanotoxins were lower, requirements to lift advisories within these areas of Lake Anna could not be met from the October 12 sample event. The HAB Task Force discontinues response sampling in October, when the recreational (swimming) season concludes as temperatures begin cooling in natural waters.

Algae blooms can occur when warm water and nutrients combine to make conditions favorable for algae growth. Most algae species are harmless, however, some species may produce irritating compounds or toxins. Avoid discolored water or scums that are green or bluish-green because they are more likely to contain toxins.

To prevent illness:

  • Avoid contact with any area of the lake where water is green or an advisory sign is posted,

WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT!

  • Not allow children or pets to drink from natural bodies of water.
  • Keep children and pets out of the areas experiencing a harmful algae bloom and quickly wash them off with plenty of fresh, clean water after coming into contact with algae scum or bloom water.
  • Seek medical/veterinarian care if you or your animals experience symptoms after swimming in or near an algal bloom.
  • Properly clean fish by removing skin and discarding all internal organs, and cooking fish to the proper temperature to ensure fish fillets are safe to eat.
  • Contact the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline at 1-888-238-6154 if you suspect you experienced health-related effects following exposure to a bloom.

The blooms which are present in the lake may persist into the fall and possibly winter months. While the current cyanobacteria bloom could reach safe levels at some point during the fall and winter months, resources are not available for the Task Force to continue the monitoring in off-season months in order to formally lift the advisories in the 2021 year. Activities where full body submersion is not likely to occur, such as fishing, boating, flat-water kayaking, can continue with appropriate caution.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force, which includes the VDH, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Old Dominion University Phytoplankton Laboratory, will resume response monitoring efforts in May 2022, weather permitting.

For more information visit www.SwimHealthyVA.com.

Virginia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Priorities Announced

Virginia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Priorities Announced
Health Care Personnel and Long-Term Care Facilities Will Receive Initial Vaccine Doses

(Richmond, Va.) As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Virginia, implementing a successful vaccination program is critical to flattening the curve and stopping the spread of this virus. Based on new information provided on December 3 by the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed, Virginia is now preparing to receive an estimated total of 480,000 doses of vaccine from two manufacturers (Pfizer and Moderna) by the end of December 2020.

This initial distribution will ensure 480,000 health care personnel (HCP) and long-term care facility (LTCF) residents receive a first dose of the vaccine, beginning the inoculation process for nearly all members of Virginia’s two top-priority groups, if we receive this expected allotment. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) estimates that there are up to 500,000 HCP and LTCF residents in Virginia.

“Vaccine will be provided to Virginians in a way that is fair, ethical, and transparent,” said Virginia State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “We will focus initially on the groups that have been most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infections and those whose work puts them at greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 infections. Over time, as more vaccine supply becomes available, more Virginians will be able to get vaccinated, and we can look forward to a time when this pandemic will end.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) on Tuesday voted to formally recommend HCP and LTCF residents as top priorities for vaccination. In response, the Virginia Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (VDMAC) and the Virginia Unified Command voted this week to officially adopt ACIP recommendations in Virginia and provide initial vaccines to both HCP and LTCF residents.

The first shipment of vaccines is expected to be received from Pfizer in mid-December and will require ultracold storage (negative 70 degrees Celsius). All 72,150 initial doses will be distributed directly to geographically diverse health care systems with ultracold storage capacity, and will go to HCP. Health care personnel that directly care for COVID-19 patients will receive top priority among health care providers.

Subsequent weekly shipments are expected to begin after the initial shipment and will be divided among HCP and LTCF residents. The majority of LTCF in Virginia will receive vaccinations from CVS and Walgreens’ teams onsite through a federal CDC-pharmacy-LTCF partnership. Health care systems and public health will ensure access to vaccination for all HCP and LTCF residents equitably across the entire state.

ACIP ethical principles for allocating initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, namely to maximize benefits and minimize harms, promote justice, and mitigate health inequities, support the early vaccination of HCP and LTCF residents. According to ACIP, as of December 1, 2020, approximately 245,000 COVID-19 cases and 858 COVID-19-associated deaths had been reported among U.S. HCP. Early protection of HCP is critical to preserve capacity to care for patients with COVID-19 or other illnesses. LTCF residents, because of their age, high rates of underlying medical conditions, and congregate living situation, are at high risk for infection and severe illness from COVID-19. As of November 15, 2020, approximately 500,000 COVID-19 cases and 70,000 associated deaths had been reported among residents of skilled nursing facilities in the United States.

Health care personnel are defined as paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. Long-term care facility residents are defined as adults who reside in facilities that provide a variety of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently.

The actual amount of vaccine received in Virginia is a moving target and dependent on when and how quickly vaccination doses are manufactured. VDH is coordinating future prioritization based on federal guidance.

For more information about VDH’s COVID-19 Vaccination Response Plan, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine.

