SNP updates COVID-19 masks requirements

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The Shenandoah National Park (SNP) announced that going forward masks must be worn in all buildings in the park effective today Aug. 22.

The change is in response to the high transmission rates in the area of the park regarding COVID-19.

The National Park Service (NPS) in collaboration with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) use the latest science to guide decisions regarding COVID-19.

Superintendent Pat Kenney explains that the park monitors local community levels and respond when transmission levels are high.

The trigger to require masking is when the majority of the counties that the park resides in move into high transmission status.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) community levels are released weekly and adjustments in requirements will be made accordingly.

Currently all individuals over the age of two must wear masks, regardless of vaccination status in all common areas and shared work spaces in the park.

The public can check the park’s website before visiting for the latest information about the current status on masks.

Visitors to any State or National Park are asked to follow signs and instructions that are posted at all parks in NPS.

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WPS issue a warning for parents and guardians

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Winchester Public Schools (WPS) issued a message to parents and guardians of two drug related concerns.

Schools nationwide have seen an increase in students ingesting THC laced candy items.

This trend has led to some serious health complications recently nationwide.

Another troubling trend is the increase incidents involving vapes and pills that contain traces of fentanyl.

School officials are asking parents and guardians to have a frank discussion about the dangers of such activity.

They ask that you make sure your child is aware of the dangers of accepting candy even from their peers as packaging can be deceptive.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers tips for talking to kids about the dangers here.

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CDC list all of LFHD as low COVID-19 Transmission Counties

rabies risk in strasburg

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have listed all counties in the Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD) as a low COVID-19 transmission rate area.

Under the new guidelines by the CDC of Low, Medium or High transmission rates.

Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren Counties are all listed as low in transmission of COVID-19.

Under the new CDC guidelines this means healthy people who are up to date on vaccinations do not have to wear masks.

Of course anyone is welcome to continue to use a mask if they choose especially those with compromised immune systems.

Masks are also still required on public transportation as well in some public buildings.

The rating of Low for the LFHD comes as new cases of COVID-19 have dropped by 20 percent in recent weeks.

Also the 72 percent of Virginians currently vaccinated has helped to keep the LFHD at its current Low transmission rate.

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CDC implements new mask guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set new guidelines for masks and where it is safest to go without one.

A seven day moving average has been implemented using current hospital beds in use, admissions and COVID-19 cases to determine low, medium or high transmission levels.

For instance as of Feb. 28  Valley Health have reduced reporting hospitalizations to once a week as current COVID-19 admission continue to drop.

You should talk with your health care provider for complete information.

Visit CDC.Gov to find where your community stands in the low, medium or high category.

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Winchester drops mask requirements in government centers

The Winchester CitE news letter announced that masks are no longer required for unvaccinated visitors in government buildings.

Where visitors to the Winchester City Government Buildings will no longer be required to wear masks there are circumstances that need to be considered.

City officials ask that you follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you feel sick stay at home, practice proper hygiene and wear a mask.

The CDC also recommends a mask for anyone who is recovering from COVID-19 symptoms for at least ten days.

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USDA detects bird flu in Kentucky and Virginia

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in a news release confirms cases of bird flu.

The bird flu strain has been detected in both Kentucky and Virginia.

One has been detected in a flock of commercial broiler chickens in Fulton County Kentucky.

The other detected in a backyard of mixed species in Fauquier County Virginia.

Health officials will depopulated to the birds to prevent the spread of the bird flu.

The birds will not enter the food system.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed there is no immediate public health concerns at this time.

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The CDC updates COVID-19 Omicron recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website shows updated information for quarantine recommendations for the COVID-19 variant.

The website shows that anyone exposed to the COVID-19 Omicron variant needs to quarantine for five days.

If you are asymptomatic or symptoms resolve without fever after 24 hours of quarantine that should be followed by mask wearing for at least five days.

The change is motivated by scientific data that indicates that transmission occurs in the early stages of the illness.

Visit for more information and specifics on information for those that suffer from immune deficiencies.

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CDC issues new eviction ban for most of US through Oct. 3

By Associated Press | Published Aug. 4, 2021 12:34 p.m.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new eviction moratorium that would last until Oct. 3, as the Biden administration sought to quell intensifying criticism from progressives that it was allowing vulnerable renters to lose their homes during a pandemic.

The ban announced Tuesday could help keep millions in their homes as the coronavirus’ delta variant has spread and states have been slow to release federal rental aid. It would temporarily halt evictions in counties with “substantial and high levels” of virus transmissions and would cover areas where 90% of the U.S. population lives.

