Northern Virginia Health Directors' Letter

Read recommendations on face coverings from health officials in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County.

To: Northern Virginia Mayors and Chairs, Northern Virginia Chief Administrative Officers

From: Northern Virginia Health Directors

Date: August 3, 2021

RE: Updated Interim Recommendations for Mask Wearing in Northern Virginia

Currently all northern Virginia jurisdictions are experiencing substantial disease transmissions and are trending upwards in their average number of daily cases.

Based on this, the five Northern Virginia Health Departments recommend that individuals wear masks while indoors regardless of vaccination status, in government and other public settings.

This update clarifies what applies to the fully vaccinated against COVID‐19 and the not fully unvaccinated.

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its recommendations for mask use. These recommendations are available online.

These new recommendations are focused on how communities can best reduce the spread of the Delta variant of COVID‐19 through appropriate use of masks and additional mitigation strategies in both fully vaccinated and the not fully vaccinated individuals that includes:

  • Wearing a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask at all levels of community transmission.
  • Getting tested if experiencing COVID‐19 symptoms.
  • Isolating if they have tested positive for COVID‐19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID‐19 symptoms.
  • For fully vaccinated individuals, getting tested 3‐5 days after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID‐19 and wearing a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until they receive a negative test result. Exposed individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to quarantine for 14 days as directed by public health.
  • Continuing to follow any applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.

On July 29, Governor Northam stated that “All Virginians should consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings where there is an increased risk of COVID‐19 transmission, as the new CDC guidance recommends.”

We also encourage continued efforts to further improve vaccination rates and efforts to maintain other mitigation measures to address this increased disease burden on our community.

As the pandemic progresses, we will continue to evaluate new information on COVID‐19 to adjust our recommendations as needed to ensure our residents and our region continue to thrive.

Sincerely,

Anne Gaddy, MD, MPH

Acting Director, Alexandria Health Department

Reuben K. Varghese, MD, MPH

Director, Arlington Health District

Gloria Addo‐Ayensu, MD, MPH

Director, Fairfax County Health Department

David Goodfriend, MD, MPH

Director, Loudoun County Health Department

Alison Ansher, MD, MPH

Director, Prince William Health District