Three Rivers Health District COVID-19 Pandemic Update

NOTE: We prepare this weekly report to make the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic, including risk levels in our local area, conveniently available to everyone in the Three Rivers area. Monkeypox is considered a very low risk to the general population at this time, but we will track it in this update as a public service.

COVID-19 Pandemic Status: COVID Variant B.5 continues dominance

COVID-19 cases have continued to decrease across the United States over the past week: currently the nation is averaging about 103,000 known cases/day.

Virginia (known) cases have decreased slightly over the past week; the current 7 day average is 2,589 cases/day.

Three Rivers case numbers remained stable at about 33 cases/day in the district last week. We are still seeing COVID-19 outbreaks related to events and in vulnerable settings.

By CDC criteria, and according to the latest available data, Mathews County remain at LOW COVID-19 levels. King and Queen, Essex, and Richmond Counties are at HIGH COVID-19 levels. All other jurisdictions in Three Rivers Health District are at MEDIUM COVID-19 Community Levels. The CDC County COVID-19 Level map and County Check tool may be found here:

If you live in an area of HIGH Community COVID-19 levels, the CDC recommends that you: Wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider taking additional precautions.

The 7 day average number of people hospitalized in Virginia with COVID-19 has stabilized; it is currently about 787. The number of people hospitalized is our best indicator of significant COVID-19 disease impact at this point in the pandemic.

What’s New/Important This Week

The Omicron BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants remain dominant across the United States, now accounting for about 94% of new COVID-19 cases. BA.5 is far more prevalent than BA.4. BA.4.6, a new variant, is on the rise, now accounting for about 5% of cases nationally. BA.4 and BA.5 are dominant in Virginia; latest available data indicate BA.4/5 comprise 93% of cases in the region where Virginia is located. BA.4.6 now accounts for about 6.5% of cases in our region.

The CDC streamlined COVID-19 guidance to help the public better protect themselves and understand risk last week. Guidance for people who are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines on what to do if exposed to someone with COVID-19 was updated to be consistent with the existing guidance for people who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC recommends that everyone wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5 if exposed to COVID-19 instead of quarantining. Screening testing of asymptomatic people without known exposures will no longer be recommended in most community settings. The CDC emphasized that physical distance is just one component of how to protect yourself and others. “It is important to consider the risk in a particular setting, including local COVID-19 Community Levels and the important role of ventilation, when assessing the need to maintain physical distance”. The revised CDC guidance can be found here: www.cdc. gov/media/releases/2022/p0811-covidguidance. html VDH is in the process of reviewing and assessing this guidance.

The CDC changed their Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning, which can be found at this link: : www.cdc. gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/ schools-childcare/k-12-childcareguidance. html

Changes include:

Removed the recommendation to cohort

Changed recommendation to conduct screening testing to focus on high-risk activities during high COVID-19 Community Level or in response to an outbreak

Removed the recommendation to quarantine, except in high-risk congregate settings

Removed information about Test to Stay

Added detailed information on when to wear a mask, managing cases and exposures, and responding to outbreaks

The VDH is reviewing and assessing these new CDC recommendations.

Please visit vaccinate.virginia. gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA to find COVID-19 vaccination opportunities near you. Appointment opportunities in Three Rivers Health District vaccination clinics are available at the Three Rivers Health District Website under “Three Rivers Health District Vaccination Events”: www.vdh.virginia. gov/three-rivers/. Appointments are also available by calling (804) 815- 4191.

Monkeypox Outbreak Status

The United States Secretary of Health and Human Services declared monkeypox a public health emergency on August 4, 2022.

Monkeypox is a contagious rash viral illness similar to smallpox; the monkeypox virus is less contagious and usually causes less serious disease than smallpox. In recent weeks monkeypox has spread across the world, with over 32,000 cases reported thus far. The latest available CDC data shows over 11,000 cases in the United States, with 190 cases in Virginia. There have been 28 cases in the Eastern Region. The risk of monkeypox to the general public remains low.

Anyone who develops a febrile illness with a rash, especially if they have any of the risk factors mentioned above or if they know they have been exposed to someone with monkeypox, should seek advice and testing from their health care provider.

Background information on all aspects of monkeypox can be found at this website: surveillance-and-investigation/monkeypox/

The latest epidemiological data on monkeypox in Virginia can be followed at this VDH website: www.vdh. monkeypox/monkeypox-in-virginia/

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