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COVID-19 community transmission rates reach 'high level' in 3 Hampton Roads cities

Hampton, Newport News and Portsmouth are at high levels, according to CDC data.

NORFOLK, Va. — Three Hampton Roads cities are experiencing a high community transmission rate of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 In response, some organizations are making changes this week. 

CDC data shows Portsmouth, Hampton and Newport News are at a high level of transmission.  

In Portsmouth, leaders with the Norfolk Naval Shipyard are requiring employees to mask up starting Monday and continuing throughout the week.

People do not have to wear a mask when they are alone in their workspace, according to shipyard officials. For now, social distancing will also be mandated, but leaders said the mandate could be waived if people wear masks. 

“I think we are going to have to flexibly protect ourselves," said Dr. Elizabeth Broderick, a Newport News pediatrician.  

Broderick told 13News Now her clinic is seeing more children test positive for the virus. 

She is considering changing her mask policies, too. 

“We did recently go to having masks optional, and those of us that have immunocompromised friends and family have been continuing to mask," Broderick said. 

"With the transmission levels going back up, we may have to reassess the policy and go back to universal masking." 

Medical professionals, including Celebrate Healthcare and Sentara Healthcare, held a clinic on Saturday at the Hampton Convention Center to educate and vaccinate residents against the flu and COVID-19.

“If we want to protect ourselves and the ones we love, we have to get vaccinated... that is the best and first line of defense," Iris Lundy said, Sentara Healthcare's senior director of health equity.

Norfolk Naval Shipyard officials said if someone does not follow protocols, they could face disciplinary actions, including removal from a position. 

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