EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WEEK RECOGNIZES VIRGINIA’S EMS PROVIDERS COMMITMENT TO PROTECTING THE HEALTH OF ALL PEOPLE IN VIRGINIA – May 15–21 is National EMS Week; May 18 is EMS for Children Day

(RICHMOND, Va.) – During the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers have been challenged beyond measure and continue to provide emergency care with the utmost expertise and professionalism. Last year, EMS providers responded to more than 1.59 million calls for help in Virginia, which represents approximately 4,360 incidents per day.

As proclaimed by Governor Glenn Youngkin, May 15-21 is EMS Week in Virginia. This special week honors EMS responders’ commitment to administering the best prehospital emergency medical care to all people in Virginia. EMS for Children Day, May 18, emphasizes the pediatric patient and their required specialized treatment. This year’s EMS Week theme is “Rising to the Challenge,” and Virginia’s first responders have proven time and again their ability to deliver quality lifesaving emergency care to people in need of help.

“The finest hospital facilities in the world don’t help if you can’t get to them,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “Emergency Medical Service providers bring that access to all, through their dedication, courage and selfless service to their communities. We owe them recognition not just this week, but every week.”

“These past few years have demonstrated Virginia’s EMS providers determination and ability to adapt and respond to various emergency situations presented by the ongoing pandemic,” said Gary Brown, director of the Virginia Department of Health Office of EMS. “I am always so impressed and proud of our well-trained and educated EMS providers, and commend their perseverance and commitment to saving lives during these challenging times.”

During EMS Week, Virginia EMS agencies may host community activities, including first aid classes, health and safety fairs, open houses and more. These family-friendly events encourage citizens to meet and greet the first responders in their neighborhoods. Due to the pandemic, EMS Week community activities may be limited. Please check their websites or social media pages for additional information.

In recognition of Virginia’s fallen fire and EMS personnel, the Virginia Fallen Firefighters and EMS Memorial Service honors fire and EMS responders who died in the line of duty and those who risk their lives daily to serve and protect Virginians. The Annual Fallen Firefighters and EMS Memorial Service will be held June 4 at noon at the Richmond International Raceway.

To learn more about the Virginia Department of Health Office of EMS, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/emergency-medical-services/.

Virginia Department of Health To Retire Several COVID-19 Dashboards – Goal is to Streamline Data Presentation, Conform to CDC Data Reporting

(RICHMOND, VA) — On Thursday, May 19, four Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 dashboards will be retired from public view, along with two data landing pages.

These retirements will streamline the dashboards available, align better with the data presentation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and allow focus on actionable data. The dashboards and landing pages that will be retired include the following:

The CDC dashboard is considered the standard when it comes to cases by vaccination status, as the definition of vaccination status is rapidly changing nationwide. To stay in alignment with CDC data and keeping in sync with what other states have done, VDH will link to the CDC dashboard when the Cases by Vaccination Status dashboard is retired. Virginia’s vaccination data is expected to be included in the CDC dashboard this summer, and the dataset also will be archived on the Virginia Open Data Portal,

Reasons for the retirement for the Federal Vaccine Doses and Vaccines Received dashboards include the following: vaccines now are widely available; there is reduced interest in these data; and the rate of change is small. The Vaccines Received accompanying dataset will be archived on the Virginia Open Data Portal. There is no accompanying dataset on the Data Portal for the Federal Vaccine Doses dashboard.

The Cases and Deaths by Date Reported dashboard is redundant with the Cases Dashboard and of less interest as date of illness onset and death date are the focus at this time. These changes are in alignment with the changes made in March 2022. There is no accompanying dataset specific to this dashboard on the Virginia Open Data Portal.

VDH also plans to entirely retire the dashboard landing pages for the Level of Community Transmission and Locality dashboards since these were retired in early March 2022. The pages already point to the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels and the VDH Cases dashboards.

