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

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH COMMUNITY VACCINATION CENTERS TO REOPEN WEDNESDAY 

(RICHMOND, Va.) —  The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will reopen all of its Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. Individuals who cannot get to CVC sites early on Wednesday or who cannot keep appointments can reschedule by visiting vase.vdh.virginia.gov.

All CVCs, except the Fredericksburg site, will open with new regular hours as follows:

Fredericksburg: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Charlottesville: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Chesterfield: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Fairfax: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Newport News: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Norfolk: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Prince William: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Richmond: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Roanoke: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On Monday, VDH made the decision to close the CVCs, including the Military Circle Mall location in Norfolk, out of an abundance of caution for patients and staff. Inclement weather is in the forecast later in the week and VDH will continue to monitor the situation and alert the public about any changes made to the CVC schedules. Please continue to check VDH’s website and social media accounts for this information.

Individuals are advised to reschedule missed vaccine appointments as soon as possible. Second doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be safely extended up to 42 days after the first dose is given. Thus those who had scheduled a return date of 21 or 28 days after their first dose still have some time to receive a timely vaccine. Those who miss the opportunity to get a second dose within 42 days should still proceed with a second dose and will be considered fully vaccinated, though per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there is limited information on the effectiveness of receiving a second dose beyond 42 days.

Community Vaccination Centers offer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines along with booster doses. More than 250,000 vaccine doses have been administered at the CVCs since they opened in October 2021.

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 the CVCs, but appointments are strongly encouraged to avoid extended wait times.

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH COMMUNITY VACCINATION CENTERS TO BE CLOSED TUESDAY DUE TO SNOW AND EXPECTED FREEZING TEMPERATURES

(RICHMOND, Va.)—  The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will again close all of its Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, as some areas of the state deal with several inches of snow and expected freezing temperatures overnight.  Individuals with appointments will be notified of the cancellation and can visit vase.vdh.virginia.gov to reschedule.

On Monday, VDH made the decision to close all of the CVCs, including the Military Circle Mall location in Norfolk, out of an abundance of caution for patients and staff. VDH will decide Tuesday afternoon whether to open the CVC sites on Wednesday.  Please check VDH’s website and social media accounts for this information.

Individuals are advised to reschedule missed vaccine appointments as soon as possible. Second doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be safely extended up to 42 days after the first dose is given. Thus those who had scheduled a return date of 21 or 28 days after their first dose still have some time to receive a timely vaccine. Those who miss the opportunity to get a second dose within 42 days should still proceed with a second dose and will be considered fully vaccinated, though per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there is limited information on the effectiveness of receiving a second dose beyond 42 days.

Community Vaccination Centers offer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines along with booster doses. More than 250,000 vaccine doses have been administered at the CVCs since they opened in October 2021.

To find a vaccine or an appointment at a CVC or another location near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.govor 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 the CVCs, but appointments are strongly encouraged to avoid extended wait times.

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH COMMUNITY VACCINATION CENTERS TO BE CLOSED MONDAY DUE TO EXPECTED INCLEMENT WEATHER 

(RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is closing all of its  Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) on Monday, January 3, 2022, due to expected inclement weather with some areas of the state expected to see several inches of snow.  Individuals with appointments will be notified of the cancellation and can visit vase.vdh.virginia.gov to reschedule.

VDH made the decision to close the centers located in Charlottesville, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Newport News, Prince William, Richmond and Roanoke out of an abundance of caution for patients and staff.  While no vaccinations will be offered at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk, the site will remain open for COVID-19 testing from 2-6 p.m.

VDH will decide Monday afternoon whether to open the CVC sites on Tuesday.  Please check VDH’s website and social media accounts for this information.

Individuals are advised to reschedule missed vaccine appointments as soon as possible. Second doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be safely extended up to 42 days after the first dose is given. Thus those who had scheduled a return date of 21 or 28 days after their first dose still have some time to receive a timely vaccine. Those who miss the opportunity to get a second dose within 42 days should still proceed with a second dose and will be considered fully vaccinated, though per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there is limited information on the effectiveness of receiving a second dose beyond 42 days.

Community Vaccination Centers offer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines along with booster doses. More than 250,000 vaccine doses have been administered at the CVCs since they opened in October 2021.

The best time to prepare for severe winter weather is now, before temperatures drop significantly and staying safe and warm becomes a challenge. Visit the VDH website to learn more about winter safety.

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. At CVCs appointments are strongly encouraged to ensure you get the vaccine you want and to avoid extended wait times, but walk-ins are welcome.

Virginia Department of Health Urges Virginians to Get the Flu Vaccine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–  December 6, 2021
Media Contact: Brookie Crawford, brookie.crawford@vdh.virginia.gov

Virginia Department of Health Urges Virginians to Get the Flu Vaccine
State Sees First Influenza Cases of the Season

RICHMOND, Va. –With the 2021-22 flu season officially underway, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) encourages all people in Virginia six months and older to receive their annual influenza (flu) vaccine.