VDH Announces New Contact Tracing Prioritization and Reduced Quarantine Guidelines

VDH Announces New Contact Tracing Prioritization and Reduced Quarantine Guidelines
Virginia is Following Newly-Issued CDC Guidance

(Richmond, Va.)Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced because of substantial levels of COVID-19 community transmission, local health departments may need to prioritize  contact tracing efforts for key elements of the population.  During this time of significantly high case volume,  traditional methods of contact tracing are less effective. This means that some local health departments, as necessary, may not be contacting everyone with COVID-19 infection or close contacts to someone with COVID-19 infection.  Per new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), VDH may prioritize follow-up of cases and tracing of close contacts for the following groups:

  • People diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six days and their household contacts
  • People living or working in or visiting congregate living facilities
  • People involved in known clusters or outbreaks
  • People at increased risk of severe illness

“As cases of COVID-19 increase across the Commonwealth, this change will allow us to deploy resources where they will have the most impact,” said Virginia State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A.  “We urge residents to continue to follow public health guidance on wearing masks and physical distancing, and to notify their circle of friends and family quickly if diagnosed with COVID-19.  Also, please answer the phone if a VDH Contact Tracer calls.  All these things are helping us in the fight against COVID-19.”

Case investigation and contact tracing are an essential and impactful part of the COVID-19 response in Virginia, and nearly 2,000 public health professionals have been hired since May 2020 in local health departments to do this work.  Although not all cases and not all contacts can be called when the number of cases is high, contact tracing will continue in Virginia in accordance with these new recommendations.  VDH continues to work closely with the CDC and follow federal guidance.

During times like these, everyone must be proactive in following public health recommendations that include:

  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash your hands on a regular basis
  • Stay home whenever possible
  • Avoid gatherings outside of your household
  • Download COVIDWISE, the VDH exposure notification app
  • Use the CDC and VDH websites for accurate, reliable, and updated information

If you test positive for COVID-19 or are diagnosed with COVID-19, you need to stay at home, away from others, and self-isolate for at least ten days.  You should also help identify and notify the people that you had close contact with while you were contagious.  If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you need to stay at home, away from others, self-quarantine, get tested for COVID-19 five-to-seven days after exposure, and watch for any symptoms.

VDH and CDC continue to recommend a quarantine period of 14 days.  However, CDC  guidance now includes two additional options for how long quarantine should last.  The safest option is still to quarantine for 14 days after last exposure.  Any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus.  The two additional options for shortened quarantine are for people without symptoms to end quarantine after day 10 without testing, or after day 7 with a negative PCR or negative antigen test performed on or after day 5.  It is still important to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 until 14 days after exposure and to take other prevention measures including wearing a mask, distancing, and frequent hand washing.

Today, VDH is adopting this revised quarantine guidance for everyone except healthcare workers or healthcare facilities.  CDC’s healthcare-associated infection prevention and control experts are currently reviewing the revised guidance; in the meantime, VDH recommends that healthcare personnel and residents and staff in healthcare facilities continue to use a 14-day quarantine.

Always seek medical care if symptoms worsen or become severe.  Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.

Virginia Department of Health to Add COVID-19 Contact Tracing Data

Weekly Reporting of Four Data Points Available Today

(Richmond, Va.) — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) began reporting information related to efforts to notify people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Information related to notification efforts — referred to as contact tracing — is available on the COVID-19 Data Insights webpage, located at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-data-insights/. The state-level data will be updated weekly on Fridays.

The ability to report this information is the result of a new data management system that VDH recently implemented. The data being reported includes the following:

  • Percent of cases (individuals diagnosed with COVID-19) reached within 24 hours
  • Number of contacts of cases who are undergoing public health monitoring
  • Of contacts reached, percent contacted within 24 hours
  • Percent of contacts that — after multiple attempts — were unable to be reached or have yet to be reached

A seven-day average will be provided in the “Percent of cases reached within 24 hours” category.

Contact tracing involves finding people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and providing guidance to prevent them from spreading it. Contact tracing is one of many trusted public health tools used to prevent further spread of contagious diseases. It has long been used for other contagious diseases like measles and tuberculosis (TB). Currently, contact tracing is one important part of how Virginia can slow the spread of COVID-19.

As Virginia began to see increased numbers of COVID-19 cases, VDH expanded its staff of contact tracers and case investigators in its 35 health districts from a few hundred to more than 1,200 at the end of June. This number represents a suggested ratio of 15 contact tracers per 100,000 population.

This contact tracing data is the latest publicly available COVID-19 data including the daily COVID-19 Cases in Virginia dashboard, Virginia’s Key Measures of COVID-19 Data and COVID-19 Case and Testing Data by ZIP Code.

For the latest information on the COVID-19 situation in Virginia, go to the VDH coronavirus webpage at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.