2022 County Health Rankings Show How Virginia Continues to Improve – Report ranks localities in Virginia by health outcomes and health factors

(Richmond, Va.) — Falls Church city ranks as the healthiest locality in Virginia and Petersburg city ranks as the least, according to new County Health Rankings data published today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The report ranks localities in Virginia by health outcomes and the underlying factors that influence health. The health rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

This year’s report focuses on the importance of economic security for all communities, especially as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a result, six new measures were introduced. One is childcare cost burden, which can pose a threat to economic security for families.  In Virginia’s counties, it ranges from 14 to 36 percent. According to the report, the typical cost burden of childcare among U.S. counties is about 25 percent of household income, higher than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ benchmark of seven percent.

Another new health measure included in the report is COVID-19 deaths in 2020.  Virginia’s rate, 56 deaths per 100,000 people, is lower than the national rate of 85 per 100,000. Only 79 percent (103) of Virginia’s localities were included in this measure; 26 percent of them exceeded the national average.

An additional measure that is important as Virginia recovers from the pandemic is the average number of “mentally unhealthy days” people reported in the past 30 days. At 4.2 days, Virginia is slightly better than the national average of 4.5 days. Virginia’s counties ranged from 3.3 to 5.8 days. Mental health outcomes are an important measure because untreated mental health disorders have a serious impact on physical health and are associated with the prevalence, progression, and outcome of some of today’s most pressing chronic diseases.

“The results of the study make it clear that health disparities and inequities occur, not only between regions of the Commonwealth, but also within localities, even the wealthy ones,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “While change in health-influencing factors takes time, the Virginia Department of Health is committed to supporting its local health departments and focusing on improving the health and well-being of all people in Virginia. We will be taking an analytical, evidence-based look at all of these factors, and incorporating them into the next state health improvement plan, Virginia’s Plan for Well-Being, with the intent of improving measurable health outcomes that truly matter to Virginians.”

For more information on the 2022 County Health Rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org. For more information on public health resources throughout Virginia, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/local-health-districts.

Governor Youngkin and the Virginia Department of Health Recognize April 4-10 as National Public Health Week

Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin has released a proclamation recognizing April 4-10, 2022 as National Public Health Week. This week allows us time to formally recognize the amazing efforts that the staff of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the citizens of Virginia perform to keep themselves and others safe and healthy.

The American Public Health Association’s national theme, “Public Health is Where You Are”, focuses on how our interactions as a community are the foundation for building a healthy population. The VDH regularly collaborates with both public and private sector partners to build strong healthy communities in Virginia.

During this week the VDH has launched its “I Am Public Health Campaign” which showcases how each person is instrumental in creating and maintaining a healthy population. The campaign seeks to inform the general public that VDH performs a wide array of functions including and beyond COVID prevention, while celebrating the role of the public health worker.

 

Virginia Earns National Recognition as One of the States Best Prepared for Public Health Emergencies

Two Years into the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Commonwealth is Again Ranked in the Top Tier of States in Trust for America’s Health – Ready or Not 2022 Annual Report on Public Health Emergency Preparedness

RICHMOND, VA – For several years running, Virginia has been recognized among the states best prepared to respond to public health emergencies. That trend continues in the latest report by Trust for America’s Health, Ready or Not 2022: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism, which again places Virginia in the top tier of states. The report measures state levels of preparedness to respond to a wide range of health emergencies including infectious outbreaks, natural disasters, and manmade events.

Several recent Trust for America’s Health reports – which also ranked Virginia in the top tier of states in 2021 and 2020 – have been compiled during the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent years, the Commonwealth has also been ranked among the top states in the National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHPSI) report that evaluates state readiness to respond to public health emergencies.

“This ongoing and repeated validation of Virginia’s public health emergency preparedness is a testament to the hard work of the thousands of employees of the Virginia Department of Health who day in and day out are focused on protecting the health and promoting the well-being of Virginians,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “Our ongoing attention to preparedness means that when we are faced with situations such as this pandemic or severe weather events or calculated attacks, we have systems, guidance, relationships and community partnerships in place to launch a comprehensive response.”