Although flu activity remains low nationally, Virginia has started to see sporadic reports of the influenza virus detected in recent weeks.

December is not too late to get your flu vaccine! While the flu season may vary from year to year, cases often peak in January or February and continue through May.

“I make it a priority to get a flu shot every year,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “If you’ve ever had the flu, you know it can make you sick with symptoms such as chills, cough, fatigue, sore throat and aches all over. Getting a flu shot is a simple and effective way to reduce your risk of getting sidelined by the flu.”

A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.

The 2020-21 flu season was unusually mild. “Public health recommendations such as social distancing, wearing a mask indoors, staying home when sick, avoiding crowds, and hand washing all likely contributed to the mild 2020-2021 season,” said Respiratory Disease Coordinator Lisa Sollot, MPH. “How well these recommendations are followed this season will likely have an impact on transmission of influenza.”

“Additionally, some experts have suggested that because there was little flu virus activity last year, natural immunity may be lower than in an average flu season,” Sollot said. “This development makes getting the influenza vaccine this season even more important.”

Visit www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines/ to find a location near you to get the flu vaccine. It is safe to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

To minimize your risk of contracting or transmitting the flu, follow these simple steps:

  • Get vaccinated;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds;
  • Cover your cough, either by using a disposable tissue or coughing into your sleeve, not your hand; and
  • Stay at home when you are sick.

If you feel sick, VDH urges you to stay home and to contact your healthcare provider for evaluation, treatment and possible testing. Not sure if it’s COVID-19 or the flu? This handy chart outlines the differences in the symptoms.

For more information on the flu, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/influenza-flu-in-virginia/.

# # #

First Death in Virginia from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Associated with COVID-19 Reported

(Richmond, Va.) —The Virginia Department of Health has confirmed a death from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. This is the first death from MIS-C reported in Virginia. The child was between 10 and 19 years old and resided in the Prince William Health District. To protect privacy, and out of respect for the family, no other patient information will be disclosed.

MIS-C, previously called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, is a health condition associated with COVID-19. The first reports of this syndrome came from the United Kingdom in late April 2020. U.S. cases were first reported in New York City in early May of 2020. Virginia has reported 111 cases to date.

“We are devastated by this sad news, and our hearts go out to the family and friends of this child,” said Virginia Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “COVID-19 continues to cause illness, hospitalizations and deaths across Virginia and the U.S.  As we enter a time of year when families are traveling and gathering for holidays, we urge all Virginians to take steps to protect themselves and their families. Please get vaccinated if you are eligible. Practice social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing face coverings, as appropriate. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and available to anyone age 5 and older at multiple locations across the Commonwealth.”

Dr. Oliver provided information and guidance on the syndrome to health care providers in Virginia in a May 15, 2020 Clinician Letter which urges all health care providers in Virginia to immediately report any patient who meets the MIS-C criteria to the local health department.

MIS-C may cause problems with a child’s heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs. Most children with MIS-C have ongoing fever, plus more than one of the following: stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, skin rash, bloodshot eyes, and dizziness or lightheadedness.

Parents should go to the nearest hospital/emergency room for medical care if a child is showing any severe MIS-C warning signs such as trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away; confusion or unusual behavior; severe abdominal pain; inability to wake or stay awake; or pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin tone.

The CDC issued a Health Advisory on May 14, 2020 about the syndrome. It is not currently known how common it may be for children to experience these symptoms. For more information on MIS-C visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/mis/.

VDH Awards $6M Grant to VCU Health System to Strengthen Infection Prevention and Control Capacity in Virginia

Media Contact:
Brookie Crawford, VDH,  brookie.crawford@vdh.virginia.gov
Laura Rossacher, VCU Health, (347) 835-7775, lrossacher@vcu.edu

 

VDH Awards $6M Grant to VCU Health System to Strengthen Infection Prevention and Control Capacity in Virginia

A new Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center will be established to build and strengthen the state’s infection prevention and control workforce and reduce infections in all types of healthcare settings.

(RICHMOND, Va.)  — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) awarded a $6 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health System to establish a statewide infection prevention training center. The new Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center, to be designed and implemented by VCU, will work in tandem with healthcare facilities and public health to strengthen infection prevention and control expertise and provide universal infection prevention and control training to frontline providers.

“VDH is excited to utilize COVID-19 federal funding to address a previously recognized need for comprehensive and sustainable infection prevention and control training in Virginia,” said Laurie Forlano, D.O., MPH, deputy director of the VDH’s Office of Epidemiology. “Partnership with VCU, a nationally recognized leader in infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship, will ensure the success and longevity of this initiative.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed major gaps in knowledge around infection prevention nationally, particularly in nursing homes and other long-term care settings,” said Michael Stevens, M.D., interim hospital epidemiologist at VCU Medical Center and co-principal investigator of the VDH grant. “Our goal is to give practitioners in Virginia the knowledge and skills to prevent as many infections as possible. This means better, safer care for patients throughout the Commonwealth.”

The Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center will provide in-person and interactive online training to thousands of healthcare providers and learners across Virginia.  The training courses will include evidence-based infection prevention and control practices that can be applied across the healthcare continuum.

“Everyone plays a role in infection prevention, especially with highly transmissible COVID-19 variants on the rise,” said Michelle Doll, M.D., associate hospital epidemiologist at VCU Medical Center and co-principal investigator of the VDH grant. “We will teach beginner-, intermediate- and advanced-level courses and the introductory classes will be open to anyone working in a healthcare setting interested in infection prevention.”

By establishing the Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center, VDH and VCU aim to create a sustainable resource for training and education for all frontline healthcare workers in the Commonwealth for years to come.

# # #

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls nearly 30,000 students in 238 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-three of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Tappahannock Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisories Remain in place for North Anna and Upper Pamunkey Branches of Lake Anna; In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties

Media Contact: Brookie Crawford, Brookie.Crawford@vdh.virginia.gov

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisories Remain in place for North Anna and Upper Pamunkey Branches of Lake Anna; In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within these Locations of the Lake

Richmond, Va. – The North Anna and Upper Pamunkey Branches, including Terry’s Run, of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are continuing to experience a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in this area. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The area to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at the Algal Bloom Surveillance Map. A status report containing the updated advisory areas may be viewed at Lake Anna Status Report 10.18.21.

Results of samples collected October 12 indicated that swimming advisories continue to be necessary due to unsafe levels of potential toxin producing cyanobacteria segments of the North Anna and Pamunkey Branches. People and pets are advised to avoid swimming, windsurfing and stand-up-paddle-boarding, as well as other activities that pose a risk of ingesting water.

The samples collected downstream at the confluence of the two branches, at the Lake Anna State Park beach, and at the 208 bridge indicated cyanobacteria densities were at acceptable levels and do not necessitate a swimming advisory.

The sections of the lake currently under advisory (no change in advisory extents compared to September):

Pamunkey Branch

  • From the upper inundated waters of the Pamunkey arm of the lake downstream to the 612 Bridge. Includes Terry’s Run.

North Anna Branch

  • From the upper inundated waters of the North Anna arm of the lake downstream to above the confluence with Pamunkey Branch above Goodwins Point. Does not include “the Splits.”

While overall cyanobacteria densities and detectable levels of cyanotoxins were lower, requirements to lift advisories within these areas of Lake Anna could not be met from the October 12 sample event. The HAB Task Force discontinues response sampling in October, when the recreational (swimming) season concludes as temperatures begin cooling in natural waters.

Algae blooms can occur when warm water and nutrients combine to make conditions favorable for algae growth. Most algae species are harmless, however, some species may produce irritating compounds or toxins. Avoid discolored water or scums that are green or bluish-green because they are more likely to contain toxins.

To prevent illness:

  • Avoid contact with any area of the lake where water is green or an advisory sign is posted,

WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT!

  • Not allow children or pets to drink from natural bodies of water.
  • Keep children and pets out of the areas experiencing a harmful algae bloom and quickly wash them off with plenty of fresh, clean water after coming into contact with algae scum or bloom water.
  • Seek medical/veterinarian care if you or your animals experience symptoms after swimming in or near an algal bloom.
  • Properly clean fish by removing skin and discarding all internal organs, and cooking fish to the proper temperature to ensure fish fillets are safe to eat.
  • Contact the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline at 1-888-238-6154 if you suspect you experienced health-related effects following exposure to a bloom.

The blooms which are present in the lake may persist into the fall and possibly winter months. While the current cyanobacteria bloom could reach safe levels at some point during the fall and winter months, resources are not available for the Task Force to continue the monitoring in off-season months in order to formally lift the advisories in the 2021 year. Activities where full body submersion is not likely to occur, such as fishing, boating, flat-water kayaking, can continue with appropriate caution.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force, which includes the VDH, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Old Dominion University Phytoplankton Laboratory, will resume response monitoring efforts in May 2022, weather permitting.

For more information visit www.SwimHealthyVA.com.

Statement from Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula on CDC Recommendation of Pfizer-BioNTech Booster Doses

(Richmond, Va.) – The following statement is from Virginia’s state vaccination coordinator Dr. Danny Avula, MD, MPH.

“Virginia welcomes the decision from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support booster shots for certain people who previously received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has been working with its vaccination partners — pharmacies, healthcare providers, hospitals and other institutions — to prepare for this rollout. We are confident that we will have enough supply, and that access will be widely available.

“VDH is also establishing other vaccination sites to ensure eligible Virginians will be able to access a booster dose when it’s recommended. There is no need to rush to get your booster at six months and one day. VDH will provide information about accessing a booster dose on vaccinate.virginia.gov where you can search for and schedule a booster vaccination appointment.”

VDH’s top priority remains increasing vaccination rates in Virginia because those who are unvaccinated remain at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. Everyone 12 or older is eligible to be vaccinated. To find free vaccines nearby, 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.