2019 News Releases

November 22, 2019

State Health Officials Urge Virginians to Get Flu Vaccine
Leaders remind residents that November is not too late to vaccinate to prevent the flu this season

(Richmond, Va.)—With the 2019-2020 flu season underway, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) encourages all Virginians age 6 months and older who haven’t received their annual influenza vaccine to get one now! State health officials gathered Friday, November 22, to highlight the importance of the vaccine and to receive a flu shot themselves. more>>


November 20, 2019

Flu Vaccine Event with State Health Leaders

(RICHMOND, Va.) – Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Daniel Carey will join state health leaders and partners to discuss the importance of annual influenza immunization. Secretary Carey, State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, and other key stakeholders will receive the flu vaccine. more>>


November 15, 2019

GOVERNOR’S EMS AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED AT THE 40th ANNUAL VIRGINIA EMS SYMPOSIUM

(RICHMOND, Va.) – The 2019 Governor’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Award winners were announced at the 40th Annual Governor’s EMS Awards Ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia. These awards, given in Governor Ralph Northam’s name, recognize outstanding EMS providers and organizations from across the Commonwealth for their demonstrated level of excellence and dedication to the EMS system. more>>


October 21, 2019

VIRGINIA CELEBRATES “FARM TO CHILD AND ADULT CARE FOOD PROGRAM” WEEK
Events Encourage Increased Awareness of Virginia Agriculture

(Richmond, VA) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will recognize Virginia Farm to Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Week October 21 through 25 with events hosted throughout the Commonwealth. The CACFP provides nutritious snacks and meals that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth and development of young children as well as the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired or disabled persons enrolled at participating centers or facilities. more>>


October 18, 2019

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisories Remain Unchanged – Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa & Spotsylvania Counties
HAB Task Force Sampling to Resume in May 2020
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake

(Richmond, Va.) – The swimming advisory for Lake Anna State Park Beach based on the prior three sample events on September 10, 17 and October 8 have remained below safe swimming levels for cyanobacteria and toxins. The Upper to Middle portion of Pamunkey Branch, the North Anna Branch as well as the Main Branch of Lake Anna from the “Splits” to the confluence of Pigeon Run above Route 208 in Orange, all remain under advisory. Louisa and Spotsylvania counties continue to experience a harmful algae bloom (HAB). more>>


October 10, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Issues Fish Consumption Advisory for Nottoway River

(Richmond, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has issued an advisory on blue catfish consumption due to elevated mercury in blue catfish caught in the Nottoway River. Recent fish tissue sample results from the Nottoway River in 2017 and 2018 show mercury levels in blue catfish exceed the amount considered safe for long-term human consumption.

VDH advises eating no more than two meals a month of blue catfish taken from the Nottoway River. The advisory stretches from the confluence with the Blackwater River at the Virginia-North Carolina state line upstream to State Route 619 near Purdy, including its tributary Assamoosick Swamp, Three Creek up to I-95, Rowanty Creek and its tributaries, Hatcher Rum up to I-85 and Arthur Swamp up to I-85. For additional details, visit the VDH fish consumption advisory page at fishadvisories.vdh.virginia.gov. more>>


October 1, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Confirms First Death Related to E-Cigarette Use or “Vaping”

(Richmond, VA) – Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) confirmed that a Virginia resident has died in the outbreak of severe lung injury associated with e-cigarette use or “vaping.” This death was reported by Cone Health in Greensboro, N.C. on September 26, 2019. more>>


September 20, 2019

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory LIFTED for Lake Anna State Park – Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties; Advisory ISSUED for Pamunkey Branch Upper and Middle, North Anna Branch Upper to Lake Anna Main Branch from the “Splits” to Pigeon Run above Route 208
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake

(Richmond, Va.) – The swimming advisory for Lake Anna State Park Beach has been lifted, the prior two sample events on September 10 and 17 at the beach are below safe swimming levels for cyanobacteria and toxins. The Upper to Middle portion of Pamunkey Branch, the North Anna Branch as well as the Main Branch of Lake Anna from the “Splits” to the confluence of Pigeon Run above Route 208 in Orange, all remain under advisory. Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are experiencing a harmful algae bloom (HAB). more>>


September 20, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Recommendations Regarding E-Cigarettes and “Vaping”
Severe Lung Illness Associated with E-Cigarette Use

(Richmond, VA) – As of September 19, 2019, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has confirmed 16 cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette use or “vaping.” Currently, there are also seven probable cases in Virginia. Of these 23 cases, the patients have ranged in age from 18 to 38. Seventy-four percent of the patients have been male. The case number is expected to rise as investigations continue. Nationally, the CDC is reporting 530 confirmed or probable cases of lung illness from 38 states and 1 U.S. territory. While there have been none in Virginia, seven deaths have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon. more>>


