RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia health officials are warning the highly-contagious delta variant is causing an uptick in COVID outbreaks in childcare facilities and summer camps.
Virginia Department of Health (VDH) officials said the Central Region, which consists of the Richmond, Henrico, Chickahominy, Chesterfield, Crater, Southside and Piedmont health districts, has seen a "dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases" as well as an increase in outbreaks at summer camps and childcare facilities.
“The Delta variant spreads more than twice as easily as previous variants,” VDH’s Division of Surveillance and Investigation Director Dr. Caroline Holsinger said.
There have been ten COVID-19 outbreaks in summer camps and ten outbreaks in childcare/preschool facilities since July 1 in the Central Region, officials said. That is compared to one outbreak each in a camp and a childcare setting in 2020, according to officials.
"Ninety-five percent of those cases were unvaccinated," officials said about the latest cases.
Officials said 40% of the unvaccinated cases in childcare facilities and summer camps were eligible for the shot.
“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,” Holsinger said.
Officials urged parents "to be vigilant in taking mitigation measures to protect their children from contracting and spreading COVID-19" and said "every childcare program should have a plan in place to protect staff, children, and their families" from the virus.
Additionally, officials said the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry requires that staff in childcare settings wear masks, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.
Day care facilities and summer camps can help stop the spread with these steps:
- Wear a mask correctly, especially indoors.
- Watch your distance.
- Wash your hands often
Virginians age 12+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer required, so go to Vaccine Finder to search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.