Yellow for Caution

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By Melissa Davies, Wise Ways Consulting

Are you confused about the CDC masking recommendations? If you are, you’re not alone. As the delta variant has spread, and vaccination rates have stalled, the transmission rate – even amongst people who have been vaccinated – is trending up.

People returning to offices and families preparing for a return to school in August are worried. COVID is continuing to mutate and change and public health recommendations are stretched between science and policy.

Here in Prince William County, we’re doing better than other parts of the country, but according to the CDC’s latest map, Prince William is solidly yellow. Yellow as in caution. The CDC advises that even if you’re vaccinated, you should return to wearing a mask indoors when you are out of your home in areas with an increased risk of transmission.

Okay, but how do you predict that?

 Really? You can’t. You can check local news sources much like checking a weather map, but it’s not the same.

Wearing a mask doesn’t mean the vaccines don’t work. It’s not an either they work or they don’t. Like with all diseases, vaccine breakthrough is real. But the vaccine lowers the chances of contracting COVID and protects you from serious illness, needing to be hospitalized, and dying. What science is showing is that the delta mutation is more contagious and can infect vaccinated people.

You have zero protection without a vaccine. Wearing a mask to protect against the variant also protects children and people who are medically unable to be vaccinated.

Looking for a vaccine location? Check here.

Vaccinations for Federal Workers

 Last week, the Biden administration announced that all federal employees and contractors must attest to their vaccination status or they will have to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and be tested for COVID. The vaccination part is clear, but if you have a vaccine, do you or don’t you have to wear a mask per the CDC recommendation? This is confusing, which takes us back to checking local sources to see if you are working in a COVID high transmission area.

You can choose not to be confused and accept that Prince William is a yellow caution county. Wear a mask when you are in crowded indoor places or around people who you don’t know. As we’ve been masking up for over a year, there is no longer a scramble to find masks. It’s now possible to source N95 and KN95 masks. Recently, area Giant Foods and other stores had such a high inventory of hand sanitizer, they were giving bottles away for free.

Until the world can control COVID-19, here in Prince William, in our offices, schools, and places of worship, and all the places where we seek entertainment and shopping, practice heightened hygiene. Wear a mask if you’re asked – that’s just polite. The delta variant is in our community and it’s not a welcome neighbor.


Melissa Davies is an executive leadership coach and facilitator as well as the author of How Not to Act Like a BLEEP at Work.  She resides in Prince William County and runs Wise Ways Consulting, which specializes in leadership, management and team development, executive coaching, group facilitation and high-engagement training.  She can be reached at or through



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