COVID-19

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/


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.


Vaccine Info

  • Vaccine Administration Prioritization
    • Virginia is using a phased approach when administering the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Virginia is currently in Phases 2. Anyone 16 years and older who lives in Virginia is eligible for a FREE COVID-19 vaccine. People who are eligible in Phases 1a-1c will still continue to be prioritized. It may take some time for an appointment to become available near you.
    •  To find an appointment, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682).
    •  At vaccinate.virginia.gov, you can access the CDC’s VaccineFinder website, which allows you to search the map-based site for appointments at Community Vaccination Centers, local health districts, pharmacies, and hospitals near you.
    • The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority. Vaccines must meet the highest standards of safety and have minimal side effects because they generally are given to healthy people to prevent disease. Vaccines undergo strict regulatory control by the United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration.
    • VDH shares the goal of ensuring safe vaccines and has the health and safety of all Virginians as its number one priority. VDH works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the recommendations the agency follows about vaccines are of sound science.
    • On April 13, the CDC and FDA recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. out of an abundance of caution. This recommendation follows six reports of a rare and severe type of blood clot happening in people who got this vaccine. On April 14, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), called for the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine to stay on pause as more data are gathered on the potential link between the vaccine and blood clots.
    • Effective April 13, Virginia ceased all J&J vaccination until this investigation is complete. If you have an upcoming appointment for the J&J vaccine, you will be contacted to reschedule that appointment. Virginia’s vaccine rollout will continue with the other two authorized vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna.

Variant COVID-19 Strains

  • Multiple variants of the virus that cause COVID-19 have been documented in the U.S. and globally during this pandemic. There are currently five variants that public health agencies find concerning because they spread more easily, may cause more severe disease, or might affect treatments, vaccines, or diagnostic tests. These are called Variants of Concern.
  • The B.1.1.7 variant first emerged in the United Kingdom in the fall of 2020. Recent evidence shows that this variant may be associated with an increased risk of death compared with other variants. B.1.1.7 also appears to spread more easily and quickly than other variants. Cases of B.1.1.7 have been detected in multiple U.S. states, including Virginia.
  • In October 2020, another variant called B.1.351 first emerged in South Africa. Infections caused by this variant were reported in the U.S. at the end of January 2021, and the first case of B.1.351 in Virginia was announced on February 5.
  • In Brazil, a variant called P.1 emerged. This variant contains a set of additional mutations, or changes in the virus, that may affect its ability to be recognized by antibodies. This variant has been detected in multiple U.S. states, including Virginia.
  • Two new variants, B.1.427 and B.1.429, both first detected in California, have been added to CDC’s list of Variants of Concern. Both variants have been associated with about 20% increased risk of COVID-19 spread. On March 25, the first cases of B.1.427 and B.1.429 were announced in Virginia.
  • With the threat of these new variants, it is more important than ever that Virginians follow  prevention measures to keep everyone healthy and safe. This means wearing masks over your mouth and nose, staying at least six feet from others you do not live with, avoiding crowds, washing hands often, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 when it is your turn, and staying home if you are infected with COVID-19 or if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 has changed the way everyone works, lives, and plays in different ways, and it is understandable that everyone is tired of the pandemic. However, it is important to continue to do these prevention measures now to keep the pandemic from going on longer.

Governor Northam’s Key Actions for COVID-19 in Virginia

  • Governor Northam declared a State of Emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia on March 12, 2020.
  • All Virginians aged five years and older must wear masks (cloth face coverings) over their nose and mouth in all indoor settings shared with others and outdoor settings when people cannot stay six feet away from others they do not live with, as issued by Governor Northam in Executive Order 72.
  • Executive Order 72 includes statewide measures to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia. The table below summarizes the current statewide measures to follow:
Setting Executive Order 72 Actions
In-person gatherings
  • Indoor gatherings: 
    • Size is limited to 50 people
  • Outdoor gatherings:
    • Size is limited to 100 people
  • Religious gatherings:
    • Size is not limited to 50 people, but religious gatherings with  more than 50 people must follow the guidelines as listed in Executive Order 72
Restaurants and beverage services
  • No capacity limits on indoor and outdoor seating, but distancing of at least six feet required
  • Bar seating prohibited
  • On-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 12:00 am
  • Closing of dining and congregation areas must occur between 12:00 am – 5:00 am
  • Delivery and take-out service may continue
  • Private bookings are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
Personal care and grooming services
  • Allowed to operate at full capacity with distancing and mask wearing requirements
Fitness and exercise facilities
  • Operating capacity of 75%
  • Instructors and participants must maintain 10 feet of distance in group exercise classes
  • The total number of attendees in a group exercise class cannot exceed the lesser of either 75% occupancy or 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
Recreational sports
  • For indoor sports:
    • The number of spectators is limited to 100 spectators per field or at 30% capacity
  • For outdoor sports:
    • The number of spectators is limited to 500 spectators per field or at 30% capacity
    • Spectators must wear masks at all times, and 10 feet of physical distance must be maintained between spectators who are not family members
    • Races or marathons may have up to 250 participants, provided staggered starts separate runners into groups of 25 or less
Entertainment and amusement venues (movie theaters, bowling alleys, museums, etc.)
  • Indoor venues: 
    • Limits cannot exceed 30% of the lowest occupancy load but the cap for indoor venues is 500 people, whichever is lower
  • Outdoor venues:
    • Limits remain at 30% occupancy, no cap for outdoor gatherings
Large outdoor amusement parks and zoos (with at least 25,000 acres of land and 500,000 visitors annually)
  • Cannot exceed 50% of the combined occupancy load on certificates of occupancy for all areas of the venue
  • Patrons are required to wear masks over nose and mouth at all times
Overnight summer camps
  • On May 1, able to open with strict mitigation measures in place
Graduations and commencements
  • Indoor
    • Limited to 500 people
  • Outdoor
    • Limited to 5,000 people
  • To file an online complaint related to Executive Order 72 related only to masks and distancing requirements in certain business sectors, click here.
  • To marshal all public resources and appropriate preparedness, response, and recovery measures, Executive Order 51 orders the “Authorization for the heads of executive branch agencies, on behalf of their regulatory boards as appropriate, and with the concurrence of their Cabinet Secretary, to waive any state requirement or regulation, and enter into contracts without regard to normal procedures or formalities, and without regard to application or permit fees or royalties. All waivers issued by agencies shall be posted on their websites.”
  • For more information about Executive Orders issued by Governor Northam related to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
  •  For media inquiries about statewide COVID-19 efforts, please email the VDH Communications staff and include your deadline.

Current COVID-19 Regulations for Businesses

  • On March 23, 2021, guidelines for business sectors were amended.
  • 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.

Important Steps All Virginians Should Take to Stay Safe and Healthy

  • VDH urges all Virginians to stay safe. The best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible. This is especially important for people at higher risk of severe illness, such as older adults and people of any age with certain underlying conditions.
  • It is important to always take these steps:
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others who you do not live with
    •  Stay at least six feet from others and avoid crowds
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water (or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available), and
    • Get vaccinated for COVID-19 when the vaccine becomes available to you.
  • If you have COVID-19, have any signs or symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should stay home and away from other people to prevent spreading illness to others.
  • If you have symptoms, use Virginia’s COVIDCHECK to help make decisions on when to seek testing and medical care. Seek emergency care right away if you are having trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that won’t go away, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.
  • Testing may be available at your healthcare provider’s office, urgent care center, pharmacy, or other healthcare clinic. To find testing sites in your area, visit the website Virginia COVID-19 Testing Sites.

Resources to Protect Virginians’ Mental and Physical Well-Being

  • 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 April 19, 2021