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VDH warns parents to be vigilant

Just as schools get ready to begin a new year, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has put out a warning to parents to be vigilant in taking mitigation measures to protect children against the rapid spread of the delta variant of COVID-19.

The release issued Wednesday, Aug. 4, said VDH is reporting an increase in COVID-19 outbreaks in childcare facilities and summer camps.

“The agency is warning parents and guardians that they need to be vigilant in taking mitigation measures to protect their children from contracting and spreading COVID-19,” the release said.

The VDH says the Central Region, which includes the Piedmont Health District, has seen 10 COVID-19 outbreaks in summer camps and 10 more in childcare and preschool facilities since July 1. Of those cases, 95% have been unvaccinated patients. Of those cases, 40% of those who contracted the virus were eligible to be vaccinated.

“The delta variant spreads more than twice as easily as previous variants,” Dr. Caroline Holsinger, director of VDH’s Division of Surveillance and Investigation, said. “Vaccination is still the best way to protect against the delta variant, but for children not yet eligible for the vaccine, it’s important to follow proper mitigation measures — wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing.”

Cumberland County Public Schools recently adopted an optional mask policy while Buckingham County Public Schools voted 4-3 Tuesday, Aug. 3, to require students to wear masks. Prince Edward County students are required to wear masks except when eating or playing outside. Lunenburg and Charlotte counties have adopted optional mask polices.