September 17, 2019

UPDATE: VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH INVESTIGATING REPORTS OF SEVERE HYPOGLYCEMIA AMONG MEN WHO REPORT TAKING AN OVER-THE-COUNTER MALE ENHANCEMENT PILL

(RICHMOND) – In mid-August, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) received a report from the Virginia Poison Center of a cluster of patients in the Central Virginia area with severe hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar levels) requiring hospitalization, following use of an over-the-counter pill promoted for male sexual enhancement. The pills are commonly sold at convenience stores and/or gas stations in Virginia. Following the initial report, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) issued a press release advising consumers not to purchase or use a product sold under the name “V8”. more>>


August 30, 2019

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Issued for Pamunkey and North Anna Branches, Lake Anna State Park Beach, and Lake Anna Main Branch from the “Splits” to Pigeon Run above Route 208 – Lake Anna In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake 

(Richmond, Va.) – All portions of Pamunkey Branch, the North Anna Branch, the Lake Anna State Park Beach, as well as the Main Branch of Lake Anna from the “Splits” to the confluence of Pigeon Run above Route 208 in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are experiencing a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in these areas until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The areas to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at www.SwimHealthyVA.com. more>>


August 26, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Warns of New Danger of “Vaping”
Severe Lung Illness Associated with E-Cigarette Use

As students across the Commonwealth head back to school or college, the Virginia Department of Health reminds parents to talk to their sons and daughters about the dangers of e-cigarette use, or “vaping.” Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among US middle and high school students. In fact, between 2017 and 2018 alone, the number of youth who used e-cigarettes went up by 1.5 million nationwide. more>>


Aug. 22, 2019

Virginia Department of Health to host screening of film “Chocolate Milk”
Documentary examines breastfeeding disparities

(RICHMOND, Va.) – Breastfeeding is good for babies and moms – it is associated with reduced risk of asthma, obesity and ear infections in infants, and with lower risk of Type 2 diabetes and breast and ovarian cancers in moms. It also promotes mom-baby bonding. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will host a free screening of the film “Chocolate Milk: The Documentary” on August 28 in Richmond in recognition of August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month in the Commonwealth. The 90-minute film examines why black women breastfeed at lower rates than their peers. more>>


August 21, 2019

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Issued for Upper and Middle Pamunkey (including Terry’s Run) as well as Upper North Anna Branches – Lake Anna
In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake 

(Richmond, Va.) –The Upper and Middle Pamunkey Branches as well as the Upper North Anna Branch of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are experiencing a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in these areas until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The areas to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at www.SwimHealthyVA.com. more >>


August 7, 2019

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Issued for Upper and Middle Pamunkey
(including Terry’s Run) as well as Upper and Middle North Anna Branches – Lake Anna 
In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake

(Richmond, Va.) – The Upper and Middle Pamunkey Branches as well as the Upper and Middle North Anna Branches of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are experiencing a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in these areas until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The areas to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at www.SwimHealthyVA.com. more>>


July 31, 2019

It’s National Immunization Awareness Month! Is Your Family Up to Date on Vaccines?
Ensure Children have all Required Vaccines before School Starts

(RICHMOND, Va.) — Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month highlights the value of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. Immunizations play an important role in protecting our health, and the health of our families and communities. You have the power to protect yourself and your family with vaccines that prevent serious diseases like measles, the flu, whooping cough, pneumonia, and cancers caused by HPV. more>>


July 25, 2019

UPDATE: Virginia Department of Health is Investigating an Increase in Intestinal Illness Associated with Cyclospora

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is providing more information about the ongoing investigation of reports of intestinal illness associated with Cyclospora. The goal of public health investigations is to protect the public’s health. An increase in cases was first identified in Northern Virginia in mid-June 2019. Our investigation has found an additional outbreak in Central Virginia. A food or water source of these outbreaks has not yet been identified. more>>


July 19, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Warns Residents of Increase in Respiratory Illnesses
Anyone Experiencing Difficulty Breathing Should Seek Medical Care

(Richmond, Va.) – Since the end of flu season in May, the Virginia Department of Health has received increased reports of respiratory (breathing) illness across the Commonwealth greater than observed in previous summers. more>>


July 16, 2019

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Issued for Upper and Middle Pamunkey (including Terry’s Run) as well as Middle and Lower North Anna Branches – Lake Anna In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake

(Richmond, Va.) –The Upper and Middle Pamunkey Branches as well as the Middle and Lower North Anna Branches of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are experiencing a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in these areas until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The areas to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at www.SwimHealthyVA.com. more>>


May 20, 2019

EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WEEK IN VIRGINIA RECOGNIZES THE DEDICATION OF VIRGINIA’S EMS PROVIDERS AND FOCUSES ON FIRST RESPONDER WELLNESS
May 19 – 25 is National EMS Week

(RICHMOND, Va.) – Every day, someone suffers a medical emergency that requires help from Virginia’s EMS providers. There is comfort in knowing that the most qualified EMS providers will respond to that call for help and provide the best prehospital emergency care available. Last year, EMS providers responded to more than 1.56 million calls for help in Virginia, representing more than 4,200 incidents per day.