The announcement was a reversal for the Biden administration, which allowed an earlier moratorium to lapse over the weekend after saying a Supreme Court ruling prevented an extension. That ripped open a dramatic split between the White House and progressive Democrats who insisted the administration do more to prevent some 3.6 million Americans from losing their homes during the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Biden said he pushed the CDC to again consider its options. But he still seemed hesitant as to whether the new moratorium could withstand lawsuits about its constitutionality, saying he has sought the opinions of experts as to whether the Supreme Court would approve the measure.

“The bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster,” Biden said. “But there are several key scholars who think that it may and it’s worth the effort.”

The president added that the moratorium — even if it gets challenged in court — “will probably give some additional time” for states and city to release billions of dollars in federal relief to renters.

Politically, the extension could help heal a rift with liberal Democratic lawmakers who were calling on the president to take executive action to keep renters in their homes. The administration had spent the past several days scrambling to reassure Democrats and the country that it could find a way to limit the damage from potential evictions through the use of federal aid.

But pressure mounted as key lawmakers said it was not enough.

Top Democratic leaders joined Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., who has been camped outside the U.S. Capitol for several days. Overnight Monday Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., and others gave her a brief reprieve so she could rest indoors. The freshman congresswoman once lived in her car as a young mother and pointed to that experience to urge the White House to prevent widespread evictions.

As she wiped her eyes before a crowd at the Capitol after the CDC’s announcement, Bush said she was shedding “joyful tears.”

“My God, I don’t believe we did this,” she said. “We just did the work, just by loving folks to keep millions in their homes.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was a day of “extraordinary relief.”

“The imminent fear of eviction and being put out on the street has been lifted for countless families across America. Help is Here!” Pelosi said in a statement.

Administration officials had previously said a Supreme Court ruling stopped them from setting up a new moratorium without congressional backing. When the court allowed the eviction ban to remain in place through the end of July by a 5-4 vote, one justice in the majority, Brett Kavanaugh, wrote that Congress would have to act to extend it further.

But on Tuesday, the CDC cited the slow pace of state and local governments disbursing housing aid as justification for the new moratorium.

Aside from the moratorium, Biden has insisted that federal money is available — some $47 billion previously approved during the pandemic — that needs to get out the door to help renters and landlords.

“The money is there,” Biden said.

The White House has said state and local governments have been slow to push out that federal money and is pressing them to do so swiftly.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen briefed House Democrats Tuesday about the work underway to ensure the federal housing aid makes it to renters and landlords. She provided data so that lawmakers could see how their districts and states are performing with distributing the relief, according to a person on the call.

The treasury secretary tried to encourage Democrats to work together, even as lawmakers said Biden should act on his own to extend the eviction moratorium, according to someone on the private call who insisted on anonymity to discuss its contents.

Yellen said on the call, according to this person, that she agrees “we need to bring every resource to bear” and that she appreciated the Democrats’ efforts and wants “to leave no stone unturned.”

The CDC put the initial eviction ban in place as part of the COVID-19 response when jobs shifted and many workers lost income. The ban was intended to hold back the spread of the virus among people put out on the streets and into shelters, but it also penalized landlords who lost income as a result.

National Apartment Association president and CEO Bob Pinnegar said the organization “has always held the same position — the eviction moratorium is an unfunded government mandate that forces housing providers to deliver a costly service without compensation and saddles renters with insurmountable debt.”

Democratic lawmakers said they were caught by surprise by Biden’s initial decision to end the moratorium even though the CDC indicated in late June that it probably wouldn’t extend the eviction ban beyond the end of July.

Rep. Maxine Waters, the powerful chair of the Financial Services Committee, has been talking privately for days with Yellen and urged the treasury secretary to use her influence to prod states to push the money out the door. But Waters also called on the CDC to act on its own.

After the CDC’s announcement Tuesday, Waters released a statement thanking Biden “for listening and for encouraging the CDC to act! This extension of the moratorium is the lifeline that millions of families have been waiting for.”


Associated Press writers Michael Casey and Alexandra Jaffe contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to show that the last name of the California Democratic congressman is Jimmy Gomez, not Gonzalez.

(All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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LFHD and CDC advise masking up especially in certain counties

rabies risk in strasburg

Dr. Colin Greene said that COVID-19 cases have quadrupled in Virginia and possibly tripled in his Lord Fairfax Health District.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website currently shows the risk of transmission is listed as moderate in Shenandoah County and high in Page County.

Gov. Northam’s team is reviewing the latest data with recommendations expected soon.

The CDC currently recommends masking up indoors no matter what your vaccination status is.

That is currently the best protection against COVID-19 at this time.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Advice for those facing eviction from the LAJC

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium ends Jul. 30.

With that, the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) is anticipating an influx of eviction hearings.

The LAJC reminds those with concerns to consult with a lawyer and always attend your court case.

There are a number of resources available to help families stay in their homes.

There is free advice from attorneys at the LAJC website.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.