“Virginia’s hospitals are critical partners in the Commonwealth’s emergency preparedness infrastructure and essential providers of life-saving care to patients, including those whose well-being is compromised by public health emergencies,” said Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “The pandemic has been a real-world stress test of our health care delivery system and its level of emergency readiness. While there are always opportunities to improve, it is gratifying to see that Virginia’s commitment to preparedness continues to place us among the top states in the nation.”

Earlier this month, Virginia marked the two-year anniversary (March 7, 2020) of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the Commonwealth. Since then, Virginia’s public health agencies, private health care providers such as hospitals and health systems, and many other stakeholders have risen to meet the challenge of a global pandemic. Virginia has recorded more than 1.65 million COVID-19 cases, resulting in more than 105,600 hospitalizations.

When vaccine doses became available, the Commonwealth mobilized public and private sector resources to rapidly get shots in arms – nearly 7 million Virginians have received at least one vaccine dose (hospitals have administered more than 2 million doses) and more than 72 percent of the eligible Virginia population is fully vaccinated. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH), local health districts, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, and other partners have also supported efforts to respond to pandemic surges, outbreaks, and other evolving circumstances through testing, treatment, vaccination, telehealth consultations, and other strategic approaches.

The Ready or Not 2022: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report examines a variety of factors to determine ratings including the level of preparedness to respond to wide-ranging health emergencies and provide public health services such as disease surveillance, seasonal flu vaccination, safe water, and expanded health care services in those situations. The report is also intended to serve as a tool to provide policymakers with data that can be used to support improvements and investments in state emergency readiness.

Unvaccinated individuals remain at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. This population remains VDH’s top priority. Everyone 5 years or older is eligible to be vaccinated. To find free vaccines near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.

About VDH: The mission of the Virginia Department of Health is to protect the health and promote the well-being of all people in Virginia. VDH Central Offices and a network of 35 Local Health Districts serve Virginia communities. Learn more at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/.  Connect with VDH through FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedIn, and Instagram.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 25 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its mission is to achieve excellence in both health care and health to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Its vision is through collaboration with members and stakeholders, to ensure the sustainability of Virginia health care system, transform the delivery of care to promote lower costs and high value across the continuum of care, and to improve health for all Virginians. Connect with VHHA through FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Reflecting on two years of the COVID-19 pandemic

Read this article from Acting State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH, reflecting on two years of the COVID-19 pandemic: https://roanoke.com/opinion/columnists/greene-reflecting-on-two-years-of-the-covid-19-pandemic/article_f4c054aa-9fdb-11ec-b180-67fdd9427c4c.html.

​To find a free vaccination opportunity near you, visit the Vaccinate Virginia website at Vaccinate.Virginia.gov or call the Vaccinate Virginia call center at (877) VAX-IN-VA or (877) 829-4682, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. T-T-Y users may call 7-1-1.

Abbott Voluntarily Recalls Three Brands of Powdered Infant Formula Due to Possible Cronobacter Contamination – Similac, Alimentum and EleCare Infant Formulas Part of Recall

(RICHMOND, VA.) – Abbott, the infant formula manufacturer that is provided through Virginia Women, Infants and Children (WIC), announced a proactive, voluntary recall of some powdered Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare infant formulas manufactured in Sturgis, Michigan. Virginia WIC is working to make all participating families aware of the disruption.

The powdered formula products included in this recall have the expiration date of April 1, 2022 or later and are: 12.6 oz Similac Total Comfort, 12.5 oz Similac for Spit Up, all EleCare Infant and Junior, and all Similac Alimentum. The powdered formula products that might be included in this recall are: 12.5 oz Similac Sensitive and 12.4 oz Similac Advance.

This recall does NOT include Similac Isomil, Similac Neosure, and all concentrate or ready-to-feed formulas.

