Virginia Department of Health: Vaccinations for Second Phase Group Starting Next Week

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) said Friday that 11 select health districts around the state will begin vaccinating the second phase of priority populations, group 1b, this week, according to a press release from the agency. 

VDH’s announcement comes two days after Governor Ralph Northam held his first COVID-19 press briefing of 2021, where he said the state would be faster at administering vaccines, implemented a “use it or lose it” policy for providers and released specifics on the people in group 1b. 

Read More

Governor Northam Appoints Dr. Danny Avula to Lead Virginia’s Vaccination Program

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has appointed Dr. Danny Avula, director of the Richmond City and Henrico County health departments, to lead the Commonwealth’s ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program.

Northam made the announcement during a coronavirus press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, the first time he has provided updates on the virus to the public in the new year.

Read More

Bill Allowing Religious Exemptions for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Considered Again by General Assembly

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines now being distributed and administered across the Commonwealth of Virginia, a Republican state Senator is looking to revisit the topic of religious exemptions to immunizations when the General Assembly convenes for its regular session in ten days.

Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) has introduced and pre-filed Senate Bill 1116, which would allow for a parent or guardian to object to the vaccination of a child on the grounds that immunization conflicts with their religious practices or tenets, even during an emergency declared by the state board of health.

Read More

Falls Church City Public Schools Plans to Have All Students Back In-Person by End of January

Falls Church City Public Schools plans to have all students back to in-person classes by the end of January, according to a notice from Superintendent Peter Noonan.

“ALL students are slated to return in the month of January,” Noonan said on Monday. “We plan to return students in phases beginning on January 5, 2021, consistent with employee capacity to clean our buildings. We will open, starting with the smallest cohort and lead up to the largest cohort.”

Read More

Vaccinations in Virginia Are Lagging Behind Distributed Doses

Coronavirus vaccination efforts by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have been ongoing since December 15, but the number of administered doses is significantly less than the amount distributed throughout the Commonwealth.

According to the COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, as of Thursday, Virginia has distributed 388,100 doses, but only 64,882 have actually been administered so far.

Read More

More Than 40,000 Virginians Have Received COVID-19 Vaccines So Far

Roughly 41,709 Virginians have received first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines so far, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), as the state continues its efforts to reach herd immunity and put an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the VDH launched the COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard, which will be updated daily to keep the public informed about the number of vaccines distributed and administered as well as the demographics of recipients.

Read More

140,000 Doses of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Arrive in Virginia

Roughly 140,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Virginia on Wednesday after the state had initially placed an order with the company last week, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) said in a news release.

Shipments of Moderna’s vaccine, approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, as well as Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine are being delivered to healthcare facilities and health departments across the Commonwealth this week. The two vaccines are going to 96 “geographically diverse locations” in the state, according to the release.

Read More

CVS Begins Effort to Administer COVID-19 Vaccinations

CVS announced Monday that it has formally launched its program to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents and staff of long-term care facilities and will begin its efforts in Virginia on December 28th, according to a press release. 

The company said that its teams will start administering doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week across 12 states – including Ohio, Connecticut, Florida and Oregon, among others – and expects to vaccinate a total of four million residents and staff at over 40,000 long-term care facilities through the program. 

Read More

Virginia to Receive Over 100,000 Fewer COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Than Anticipated

Virginia is now expected to receive just under 110,000 fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses from the federal government than originally anticipated.

Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccination program, informed the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) late Thursday night, and now the state is preparing to get 370,650 vaccine doses by the end of December instead of the initial 480,000 projection, according to a press release.

Read More

Virginia Hospitals Receive First Shipments of COVID-19 Vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine has finally arrived in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Several hospitals in Virginia received initial shipments of the newly approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week, kicking off the state’s months-long plan for mass vaccinations and finally signaling a potential end to the pandemic.

Read More

Virginia High School League: Athletes Advised to Wear Masks During Competitions

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) is requiring participating schools to follow health recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) that strongly advise student-athletes to wear masks at all times while on the sidelines as well as during practices and games, the league said Thursday.

In a press release emailed to media outlets, VHSL Executive Director John “Billy” Haun announced the decision to adhere to the state health department.

Read More

Northam Imposes Curfew, New Mask Requirement, Updated Gathering Limits for Virginia

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued increased statewide restrictions during a press briefing Thursday afternoon to combat rising coronavirus numbers in the Commonwealth as the Christmas holiday approaches.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 14th, a modified stay-at-home order will be in place with a curfew for all Virginians from midnight to 5 a.m. The only exceptions are getting food and goods, seeking medical attention as well as traveling to and from work.

Read More

Virginia Department of Health Adopts CDC Quarantine Guidelines

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced Tuesday that it is adopting newly revised COVID-19 quarantine guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that were released earlier this month.

VDH and the CDC recommends people who test positive for coronavirus or may have been exposed to quarantine for a full 14 days, but the new guidelines have two additional alternatives for a shorter length of isolation.

Read More

Department of Health: Virginia to Receive 480,000 Vaccine Doses by End of December

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced on Friday that the Commonwealth is preparing to receive 480,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December based on new information from the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed.  

As Governor Ralph Northam noted during a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted last week to officially recommend healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents as top priority for vaccination.

Read More

Virginia Could Receive Vaccine Doses by Mid-December, Northam Says

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said that initial doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in the state as early as mid-December.

During a coronavirus press briefing Wednesday afternoon, the governor shared details on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plans instead of implementing new statewide restrictions.