As proclaimed by Governor Ralph Northam, May 19 – 25, 2019, is EMS Week in Virginia. This special week honors EMS responders’ commitment to providing quality emergency medical care and services to the community while focusing on provider health and wellness. EMS for Children Day, May 22, emphasizes the pediatric patient and the specialized treatment required when providing care for them. more>>


May 9, 2019

Health Commissioner Announces 2019 Public Health Nurse of the Year
Annual award presented during Virginia Public Service Week and National Nurses Week 2019

(Suffolk, Va.)— State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver today presented the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) 2019 Public Health Nurse of the Year award to Yvonne Creech, who runs the nursing home screening program for the Suffolk Health Department in the Western Tidewater Health District. Creech’s love for public health, her dedication and her passion for improving her community’s health has led to her recognition as Virginia’s 2019 Public Health Nurse of the Year. more>>


April 25, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Warns Residents of Increase in Hepatitis A Cases
Prevention includes Vaccination and Hand Washing

Richmond, Va. – Multiple states across the country are experiencing hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreaks. Since these outbreaks were first identified in 2016, more than 15,000 cases and 8,500 hospitalizations (57% of cases) have been reported in the United States. Virginia has reported a 132% increase in cases of HAV between January 1, 2019 and April 19, 2019 compared to the same time period in 2018. There have been 45 cases reported in Virginia as of April 22, 2019. more>>


April 15, 2019

It’s Time to Speak for Action: Tell Us About Your Health

Richmond, Va. – Every five years, the Virginia Department of Health is tasked with assessing the health needs of the Commonwealth, specifically as it relates to women ages 15-44, men of any age, pregnant women, new mothers and parents. This summer, there will be six regional opportunities to volunteer to join a focus group or take part in a private, personal interview (by phone or in-person) to discuss health issues in your community. more>>


March 28, 2019

Creating the Healthiest State. For science. For action. For health.

VDH Celebrates National Public Health Week the First Week of April

During the first full week of April, the American Public Health Association brings together communities nationwide to observe National Public Health Week (www.NPHW.org). In Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health dedicates this week to recognizing the contributions of public health professionals and highlighting issues that are important to improving the health of our state and nation. more>>


March 26, 2019

State Health Officials Receive New Grant for Failing Onsite Sewage (Septic) Systems

Sponsored by the Virginia Environmental Endowment and Smithfield Foundation

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE) created a $15.595 million grant program in 2018 designed to improve water quality in the James River watershed. This new James River Water Quality Improvement Program is guided by a strategic investment plan developed with the advice of a 30-member, broad-based advisory team and by an innovative conservation mapping tool designed specifically for the James River watershed by the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Conservation Innovation Center. more>>


March 18, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Closes Portions of Monroe Bay and Mattox Creek to Shellfish Harvesting

(RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health announced today that portions of Monroe Bay and Mattox Creek in Westmoreland County are temporarily closed to shellfish harvesting due to a spill of raw sewage impacting water quality in the areas. Due to potential microbiological pollution hazards, shellfish taken from areas affected by the emergency closure are currently unacceptable for consumption. more>>


March 6, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Reopens a Portion of The James River to Shellfish Harvesting

(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health announced today that the portion of the James River closed to shellfish harvesting on February 26 due to flooding was reopened effective Wednesday March 6, 2019.  The VDH Division of Shellfish Safety has monitored water quality in the river since the flooding occurred, and sample results confirm that the area is now safe to reopen for harvesting. more>>


February 26, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Closes a Portion of the James River to Shellfish Harvesting

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health announced today that a portion of the James River is closed to shellfish harvesting due to significant river flooding.  Because floodwaters can be contaminated with pollutants such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses, shellfish taken from the area affected by the emergency closure are currently unacceptable for consumption.  The temporary emergency closure is set to be effective from 2:00 p.m. on February 26, 2019, through March 8, 2019. However, the Shellfish Safety Division will be conducting water quality monitoring and will reopen earlier if it is safe to do so.  more>>


January 4, 2019

Virginia Department of Health Reopens Portion of Back River to Shellfish Harvesting

(RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health announced today that the remaining portion of the Back River closed to shellfish harvesting on December 21 due to a sewage spill was reopened effective Friday January 4, 2019. The VDH Division of Shellfish Sanitation has monitored water and shellfish samples in the river since the spill occurred, and sample results confirm that the area is now safe to reopen for harvesting. more>>


2018 News Releases