As coronavirus cases in the D.C. area slowly rise and vaccine immunity declines, some public health officials are recommending that residents consider wearing high-quality masks. There are no plans to restore mandates as people learn to live and work in a virus.
In D.C., state epidemiologist Anil Mangla said authorities noticed an increase in the number of cases last week, moving the city’s infection levels between low and moderate levels.
D.C. Public Health Officials Doesn’t Mandate It People are wearing masks again and following CDC guidance instead.
“It’s been two years and I’m still wearing a mask and keeping my distance. And touching a tree, I don’t have covid.” is called
Health departments in Virginia and Maryland continue to update covid data daily, with DC Health updates every Wednesday, but public health officials say more people are testing for coronavirus at home. Therefore, we believe that the number of cases is underreported.
“I don’t think the level of covid in our community has gone down,” said health director David Goodfriend. Loudoun County.
of health officials Montgomery County acknowledges increase in cases, Encourage and encourage residents to take precautionary measures Everyone wears a mask indoors, regardless of their vaccination status, but it is not required.
“The good news is that in the vast majority of cases, those who got the injection no longer have to deal with a serious bout of the disease,” county administrator Mark Erlich (D) told reporters Wednesday. said at the conference. “The bad news is that many people are letting their guard down and not taking seriously the devastating effects of COVID-19. In some cases it still remains or it could be the long lasting effects of covid. ”
proxy county Health Officer James Bridgers said there are no public health recommendations to reinstate mask mandates, but the county will continue to monitor case numbers and make adjustments as needed.
“If we get below the 200 per 1,000 threshold, we change the narrative information accordingly. It’s an additive process,” says Bridgers. “Covid is here and we need to continue to shape our behavior accordingly as the levels of our community shift from low to medium to high.”
prince george’s county hardest hit Jurisdictions in the region continued to record levels of community transmission during the week. Officials continued to monitor cases and urged residents to stay up to date on vaccines and follow CDC guidance.
“COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time, so we have to learn to live with it,” said Prince George, a spokesman for the county health department. Lettice said in an email. “While government COVID orders are no longer being implemented, health departments and county governments will always be more cautious in pandemic decision-making because residents have more tools to stay safe and healthy. I was approached.”
Since about mid-June, Virginia public health officials have been pushing for BA.5, which is the “most suitable variant,” according to Lillian Peek, an epidemiologist at the Virginia Department of Health. We are tracking a gradual increase in coronavirus cases.
“The greater ability to evade immunity from both past infections and vaccinations is leading to an increase in cases,” Peek said in a telephone interview on Friday, adding that hospitalizations have also gradually increased. .
Peake encouraged everyone eligible to get a second booster shot, but public health officials are still studying its efficacy against a dominant variant.
Covid-19 hospitalizations in Northern Virginia have been steadily increasing since late June, with a weekly average of 180 on Friday. According to the Virginia Department of Health.
Gabor Kellen, director of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, said: The hospital said it had seen an uptick in coronavirus patient admissions recently, rising to about 160 system-wide from a low of about 40 in mid-April.
There are many people in the community who He stressed some protection from serious illness and death from previous infections and vaccinations.
Deaths are a lagging indicator, but Kellen said, “We’ve never lost a covid patient in the ER forever,” compared to frequent deaths in the early stages of the pandemic. As shown, hundreds of people are still give in every day to the virus.
Kristen K. Coleman, a research assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, studies the viral load shed by people infected with the coronavirus and found that people with the Omicron variant are more likely to shed large amounts of virus. , compared to the previous strain.
Using the Gesundheit ll machine It was developed to measure influenza infection.
“Everything we’ve been doing is even more important now,” Coleman said in an interview Thursday. Not only is the efficacy weakened with these variants, but they are also highly contagious, and if you really want to avoid a release, you have to wear a really good quality mask.”
Several locations across the country have responded to the increase in cases by increasing precautions.Los Angeles County, which had considered reinstating indoor mask mandates, abandoned the idea on Thursday Due to the decrease in cases.
But closer to home, some public health officials are relaxing precautions.The Virginia Department of Health last month Quarantine relaxation Guidelines for people exposed to coronavirus. Individuals who have been vaccinated or have recovered from covid-19 within the past 6 months do not need to be quarantined. Under state guidelines, even though the CDC says post-infection immunity lasts half as long as state guidelines reflect.
in Arlington County Local coronavirus emergency declaration Repealed on August 15, it officially lifts the measure that allowed virtual government meetings for more than two years and gave restaurants a quick path to set up temporary outdoor seating areas.
State of emergency declarations like those in Arlington have allowed local governments to seamlessly transition from face-to-face to virtual operations at the start of the pandemic. In Arlington, county commission members were able to meet via Zoom, giving residents the opportunity to provide public comment online. This is even after lawmakers returned to in-person conference rooms last year.
Pandemic Emergency Declaration for City of Alexandria expired June 30th.
“This is definitely an important tool,” said Arlington County spokesman Ryan Hudson. “At this point, we have learned to live with this pandemic. It is clear that you are with us.”
Teo Armus and Antonio Olivo contributed to this report.
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