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Central Virginia sees ‘dramatic surge’ in COVID cases at childcare facilities, summer camps

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 5:11 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2021 at 5:05 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Central Virginia has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases and outbreaks at childcare facilities and summer camps, the Virginia Department of Health said.

Health officials are now warning parents and guardians that they need to be vigilant in taking mitigation measures to protect children from contracting the virus as the delta variant spreads.

“The Central Region, which includes the Richmond, Henrico, Chickahominy, Chesterfield, Crater, Southside, and Piedmont health districts, has seen a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases and an increase in the number of outbreaks at childcare facilities and summer camps,” VDH said.

Since July 1, there have been 10 outbreaks at summer camps and 10 outbreaks at childcare facilities reported to the health department. VDH said 95 percent of those cases were unvaccinated individuals. During the same time period last year, only one outbreak in each summer camp and childcare facility was reported.

VDH said many of the outbreaks included people who were eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Forty percent of those unvaccinated cases were eligible to get vaccinated.

“The Delta variant spreads more than twice as easily as previous variants,” said Dr. Caroline Holsinger, director of VDH’s Division of Surveillance and Investigation. “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.”

Health officials said summer camps and childcare facilities should have a plan in place to protect children, their families and staff from getting sick.

“I would anticipate over the next three to four weeks that we’re going to see an increase in the number of infections in our pediatric population,” said Dr. Mark Marinello with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

VDH said the following can be done to help stop the spread:

  • Wear a mask correctly, especially indoors.
  • Watch your distance.
  • Wash your hands often.

Parents are also urged to check their child’s temperature and symptoms each morning before sending their child to camp or daycare. For camps overnight, VDH said parents should have their child tested for COVID before sending them.

For more information on how to protect children and prevent the spread, click here.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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