For the most up to date information on COVID-19 in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/
VDH is currently reviewing CDC’s updated recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals and will be updating our guidance in the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience. CDC’s guidance may be viewed here.
As a reminder, vaccination is the most important public health action to end the pandemic. To find a vaccine site, go to vaccinate.virginia.gov.
A Message from Hampton and Peninsula Health Director, Dr. Natasha Dwamena
On August 23rd, the FDA announced full approval of Pfizer BioNTech COVID -19 vaccine. We are awaiting guidance from the FDA and CDC clarifying who is eligible for boosters and when distribution will occur. We have been reassured that vaccine supply should not be a limiting factor, as it has been in the past.
The Hampton & Peninsula Health Districts are preparing for the administration of COVID vaccine boosters while we await final direction from the Virginia Department of Health. Use vaccines.gov to access all vaccination events-1st and 2nd and 3rd doses and boosters.
We continue our leadership of Operation Vaccinate the Peninsula, a collaboration across local health districts, localities, and health systems on the Peninsula, formed earlier this year to facilitate cohesive COVID-19 vaccination planning, execution, resource allocation and communication.
We remain committed to ensuring distribution of vaccine and testing availability in the community, and providing educational and resource support for community partners. We will renew our testing efforts on September 21, 2021 at New Zion Baptist Church. 3991 Longhill Road, Williamsburg, VA.
WORK NOTES NO LONGER PROVIDED:
Effective December 18, 2020 Hampton and Peninsula Health Districts will no longer provide negative nor positive testing results letters for employers.
This aligns with recommendations from CDC “Employers should not require a COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work.” ( https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html#more-changes)
ONLINE COVID-19 REPORTING PORTAL:
The new COVID-19 standard adopted by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry requires all employers to report positive cases of COVID-19 to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
The Emergency Temporary Standard also provides that “The employer shall notify the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry within 24 hours of the discovery of three (3) or more employees present at the place of employment within a 14-day period testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus during that 14-day time period.”
COVID-19 case reports must be filed through the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) online reporting portal. By using this portal, these case reports will ensure VDH and DOLI reporting compliance. The new online reporting portal allows employers to submit up to 10 COVID-19 positive cases.
Governor Northam’s Key Actions for COVID-19 in Virginia
- As of July 1, 2021, Governor Northam’s Amended Declaration of Emergency for COVID-19, Executive Order 51, will no longer be in effect.
- Effective July 1, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors aged 5 years and older (regardless of vaccination status) in public and private K-12 indoor school settings in Virginia are required to wear masks per the State Health Commissioner’s Public Health Emergency Order. This will be effective from July 1 through July 25, 2021.
- Exceptions to wearing a mask under this Order include:
- While eating, drinking or sleeping
- While exercising or using exercise equipment
- When playing a musical instrument and wearing a mask would inhibit the playing of the instrument (e.g., wind or brass instrument) so long as at least six feet of physical distance can be maintained from other people
- Any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
- Anyone communicating with people who are hearing impaired for which the mouth needs to be visible
- While participating in a religious ritual
- When temporary removal of the mask is necessary to secure government or medical services
- People with health conditions or disabilities that prohibit wearing a mask
- Fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks or practice physical distancing in any indoor or outdoor settings, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance, but can continue to wear masks if they choose to.
- All Virginians aged two years and older who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated should wear masks (cloth face coverings) over their nose and mouth in indoor and crowded outdoor settings, as recommended by CDC.
- Masks should be worn (regardless of vaccination status) in healthcare settings, outpatient facilities, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.
- All people aged two years and older (regardless of vaccination status) must wear a mask when using public transportation and when in indoor transportation hubs, per federal order.
- There is no legal barrier to wearing masks to protect oneself and others from the virus, nor should anyone be penalized for doing so. Although Virginia has a law that prohibits wearing a mask for the purpose of concealing one’s identity, it does not prohibit wearing a mask for the purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- For media inquiries about statewide COVID-19 efforts, please email the VDH Communications staff and include your deadline.
- On June 23, 2021, CDC’s vaccine advisory group (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) met to discuss data on reports of mild cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue following administration of both mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), called myocarditis and pericarditis.
- This small number of cases mostly occurred after the second dose of an mRNA vaccine and in males younger than 30 years.
- The known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination far outweigh the known and potential risks, including myocarditis or pericarditis. Most patients with myocarditis and pericarditis who received care responded well to medicine and rest and quickly felt better.
- Both CDC and VDH continue to strongly recommend getting vaccinated for anyone 12 years of age and older as the best protection against COVID-19.
- CDC will continue to monitor and analyze these reports to better understand the risk factors, optimal management and treatment, and long-term outcomes.
- FDA plans to update fact sheets for vaccine recipients and healthcare providers administering the vaccine about the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis.
- General recommendations for businesses are now available.
- The Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus that Causes COVID-19, infectious disease preparedness and response plan templates, and training guidance are posted on the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) website at doli.virginia.gov.
- Effective December 8, 2020, DOLI, in consultation with VDH, has determined that employers no longer need to report single COVID-19 positive cases to VDH, to comply with the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) program’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus that Causes COVID-19. Reports of outbreaks (i.e., two or more cases) are still required. For more information about this change, visit the DOLI website.
- Businesses must file COVID-19 reports through VDH’s online reporting portal. By using this portal, these reports will ensure VDH and DOLI reporting compliance. The online reporting portal allows employers to submit up to 10 COVID-19 positive cases.
- Workers who feel unsafe in their workplace can file a formal complaint with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration here.
- COVID-19 has changed things about our lives and our daily activities. Sometimes this can cause stress for ourselves and our families. If you are having a hard time coping with changes in your life due to COVID-19, a free, anonymous “warm” line is available. Callers can receive emotional support and referrals for mental and behavioral health and other services. Unlike 911, which is used only for emergencies, a warm line offers support and gives people the chance to talk about their struggles and mental health. The Virginia COPES number is:
1-877-349-6428 Toll Free
(call or text)
9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. Monday – Friday
5:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Saturday and Sunday
Spanish speaking counselors are available.
- Staying at home as much as possible can help to protect you and others from COVID-19. However, home may not be a safe place for people experiencing family or sexual violence or abuse. Below are free and confidential resources available 24 hours a day to call for help and support. For immediate emergencies, call 9-1-1.
Family Violence and Sexual Assault Virginia Hotline: 1-800-838-8238
LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline: 1-866-356-6998
Instant messaging and text options are available if it isn’t safe to talk on the phone. The Family Violence and Sexual Assault Virginia Hotline and the LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline have a confidential chat feature here, or you can text the hotlines at: 804-793-9999.
Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1-800-552-7096
Updated July 1, 2021