Page County falls under CDC’s new mask guidance
PAGE COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new mask guidelines after COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Virginia including in the Shenandoah Valley.
The new recommendation suggests areas in Virginias which have a high risk of transmission of the coronavirus to mask back up when inside spaces regardless of your vaccination status.
According to a map on the CDC’s website from Wednesday afternoon, the areas of Augusta, Rockingham, Shenandoah counties in Virginia as well as Hardy and Grant counties in West Virginia had a moderate level of transmission.
Pendleton County in West Virginia had a low level of transmission but Page County in Virginia was marked red for a high level of transmission.
“In the last month, COVID-19 cases have quadrupled in Virginia,” Dr. Colin Greene with the Lord Fairfax Health District said. “They’ve probably tripled in the Lord Fairfax Health District, and between double and tripled in Page County as well.”
Greene said out of the two health districts he oversees, Page County has the lowest vaccination rate at 40 percent.
Greene said within the last week there has been an average of three positive cases each day. A number that may seem low but with a population of 24,000 people it shows up as a high-risk transmission area.
“Page County with a relatively low population county those numbers are a little harder to interpret,” Greene said. “Just because a change of a relatively few numbers of cases can change the category the county is in.”
This would mean the CDC recommends the county wear a mask in indoor public spaces regardless of your vaccination status. No mandate has been set and Greene said it’s really up to businesses to enforce their own level of safety.
As of Wednesday, two tourist attractions for the county both Luray Caverns and Shenandoah National Park have updated their policy to require guests to wear masks while indoors when spacing cannot happen.
“What’s changing is there’s a push towards starting off the k-12 school year with everybody masked,” Greene said. " There’s also a push toward someone who is exposed, even if they’ve been vaccinated to be more careful about making sure they don’t get sick.”
As of Wednesday, Page County Public Schools announced it has not yet made a decision to require masks starting on the first day of school which is Aug. 23.
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