Public Health leaders in the Northern Virginia region (Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington Counties, including all towns and municipalities- and the City of Alexandria) are encouraging residents to maintain their vigilance in preventing the spread of COVID-19 this fall and winter and throughout the holiday season.
Although Northern Virginia localities have some of the highest vaccination rates in the state, there is still substantial transmission of COVID-19 in the community, and we must remain vigilant to protect those who are not eligible for vaccination and those at higher risk for serious illness. As we know, exposure to the virus can occur anywhere the virus is spreading. Residents of Northern Virginia live, work, play, and learn across jurisdictions so it is vital that we all continue to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition, Northern Virginia is a popular tourist destination; many travel here from areas with higher transmission levels.
“Northern Virginia residents have continually shown that we can work together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic – through testing, vaccination and staying home when sick,” said Dr. David C. Rose, health director for the City of Alexandria. “We all need to keep up our defenses throughout the expected winter surge in cases.”
Health Directors in the Northern Virginia region are closely monitoring the level of community transmission in Northern Virginia and the disease trends locally, as well as in locations where people may travel. Their recommendations are based on those trends in addition to vaccination coverage, the presence of COVID-19 variants, and other factors, to balance people’s desire to ease precautions with the importance of protecting our community.
As the fall and winter holidays approach, friends and extended families will be getting together across the region and traveling throughout the United States and globally. With more people spending time indoors with others as cold weather sets in, public health leaders encourage everyone to maintain their layered prevention activities which may include:
- Get all eligible members of your family fully vaccinated, including booster shots, if appropriate.
- Wear a mask indoors when around those not in your household.
- Stay home when sick.
- Socially distance - stay six feet from others as much as possible.
- Avoid crowded and indoor areas where distancing is not possible, or where you will be in close contact with those whose vaccination status is unknown.
- If you think you may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed, get tested and follow guidelines for isolation and quarantine.
- Wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available. This will help prevent many diseases, including the seasonal flu.
- If you are not fully vaccinated, stay away from others and get tested 3-5 days after returning home from travel.
We know from experience that the COVID-19 virus continues to be a threat to our community, that surges in COVID-19 and flu cases this fall and winter season are likely, and that continued use of mitigation strategies works to keep all of us safer against both viruses.
For more information on COVID-19, visit staywellnova.com. To find a vaccination location, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call (877) VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.