Do not use Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formulas if they meet all three of these conditions:

  1. Check the lot number and expiration date on the bottom of the can to determine if the 12.5 oz Similac Sensitive or 12.4 oz Similac Advance cans are included in this recall/. The first two digits of the included lot numbers are 22 through 37.
  2. The code on the container will contain K8, SH, or Z2.
  3. The expiration or use-by date will be April 1, 2022 or later.

If the formula container does not include all three of these conditions, then it is not affected by the recall and is safe to continue using. To check if the lot number is included in the recall, go to www.similacrecall.com/us/en/product-lookup.html.

If a WIC participant’s product is affected by the recall, it should not be used. Participants should return the product to their local grocery store. If they are unable, then they should call their WIC local agency for assistance.

More information about the recall can be found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website.

Virginia WIC reminds parents and caregivers that infant formula should never be diluted. Never give homemade formula to infants.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Nondiscrimination and complaint information can be found on our website at virginiawic.com.

WIC is funded by the USDA and is administered by the Virginia Department of Health. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Omicron Surge in Cases Leads to Increase in COVID-19-Associated Deaths Being Added to the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboards

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The recent surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant resulted in an increase in COVID-19-associated deaths, and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is beginning to observe these expected increases in death certificates received.

Beginning Feb. 2, VDH’s Cases dashboard began to reflect these deaths. The majority of the COVID-19-associated deaths (92%) that will be added occurred in January 2022. Certified death certificates continue to be reported, so VDH will continue to receive new death certificates for the deaths that occurred in January 2022 and those that will occur subsequently over the next few weeks and months ahead until the Omicron surge dissipates.

“Those deaths will also appear on the VDH Localities dashboard, but since Localities shows deaths by date of report, rather than by date of death, that dashboard should not be used to evaluate any trend in the pattern of deaths over time,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene. “As noted above, most of the deaths that appear on the Localities dashboard this week actually occurred in January and earlier, so please use the Cases dashboard for looking at patterns and trends.”

The best defense against COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death remains vaccination and, once fully vaccinated, staying up-to-date on your vaccine. To see the impact vaccination has on infection, hospitalization and death, view the VDH Case Rates by Vaccination Status dashboard.

COVID-19 death trends should only be evaluated when viewing the data on the Cases dashboard by “date of death” and not by “date of report.”

VDH receives certified death certificates weekly and compares them to COVID-19-associated deaths already reported in the surveillance system. Those that have not been reported through normal reporting channels are then added.

The increase in deaths reported now is due to:

  • The surge in cases being reported due to the Omicron variant.
  • The natural delay between onset of illness to death. (e.g. someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 January 1 and does not die until January 30).
  • The time it takes for the National Center of Health Statistics to review and assign appropriate codes to Virginia death certificates before they are sent back to VDH for inclusion in the Supplemental COVID-19 Death Certificate Surveillance initiative.

For more information on how VDH counts COVID-19-Associated Deaths, read this VDH coronavirus blog posthttps://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/2022/01/03/how-does-vdh-count-covid-19-associated-deaths/.

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The best defense against COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death remains vaccination and, once fully vaccinated, staying up-to-date on your vaccine. To find a vaccine appointment at a Community Vaccination Center (CVC) or another location near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages. Walk-ins are welcome at CVCs, but appointments are strongly encouraged to avoid extended wait times.

Virginia Department of Health To Close Some Vaccination and Testing Centers Monday, Others To Delay Opening Due to Weather

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is closing some vaccination and testing centers and will delay the opening of others on Monday, January 17, 2022 due to inclement weather. Centers in two cities will remain open.

The Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) in Charlottesville and Roanoke will be closed Monday, January 17 along with the Community Testing Center (CTC) in Charlottesville.

The centers in Chesterfield, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Henrico (Richmond) and Prince William will open at noon on Monday and close at the usual time. Chesterfield, Fredericksburg and Roanoke do not yet have testing centers.

