Hanover County reviewing COVID-19 policies as transmission increases


“People cannot feel safe just because they’ve had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves,” said one WHO official. (Getty Images)

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Hanover County is reviewing its COVID-19 policies as the transmission of cases continues to increase.

During the July 28 Board of Supervisors meeting, Deputy County Administrator Jim Taylor was slated to provide the final COVID-19 vaccination update. However, in light of new mask recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, both Taylor and Hanover County Administrator John Budesky said that there could be additional updates moving forward.

“We had planned for this to be the last update for the Board, but we’ll just have to see how that goes, with some of the recent developments,” Taylor said. “While the seven-day [COVID-19] positivity rate in Virginia has declined in recent months, we are seeing an increase recently. The Chickahominy Health District is currently slightly higher than the state rate at 5.4%.”

The Chickahominy Health District includes the counties of Hanover, Charles City, Goochland and New Kent.

The Hanover Vaccination Center closed on June 25. Still, Taylor said Hanover County has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the commonwealth. It is also considered an area of high community transmission, according to the CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker, based on data from July 25-31.

“Our community, like many communities, is seeing a rise in cases, specifically with the Delta variant. We do need to be vigilant,” Budesky said. “We’re going to look at our own policies for our employees and our communities here and continue to monitor the situation.”

He said that while the county has been following CDC guidance, it was also under the governor’s order until July 1. Now that mask mandates have been lifted, Budesky said Hanover County officials will need to look at how current policies and practices fit in with those recommended by the CDC.

According to data presented to the Board of Supervisors at its July 28, meeting, Hanover County residents in the 65-74 age range have the highest percentage of COVID-19 vaccination with 88%. However, the data also showed that just 44.1% of county residents in the 12-15 age range have received the vaccine, and 56.8% of county residents in the 25-34 age range have received the vaccine.

(Courtesy: Hanover County)

In light of new health guidance from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), stating that all adults and children above the age of two should wear masks in school buildings and during school activities, Taylor said that Hanover County Public Schools officials are evaluating what to do for the upcoming academic year.

Similarly, Budesky said that he is working with the County Attorney and Human Resources to determine how Hanover County will move forward with its health policies for local government employees.

“There are growth in our cases, just as there is in our community, some of which may be contracted while people are in their public service duties,” Budesky said. “So it’s my intent to work with the County Attorney and our HR office to look at how we can look back to leave that was in place prior to those orders expiring to be able to have potential leave for those that would acquire COVID in the conduct of their duty.”

Taylor said that Hanover County will continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and respond accordingly.

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