Read More

Virginia COVID-19 Update: Coronavirus Numbers Rising Throughout the State, Vaccine Expected by Year End, Officials Say

As the winter months, colder weather and the holiday season are approaching, the coronavirus numbers, encompassing a number of different metrics, have been increasing throughout Virginia over the last month or so, according to government officials.

At a televised briefing Tuesday afternoon, Governor Ralph Northam said the state is seeing a rise in cases, percent positivity – now at 6.2 percent – and hospitalizations.

Read More

COVID-19 Update: Virginia’s Current Outlook by the Numbers

A report from the University of Virginia (UVA) Biocomplexity Institute published last Friday showed that the statewide COVID-19 reproduction rate is above 1.0 (1.031) and in all regions except one, meaning the virus is spreading quickly across the Commonwealth, and classifies five out of 35 health districts as a surge.

The UVA Biocomplexity Institute also uses an adaptive model, tracing past and current trends, to predict what could happen in the future. In that report, the model predicted there could be 202,040 total confirmed cases in Virginia by Thanksgiving, an increase of 41,197 confirmed cases from Saturday’s count.

Read More

New Research Shows Excess of Non-COVID Deaths Increased Over Course of Pandemic

New research from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) shows that excess, non-COVID-19 deaths increased over the course of the pandemic. The authors theorized that the pandemic caused “disruptions” that led to these deaths.

Non-COVID deaths accounted for over thirty percent of the overall excess deaths. The most significant non-COVID causes of death were heart disease, Alzheimer disease, and dementia. 

Read More

Virginia Proposes to Spend Nearly $121 Million in CARES Funding for COVID Vaccinations, Mentions ‘Vaccine Record Cards’

Virginia plans on spending nearly $121 million on CARES funding for COVID-19 vaccine equipment and advertisement. This according to a proposal draft, reportedly submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.

Nearly $6 million will be spent on equipment: over $111 million on administration and staffing and $3 million in a “public education campaign.”

Read More

Virginia Department of Health Spent Over $56K to Sign Teens up for Sex-Ed Texting

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) appropriated over $56,000 to fund a sex-help texting line for teenagers. The resource, BrdsNBz, doesn’t require parental permission.
VDH sent out postcards across the state inviting anyone ages 13-19 to anonymously text a number for sex education. BrdsNBz says it provides “medically-accurate information about sexual health topics” relayed by a trained “Health Education team.” It also promises “local resources and referrals,” though it does not mention what those entail.

Read More

Rip Off: Over $1.7 Million of CARES Funding Wasted on COVID-19 Exposure App Used by Only 13.5 Percent of Cell Phone Users

The Virginia government will reportedly have spent over $1.7 million for the COVID-19 exposure reporting app COVIDWISE, which 13.5% of cell phone users have downloaded. Approximately $1.5 million was spent on marketing alone.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and SpringML Inc. received $229,000 in CARES federal emergency funding to co-develop and launch COVIDWISE. The app allows users to upload their positive test results, which allows other users to receive exposure notifications. Users will only be notified if they have been within a 6 foot vicinity for over 15 minutes.

Read More

Virginia Department of Health Launches New Pandemic Metrics Dashboard

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on Monday launched a new pandemic metrics dashboard with more specific, aggregated data to show where COVID-19 is spreading in Virginia’s different regions and any changes occurring over time. 

The new dashboard will be updated weekly and features three different tabs: About the Data, Daily Region Metrics, Weekly Transmission Extent. Additionally, School Metrics from the CDC are included within the dashboard.  

Read More

Governor and First Lady Northam Test Positive for COVID-19

Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that he and his wife, First Lady Pamela Northam, have tested positive for COVID-19. The Northams received testing after learning that one of the governor’s staff members tested positive. 
Northam reports that he is asymptomatic; his wife is experiencing “mild symptoms.” The pair plan to isolate for ten days and then undergo another examination, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidelines.

Read More

Hispanics in Virginia Significantly More Likely to Have COVID-19 Antibodies than Other Adults, VDH Study Says

Hispanic adults are four times more likely to have prior traces of a COVID-19 infection when compared to the average Virginian, according to a Virginia Department of Health (VDH) study published Friday.

The Coronavirus Serology Project was conducted this summer from June 1 to August 14 by adult patients in Virginia presenting non-COVID related symptoms agreeing to complete a questionnaire and provide a blood sample for antibody testing. 

Read More

COVID-19 Update: New CDC Information Raises Questions, Virginia’s Outlook

It has been six months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in March forcing nationwide shutdowns and changing the way millions of people live, but new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raises questions about the severity of coronavirus and who is impacted most.

For six percent of the deaths between February 1 and August 29, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. Conversely, 94 percent of deaths involving COVID have additional causes or conditions, according to the CDC.

Read More

Fatal Overdoses and Emergency Calls Rise in Virginia, Highlighting Impact of COVID-19 on Substance Abuse

Fatal drug overdoses and non-alcohol overdose calls have increased in Virginia since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown, highlighting a troubling trend and fallout from the deadly virus.

“[COVID-19] has undoubtedly increased the overdoses as well as overdose death as well as relapse for those who were in recovery from addictions,” John Shinholser, president and co-founder of the McShin Foundation, said in an interview with The Virgina Star. 

Read More

Application That Alerts Virginia Users of Possible COVID-19 Exposure Downloaded More Than 300,000 Times

COVIDWISE, an app that alerts users of possible COVID-19 exposure, has been downloaded 356,777 times in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

The application was launched by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on August 5.

Read More