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BRHD encourages masking, is not discussing bringing back requirements as COVID-19 cases rise

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 9:22 PM EDT

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the Charlottesville area and health officials are offering a warning, and evaluating if we need to go back to tougher mitigation strategies.

The rise in cases is definitely smaller than other surges we’ve seen in the area, but health officials say it’s a reminder that we need to do what we can to protect our community before we see an even larger surge.

“It is extremely important, probably the most important to get vaccinated now more than it’s ever has been before,” said Jason Elliott, the spokesperson for the Blue Ridge Health District.

That’s because vaccines work. From June 1 to July 18, there has been just one COVID-19 case for roughly every 12,000 fully vaccinated Virginians (there have been 379 breakthrough cases among over 4.5 million vaccinated Virginians).

Elliott says keeping everyone healthy requires all of us -- vaccinated or not.

“If we keep in mind the number of people around us who haven’t been vaccinated, these mitigation strategies will be for the betterment of all of us.”

Elliott says BRHD has not discussed “the law side” of wearing a mask, but it’s still encouraged. University of Virginia Health Epidemiologist Costi Sifri says one of the reasons we’re doing better than other states is because of our vaccination rate.

“We’re in a good place,” Sifri said. “We are seeing an uptick a bit in cases but importantly that’s not been translated into hospitalizations and deaths, I think both statewide and in our community”

Sifri says if that changes, that may be when it’s time to reimplement safety measures.

“In general, I think there’s going to be probably some reluctance to do that, broadly,” he said. “But I think it will depend on what occurs locally.”

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

And, below, you can find August 2021 vaccination events hosted by the Blue Ridge Health District:

Blue Ridge Health District August 2021 events
Blue Ridge Health District August 2021 events(WVIR)

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