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New CDC re-masking guidelines say several Central Virginia areas should bring back masks

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Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 9:06 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - It may be time for some of us in Central Virginia to mask back up.

New CDC guidance says some counties in our viewing area meet the threshold to put those face coverings back on.

That guidance comes as cases are rising virtually everywhere across the country -- including in the Charlottesville area.

Although there’s not yet an indoor mask mandate in Virginia, the CDC says there should be.

The CDC released this map of the country, which says how your city or county is doing as far as COVID-19 transmission. If your area is orange or red, you should require masks inside.

In the central Virginia community, as of the July 27 update, here are the following localities in the:

Blue (low transmission):

  • Nelson County

Yellow (moderate transmission):

  • Albemarle County
  • Augusta County
  • Charlottesville City
  • Fluvanna County
  • Madison County
  • Staunton City

Orange (substantial transmission):

  • Louisa County

Red (high transmission):

  • Greene County
  • Orange County
  • Waynesboro City

“The potential for this to be a problem is much, much lower in areas with low amounts of disease,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

But the Virginia Department of Health is not making any masking decisions yet.

In a statement, the Blue Ridge Health District said: “The Virginia Department of Health will analyze the CDC’s guidance now that it has been released. Virginia’s approach to COVID-19 has always been driven by the science, and we continue to emphasize that the only way out of this pandemic is through vaccination.”

A spokesperson for the Blue Ridge Health District, Jason Elliott, said in an interview with NBC29 last week that “it is extremely important -- probably the most important -- to get vaccinated now more than it ever has been before.”

It’s vaccination that Walensky says will prevent her biggest fear.

“What we in public health and science are worried about is the virus and (how many) potential mutations away we are from a very transmissible virus that has the potential to evade our vaccines in terms of how it protects us from severe disease and death,” she said.

Walensky says that’s not the case now, and vaccines are very effective. But she also says this guidance makes sense because of the more transmissible Delta variant.

“In rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variants after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others,” she said. “This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendation.”

RELATED: New CDC guidelines call for masks in schools K-12

The CDC also says all schools should have universal masking, which is something Albemarle County Public Schools are already planning to do, and Charlottesville’s school board could vote to do in early August.

In the meantime, there are many ways for you to get vaccinated in our community. Here are a few of them:

Find COVID-19 vaccines on Vaccines.gov

UVA Health COVID vaccination clinic

Blue Ridge Health District vaccination scheduler

Call the BRHD COVID-19 Hotline 434-972-6261

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