Health and Medicine
The entire Commonwealth of Virginia is now in Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations; it means everyone 16 and older in the state can now sign up. Convincing many people now eligible to do so may present a notable challenge, and the message is going out from Governor Northam and others to those in Phase 2 who have not registered for a vaccine.
The Virginia vaccination website now provides availability information across the state. As a practical matter, there have recently been plenty of appointments open in our region, but they remain fully booked in many of Virginia’s major population centers. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more on the statewide situation:
Click here for Virginia’s vaccination website which now includes vaccine appointment information statewide.
NEWS RELEASE: – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) today announced that the first cases of the SARS-CoV-2 variant P.1 have been identified in two samples from Virginia residents. One case was identified in an adult resident of the Northwest Region who had a history of domestic travel during the exposure period and the second case was identified in an adult resident of the Eastern Region with no history of travel. Neither case had a record of COVID-19 vaccination prior to illness onset. The P.1 variant, which was first identified in travelers from Brazil in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that infections with this variant cause more severe disease. To date, the P.1 variant has been identified in at least 22 other U.S. states.
In each case, the P.1 variant was initially identified by laboratories using next-generation sequencing to help expand Virginia’s genomic surveillance efforts for genetic changes to the virus that causes COVID-19. Of the 674 variants of concern reported to VDH to date, the majority have been identified as B.1.1.7 (78.5%), followed by B.1.351 (9.5%), B.1.427 (8.0%) and B.1.429 (3.7%). It is very likely that these variants are more common in our communities than the number of reported cases suggest. This is because not all COVID-19 positive samples are tested to see what variant type they are.
Viruses change all the time, and VDH expects to see new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as disease spreads. As our public health officials closely monitor the emergence of these SARS-CoV-2 variants in our Commonwealth, it is critical that all Virginians comply now with mitigation measures. Public health recommendations for stopping the spread of COVID-19 will work for all COVID-19 variants. This means wearing masks correctly, staying at least six feet from others, avoiding crowds, washing hands often, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 when it is your turn, and staying home if you are infected with COVID-19 or if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19. Answer the call if contacted by VDH as part of our case investigation and contact tracing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
As of April 16, 2021, Virginia has administered 5,105,585 COVID-19 vaccine doses. More than 3.3 million Virginians, representing 38.7% of Virginia’s total population, have received at least one dose. Of those, 2 million Virginians, or 23.5% of the Commonwealth’s population, are fully vaccinated.
Another April 16 milestone shows more than 2 million Virginians have joined the fight against COVID-19 using their mobile devices. This includes 1,082,068 COVIDWISE users – the nation’s first app using the Google/Apple framework and one of the most downloaded exposure notifications apps in the United States. Approximately 951,000 additional iPhone users have also turned on COVIDWISE Express, an exposure notifications option specifically for iPhone users.
Virginia will officially transition statewide Sunday to Phase 2 of COVID vaccinations. Most parts of the state — including our region — have already done so, but this will complete the process. In a video message marking the move, Governor Northam says a long-held goal remains in place of providing a first dose to all Virginians who want one by the end of May.
As of Sunday, the Virginia vaccination website will provide vaccination availability information across the state.
NEWS RELEASE: As Governor Ralph Northam announced earlier this month, all Virginians age 16 and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine starting Sunday, April 18. This expansion of eligibility comes as Virginia reaches a new milestone in its vaccination program— approximately half of all adults in the Commonwealth have received at least one dose.
A report has been released ranking states on order of safety and its impact on their economies. WFIR’s Rob Ruthenberg has this story.
A link to the survey can be found below.
In a remarkable turn of events, local health officials will provide COVID 19 vaccinations today at the Berglund Center without the need to schedule an appointment in advance. You no doubt know that until quite recently, demand for the vaccines far exceed the available supply. Local Health District Spokesperson Christie Wills says the demand is still very much there – it’s the supply that has changed.
