State mask guidelines aligned with CDC

Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Fully vaccinated people in Virginia no longer need to wear masks for outdoor activities when alone or in small groups.

Gov. Ralph Northam updated an executive order to go along with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. However, masks are still required indoors, as well as outdoors at concerts, sporting events, graduation ceremonies and other large gatherings.

“The CDC’s recommendations underscore what we have said all along — vaccinations are the way we will put this pandemic behind us and get back to normal life,” Northam said in an April 29 statement. “Our increasing vaccination rate and decreasing number of new COVID-19 cases has made it possible to ease mitigation measures in a thoughtful and measured manner.”

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Northam also updated his executive order to allow up to 1,000 people to attend outdoor sports events. That had not been scheduled to go into effect until May 15, but it is now effective immediately.

Other measures are set to take effect May 15, and Northam expects to ease capacity limits in mid-June if state health metrics stay stable and there is a continued increase in vaccinations.

More than 3.7 million state residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, making up about 57% of the state’s adult population, and 2.5 million, or 39% of adults, are fully vaccinated. The statewide seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate is 4.9%.

In Suffolk, 32,094 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 21,820 have been fully vaccinated. In Isle of Wight County, 15,778 people have received at least one dose, and 11,178 have been fully vaccinated.

Among Southampton County residents, 6,044 people have received at least one dose, while 4,176 have been fully vaccinated. In Franklin, 3,030 people have received at least one dose, with 2,141 having been fully vaccinated.

The seven-day average COVID-19 positivity rate in Western Tidewater ranges from 2.78% in Franklin to 4.45% in Southampton, 5.77% in Suffolk and 6.09% in Isle of Wight.

As of April 26, Sentara Obici Hospital had 18 COVID-19 patients and four available ICU beds, with its ICU at 73% capacity, while Bon Secours’ Southampton Memorial Hospital had one COVID-19 patient and three available ICU beds.

Chesapeake General Hospital’s ICU is at 95% capacity. Its hospital had 25 COVID-19 patients and two available ICU beds.