In a Thursday Twitter thread, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) urged all Virginians to “consider” following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated masking guidance.
“This is not a requirement, but a recommendation,” Northam wrote to his 238,000-plus followers.
The CDC on Tuesday reversed its masking guidance, saying they should be worn in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
On Monday, the Loudoun County Health Department said the county’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases was averaging about 30 per day, up from about 4 cases per day in June.
Virginia’s new case count has exceeded 1,100 per day as of Thursday, compared to 165 this time last month, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Health officials pointed to the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant as the main reason for the uptick in new cases.
Northam tweeted that more than 98% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the commonwealth have been among unvaccinated individuals since January.
Between June 1 and July 22, however, only 94.85% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Virginia and 93.1% of related deaths were among the unvaccinated, according to the latest VDH data.
“We know the vaccines work … [b]ut we are now seeing a rise in cases due to the Delta variant,” Northam wrote.
He continued, “Masks are effective at preventing the spread of #COVID19, but getting vaccinated is the surest way we can bring this pandemic to an end.”LCHD Director Dr. David Goodfriend said Wednesday that he had recommended Loudoun County Public Schools adopt universal masking for all K-12 students, teachers and staff regardless of vaccination status.
Goodfriend said the recommendation was in line with new guidance released by the CDC, VDH and Virginia Department of Education last week.
LCPS has not yet announced whether it will implement a universal mask mandate.