The vaccinations are available today at the Berglund Center from 10:00 to 5:30. Anyone 18 and up who lives or works in the Roanoke Valley area is eligible. This clinic will administer the first of two Moderna doses. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:
For the first time, local health officials will offer COVID-19 vaccinations at the Berglund Center without an advance appointment. The clinic is scheduled to run Thursday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm. Officials say the first of two Moderna doses will be offered to anyone 18 and older. You are asked to bring some form of identification with you.
NEWS RELEASE: (ROANOKE, VA) — Based on sufficient supply of COVID-19 vaccine, the Roanoke City & Alleghany Health Districts invites any member of the general public to get vaccinated at the Berglund Center on Thursday, 4.15.21. Registration is not necessary for this clinic. Walk-in doses will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. All previously scheduled clinic appointments will be honored at their scheduled time.
“To date, more than 170,000 first and second doses of vaccine have been administered in the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts,” said Cynthia Morrow, RCAHD health director. “Vaccine supplies into our district have increased significantly which allows the opportunity for people to get their vaccinations at our clinic without an appointment on Thursday.”
The Moderna vaccine will be offered. Anyone who is age 18 or older is eligible to receive vaccine.
In addition, in partnership with Carilion Clinic, a Saturday clinic is being offered as a weekend option to help residents find convenient times to get a vaccine. (This is NOT a walk-up clinic.) The Pfizer vaccine will be offered. Anyone ages 16 or older is eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Minors ages 16-17 must come with a parent. Visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/roanoke/covid-vaccine/ to schedule an appointment.
Citizens can visit vaccinate.virginia.gov for more information about vaccines, or may call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA. English- and Spanish-speaking operators are available. Translation services also are available, in more than 100 languages and TTY.
Health care systems based in Roanoke, Lynchburg and Southside Virginia collectively report 124 patients hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19; that is down slightly from the week before, and it reverses a two-week increase. The number of patients under intensive care or on ventilators essentially held steady.
TODAY: Here are updated numbers for the Near Southwest Region (which includes Carilion, Centra, LewisGale, Sovah, and Salem VA facilities) as of today:
Hospitalized COVID-19 patients: 124
ICU patients: 33
Ventilator patients: 15
Hospitalized PUIs (patients under investigation awaiting results): 7
APRIL 7: Here are updated numbers for the Near Southwest Region (which includes Carilion, Centra, LewisGale, Sovah, and Salem VA facilities) as of today:
Hospitalized COVID-19 patients: 130
ICU patients: 32
Ventilator patients: 16
Hospitalized PUIs (patients under investigation awaiting results): 4
MARCH 31: Here are updated numbers for the Near Southwest Region (which includes Carilion, Centra, LewisGale, Sovah, and Salem VA facilities) as of today:
Hospitalized COVID-19 patients: 120
ICU patients: 38
Ventilator patients: 18
Hospitalized PUIs (patients under investigation awaiting results): 3
MARCH 24: Here are updated numbers for the Near Southwest Region (which includes Carilion, Centra, LewisGale, Sovah, and Salem VA facilities) as of today:
Hospitalized COVID-19 patients: 116
ICU patients: 32
Ventilator patients: 17
Hospitalized PUIs (patients under investigation awaiting results): 0
State health officials say the pause in administering Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines does not change key target dates, but it may still extend the vaccination process in places. At the same time, we have found there is an abundant local supply of Moderna and Pfizer doses awaiting appointments. If you have internet access and can get to any one of many area pharmacies, you can get a first Moderna or Pfizer dose on a same or next-day basis. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:
Click here for the vaccinefinder.org vaccination finder
Click here for the findashot.org vaccination finder
Following the FDA’s announcement it is putting the Johnson & Johnson 1-dose vaccine on hold as reports of extremely rare occurrences of blood clots have been detected in a handful of recipients, Dr. Cynthia Morrow with the local health district weighed in this morning. Morrow also said the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District vaccine clinics should not be greatly impacted by the J&J “pause,” with sufficient inventory of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on hand.