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The omicron variant of COVID-19 has been reported in the Virginia Department of Health’s Northwest Region, the department announced late on Thursday.

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Hospitalizations and deaths attributed to COVID-19 were still on the rise locally on Friday as Virginia announced its first child death from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19.

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A new color-based visitation system will inform hospital visitors of the rules for visiting loved ones at a Valley Health hospital during high-risk times such as the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season.

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FRONT ROYAL – Samuels Public Library has joined 18 other libraries and library systems statewide by offering free, at-home COVID-19 tests through a partnership with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), according to a news release from the library.

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Valley Health lost a lot of money and a few employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, but thanks to dedicated staff it will able to tackle any upcoming challenges, the healthcare system’s president said Tuesday during the fall corporate meeting.

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COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 have been approved, and the Virginia Department of Health has announced the distribution of enough statewide doses for more than half the population in that age range.

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As booster shots for all three COVID-19 vaccines become available, Lord Fairfax Health District Director Dr. Colin Greene says Virginia appears to be past the peak of the recent outbreak.

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Reports of COVID-19 case numbers and deaths continued to rise around the region this week, and vaccination remains the health community’s best recommendation for preventing serious illness.

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About 97% of all Valley Health employees have either received the COVID-19 vaccine by the health system’s Sept. 7 deadline or have received an approved exemption, Valley Health said Monday.

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Virginia health officials were preparing Tuesday for plans to administer booster shots of the COVID-19 if and when they receive federal approval.

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As new cases of COVID-19 and its delta variant continued to climb in Virginia this week, State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver announced a new school mask mandate on Thursday, prompting school and government officials to urge community safety.

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Children ages 5 to 11 could start getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as September, and a third dose could also be recommended for people 12 and older later this year, Dr. Danny Avula, vaccine coordinator for the Virginia Department of Health, said in a Tuesday teleconference.

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Valley Health would not receive more money based on the number of its employees vaccinated from COVID-19, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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The Virginia Department of Health is reviewing whether residents in areas experiencing substantial and high transmission rates of the novel coronavirus  should consider wearing masks indoors — even if they are fully vaccinated.

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Valley Health — parent company of Winchester Medical Center, Shenandoah Memorial Hospital and Warren Memorial Hospital — announced Monday that it will require all of its employees, providers and contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning Nov. 1.

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As the region continues to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic, residents can expect to see  Health Department officials this summer at large events, such as the county fairs.

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WOODSTOCK — A few weeks ago at the Woodstock Cafe, Chef Jose Arevalos was the lone cook during the brunch rush, and his partner and cafe co-owner Nikki Grant could see the toll that shift took on him.

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Health providers in Virginia can, with approval from the Virginia Department of Health, begin vaccinating people ages 12-15 against the novel coronavirus and its variants.

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Lord Fairfax Community College held its final COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Wednesday, fully vaccinating another 700 patients.