The CVCs and CTCs in Norfolk and Newport News will be open Monday with regular hours.

VDH closed its Community Testing Centers (CTCs) on Sunday, January 16, with the safety of the public and staff in mind.

All vaccination and testing centers are expected to be open on Tuesday.

Individuals who need to reschedule a testing appointment can do so at vase.vdh.virginia.gov/testingappointments.

To find a vaccine or an appointment at a CVC or another location near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages. Walk-ins are welcome at CVCs, but appointments are encouraged to avoid extended wait times.

Virginia to Outfit all EMS Agencies in the Commonwealth with Nationally Renowned Handtevy System

(Richmond, Va.) –  After an extensive evaluation process, the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has chosen to offer the Handtevy suite of lifesaving tools to EMS agencies in the state. Handtevy is a national leader in pediatric emergency technology, and their partnership with the Virginia Office of EMS will provide the groundbreaking Handtevy resuscitation system to all EMS agencies in the Commonwealth.

“The Virginia Office of EMS is very excited to enter into this collaboration with Virginia’s Regional EMS Councils and Handtevy to bring this technology to the EMS system,” said Gary Brown, director, Virginia Office of EMS. “Giving pediatric patients the highest level of treatment and transport has always been a priority for our office, and this collaboration will serve to enhance that level of treatment now, and in the future.”

The Handtevy resuscitation system will empower Virginia EMS agencies to consistently deliver the highest quality emergency care to approximately 8.6 million residents. In order to get the most out of the system and the latest in lifesaving techniques, the rollout will be paired with Handtevy’s signature educational offerings, which include the highly acclaimed nationally accredited Handtevy Course that has received great feedback from municipal agencies that have already launched the system with positive results.

The company’s core technology solution, known as Handtevy Mobile, will also be deployed on cellular devices, including tablets and cellphones, putting crucial, lifesaving technology at the EMS team’s fingertips.

The combination of high impact education with an application that can be used in real-time and that integrates with the prehospital medical record is the breakthrough pioneered by the Handtevy team. EMS personnel and other frontline healthcare professionals in all 50 States use Handtevy Mobile to obtain accurate medication dosing for pediatric emergencies in seconds. These doses are customized around each department’s unique formulary and seamlessly crossover to the electronic health record to ensure timely and precise documentation.

Included with Handtevy Mobile is “CPR Assist,” an app feature that leads high-performance EMS teams through the highly regimented Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) bundle. By using the auditory and visual cues provided by the app, clinicians accurately maintain compression and ventilation rates, defibrillate as needed, and administer accurate medications and equipment, all while documenting the event in real time. It’s a unique feature that brings calm to the chaos of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest for both children and adults.

In pediatric emergency situations, seconds count and leading EMS departments count on Handtevy to help them save lives. Virginia’s decision to utilize Handtevy across the Commonwealth as their go-to, frontline, lifesaving tool will undoubtedly lead to many additional lives saved each year.

Handtevy was founded by Dr. Peter Antevy, a nationally recognized expert in the field of pre-hospital pediatrics. His passion for solving this complex issue stemmed from a medication error he made early in his career that led him to drastically impact currently accepted practice. He is a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and also serves as the EMS Medical Director for Davie Fire-Rescue, Coral Springs Fire Department, Southwest Ranches Fire Rescue and American Ambulance. Dr. Antevy is also the Associate Medical Director for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and serves as the President of the Greater Broward EMS Medical Directors’ Association, an organization whose providers serve the 1.5 million residents of Broward County, Florida. For his efforts, Dr. Antevy was awarded the prestigious Raymond H. Alexander EMS Medical Director of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2018 he was named the National EMS Medical Director of the Year by the NAEMT. He also was honored as one of the 2015 Top Ten Innovators in EMS by JEMS. For more information on the Handtevy System visit www.handtevy.com