Health directors urge mask use indoors


By Katherine Hapgood |

All five Northern Virginia health directors, including Alexandria Health Department Acting Director Dr. Anne Gaddy, issued a joint letter of recommendations for indoor mask use, regardless of vaccination status, in Northern Virginia on Tuesday, according to a news release.

The new recommendation follows a recent upswing in average daily COVID-19 case numbers throughout the region and the rise of the Delta variant nationwide. All five health directors urged residents to wear masks while indoors in public settings, regardless of their vaccination status.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its recommendations for indoor mask use on July 27 as well.

Currently, all visitors and employees in City of Alexandria facilities are required to wear a mask and the federal government continues to require that masks are worn when using public transportation, including on buses, trains and airplanes, according to the release.

“With the rise of the Delta variant, it is more important than ever for individuals and institutions to take action for our community,” Gaddy said in a statement. “If you’re in a public indoor space, wear a mask. If you’re a business or organization, require masks. We all have a role in stopping this surge.”

Alexandria, like its Northern Virginia counterparts, is currently in a state of substantial transmission, with 73.69 new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days, according to AHD. New COVID-19 cases have risen in the city over the past few weeks, after dipping significantly in June.

The city’s current seven-day moving average is 17.3 cases, according to AHD. Since July 16, cases have risen by 252 in the city, hitting recent dual highs of 25 cases in a day on July 23 and 28. There have been a total of 12,186 cases in the city and 141 deaths since the start of the pandemic.