FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — January 7, 2022
Media Contact: Logan Anderson, VDH PIO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Department of Health Temporarily Scales Back Call Center Operations in Office of Vital Records as Pandemic Causes Staffing Shortages
(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that the Office of Vital Records (OVR) will be temporarily scaling back operations of its Call Center (804-662-6200) public call-in line, due to staffing shortages and COVID-19 infections affecting its employees.
The Office provides vital event certificates to families who have had a vital event in Virginia, such as birth, death, marriage or divorce. It serves the entire state and has customers across the world. The office partners with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices and local health districts to provide access to certified records at those locations.
Due to staffing shortages and COVID-19 infections among OVR staff members, some operations will be temporarily suspended so that the office can continue to provide essential services to the general public. The first step in this process is to take live operators off the Call Center public call-in line from January 7 through January 14. During this time, when residents call this line, they will be given information about accessing services through the OVR website and information about current processing times for certified vital records requests mailed to the office.
There are multiple service options available to fulfill customer requests. Customers can receive in-person service at DMV offices, local health districts or the Vital Records central office in Henrico County. To find the nearest location, please use this tool here. Check with the specific location nearest you, since hours of operation may be limited at some locations. Vital Records central office, located at 2001 Maywill St., Suite 101 in Henrico, operates Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“We recognize this change will inconvenience our customers and wish it could be avoided. We hope this change will limit the impact on customers by focusing on our ability to continue processing customer requests, which we are receiving at consistently high rates. The Office of Vital Records will restore full functionality as quickly as possible,” said Seth Austin, director of the Office of Vital Records. “We have experienced absentee rates of between 20 percent and 30 percent for the past two weeks resulting from multiple COVID-19 cases that are causing people to miss work due to illness, exposure isolation or the need to seek testing.”
During this time, the Office will be redirecting available staff to the continuation of certifying vital events and processing applications for vital records. Customers are encouraged to use the Contact Us page on the website to communicate with the office. Customers can check the status of existing records requests if they already have an Application Tracking ID here. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found here.
Those who are unvaccinated 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 at a Community Vaccination Center 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 Community Vaccination Centers, appointments are strongly encouraged to ensure you get the vaccine you want and to avoid extended wait times, but walk-ins are welcome.