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(Updated 12/22/20) When COVID-19 vaccine first becomes available to the general public, we anticipate that the Loudoun County Health Department will provide free vaccine through carefully-organized mass vaccination clinics.
The Loudoun County Health Department expects to receive a first shipment of a limited quantity of vaccine during the week of Christmas. This vaccine is reserved for people who meet the highest priority for vaccine, such as our healthcare personnel and front-line workers. These vaccines will be administered in private clinics.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has established a COVID-10 vaccine unit to coordinate vaccination efforts. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has a COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. Vaccine will be distributed throughout the Commonwealth in accordance with VDH plans, which are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The role of different partners in vaccine distribution will depend on vaccine supply and the stage of the vaccine distribution plan.
(Updated 12/22/20) Because the current supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is limited, CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be offered to a first-tier priority group that is generally comprised of healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. This group is often referred to as "Phase 1a".
As vaccine supply increases, additional groups of people will be added in priority order. Subsequent priority groups will likely include front line essential workers, such as first responders, teachers, and postal, transit and grocery store workers, as well as people age 75 and older. Loudoun County will follow the recommendations of VDH and CDC for administration of vaccine.
Be patient. Eventually, enough vaccine will become available for everyone. When vaccine becomes widely available, the plan is to ultimately have COVID-19 vaccine available at doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
(Updated 12/22/20) The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Vaccine for the general population will likely become available in the first half of 2021. Stay informed to learn when vaccine is available in our area.
(Updated 12/22/20) The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine available.
(Posted 4/24/20) While there is no evidence that pets or livestock can transmit the virus to people, researchers are investigating whether animals can contract the virus from humans. Basic hygiene and distancing measures are recommended to keep everyone safe:
If you become ill, follow the CDC’s guidance. Consider having a friend, neighbor or family member provide care to your pets while you recover. If you do not have someone to help with care, practice good hand-washing and avoid sneezing or coughing on your pet.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and cannot leave your home to get pet food, contact the Department of Animal Services for assistance. The department can facilitate the delivery of up to two weeks of pet food to your home. Anyone who has questions about COVID-19 and animals or needs assistance may call the Department of Animal Services at 703-777-0406 or send an email.
(Updated 4/24/20) If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your doctor. Learn more about what to do if you are ill and how to monitor yourself for symptoms.
(Posted 3/17/20) Loudoun County is focused on the safety of everyone in Loudoun County. If any person or area within Loudoun County was believed to be at increased risk of infection, the Health Department would provide that information.
(Posted 3/17/20) We refer all ill people back to their provider, if they have one. While people are most concerned about coronavirus, the flu and other infections that have similar symptoms and can be treated are still around. If your provider will not see you and you need medical care, consider an urgent care center.
(Updated 4/24/20): On March 23, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 53, effective through April 23, 2020, which banned all gatherings of more than 10 people and closed all public and private K-12 schools in Virginia for the remainder of the academic year. On March 30, 2020, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 55, which puts a statewide stay-at-home order in effect through June 10, 2020.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors continues to meet. The Board is conducting "electronic meetings" under the Emergency Ordinance adopted by the Board March 25, 2020. The Board encourages residents to participate in the meetings remotely and to view the meetings through the Loudoun County webcast system or on television on Comcast Government Channel 23, Open Band Channel 40 or Verizon FiOS Channel 40.
(Posted 3/10/20): Quarantine of well persons and isolation of ill persons is a critical component of disease containment strategies. For over a month, the CDC has been identifying travelers at risk for COVID-19 and has been providing that information to public health departments for voluntary monitoring, quarantine and isolation. Under these conditions, there have been specific mechanisms put in place to ensure that those under monitoring are able to receive needed goods and services safely. While the recommendation to stay home when sick will remain critical guidance, whether similar formal isolation and quarantine agreements would be recommended in the event of a confirmed case not associated with travel would depend on whether these actions would continue to help protect the public or whether by that time the disease was already widespread.
(Posted 3/10/20): The Health Department tracks respiratory diseases, such as the flu or COVID-19, in our community through two main approaches: 1) test results of individuals and; 2) surveillance for increases in disease in our community, such as in the emergency departments, school absenteeism or use of over the counter cold medications. As many COVID-19 cases did not meet the initial testing criteria of requiring hospitalization, it is likely that there could have been mild cases in our community without our knowing.
(Posted 3/10/20): Per CDC recommendations, if you are unable to obtain extra necessary medications, consider mail-order for those medications.
(Updated 3/24/20): For any county facilities that remain open, Loudoun County is following CDC’s cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
(Posted 3/11/20): It is believed that the virus may take up to 14 days after exposure to cause illness. The CDC states that the following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
(Posted 3/11/20): According to the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, “The Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act is activated when the governor or the president declares a state of emergency covering parts of Virginia. The act prohibits a ‘supplier’ from charging unconscionable prices for ’necessary goods and services’ within the affected area during thirty (30) day period following the declared state of emergency.”
If you believe that a retailer is raising prices for necessary goods and services, you should file a complaint with Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General. Instructions for filing a price gouging complaint are posted on the OAG website.
It is important to note that as of March 11, 2020, no state of emergency has been declared for Virginia.
(Updated 4/24/20): In general, no, a person who is known to have been exposed to COVID-19 is not legally required to self-quarantine. In Virginia, enforced quarantine and isolation can only occur through an order by Virginia’s Health Commissioner. Since the outbreak began, the Health Department has been successfully monitoring Loudoun County residents on voluntary quarantine or isolation as a result of travel to high-risk countries.
(Updated 3/24/20): In general, it is prudent for women to take steps to stay protected from any infection during their pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Currently available data on COVID-19 does not indicate that pregnant women are at increased risk. However, pregnant women are known to be at greater risk of severe morbidity and mortality from other respiratory infections such as influenza and SARS-CoV. As such, pregnant women should be considered an at-risk population for COVID-19. Adverse infant outcomes (eg, preterm birth) have been reported among infants born to mothers positive for COVID-19 during pregnancy. However, this information is based on limited data and it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal infection. Currently it is unclear if COVID-19 can cross through the transplacental route to the fetus. In limited recent case series of infants born to mothers infected with COVID-19 published in the peer-reviewed literature, none of the infants have tested positive for COVID-19.” More information about pregnant women and infants and COVID-19 is posted on the CDC’s website.
(Posted 3/11/20): Currently, when a person is identified as a COVID-19 case, the Health Department approaches the situation the same way it does individuals with tuberculosis. The Health Department interviews the individual, identified contacts who merit follow-up, and works with the case to self-isolate until the person no longer poses a risk to others.