2023 News Releases

November 28, 2023

Virginia Department of Health Announces New Syphilis Webpage

RICHMOND, Va. – Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announces the unveiling of a new syphilis webpage, including a data dashboard tracking the number of reported syphilis cases, to help bring attention to the rising number of cases in Virginia. more>>

October 10, 2023

State Health Commissioner Dr. Karen Shelton, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney Join with Health Care Leaders to Encourage Public to Get Flu Shots

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Karen Shelton, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, and other leaders gathered today at the Bon Secours Sarah Jones Garland Center for Healthy Living to encourage Virginians young and old to receive a seasonal flu shot if they have not already done so to protect themselves and others from illness. more>>

September 15, 2023

Virginia Department of Health Announces Availability of New 2023–2024 COVID-19 Vaccine

RICHMOND, Va. — On September 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the vaccine recommendations of its independent panel of advisors, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Everyone aged 6 months and older is eligible to receive a 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine, made by Pfizer and Moderna. In the coming days, the vaccine will start to be available at pharmacies and physicians’ offices in addition to federally qualified health centers, free clinics, and local health department offices. Virginians should speak with their healthcare providers about receiving the vaccine. more>>

September 5, 2023

Health Care Organizations Encourage the Public to Get Informed, Make an Emergency Plan During National Preparedness Month

RICHMOND, Va. – September is National Preparedness Month, an annual observance that serves as a reminder of the importance for families and organizations to develop response plans to prepare for unexpected emergencies or disaster situations. more>>

August 30, 2023

Virginia Department of Health Announces Statewide Outbreak of Meningococcal Disease

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is announcing a statewide outbreak of meningococcal disease. Twenty-seven cases of meningococcal disease, caused by the bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis type Y, have been reported in eastern, central, and southwest Virginia since June 2022. This development is three times the expected number of cases during this time period. Most cases are residents of eastern Virginia, where a regional outbreak was first announced in September 2022. The most recent notice to the public was shared in March 2023. Five patients have died from complications associated with this disease. The strain associated with this outbreak is known to be circulating more widely in the United States. Risk to Virginia’s population is low. more>>

August 1, 2023

Virginia Department of Health Updating COVID-19 Dashboards to Streamline Data Presentation, Conform to CDC Reporting Standards

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) continues to streamline information on its COVID-19 data dashboards to better reflect current COVID-19 trends in the Commonwealth and to align with updated reporting standards of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These changes will take place Tuesday, August 1, 2023; the dashboards will continue to update weekly on Tuesdays. Access to currently available data will be maintained in the Virginia Open Data Portal. more>>

May 23, 2023

Emergency Medical Services Week Recognizes the Determination and Commitment of Virginia’s EMS Providers to Deliver Quality Prehospital Care and Save Lives
May 21–27 is National EMS Week; May 24 is EMS for Children Day

(RICHMOND, Va.) – Virginia’s EMS providers respond to emergencies during our citizens greatest hour of need. The critical moments from the time a 911 call is received to the arrival at the hospital is where emergency care begins. Last year, EMS providers responded to more than 1.65 million calls for help in Virginia, which represents approximately 4,520 incidents per day. more>>

May 18, 2023

Virginia Department of Health adds COVID-19 Wastewater Dashboard  

(RICHMOND, Va.) — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) added a wastewater surveillance dashboard to the COVID-19 dashboards. The dashboard shows how much SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is in wastewater sewage in participating communities across the state. The amount of virus present is called the viral load. The dashboard provides information about viral trends and a comparison of wastewater surveillance trends with reported patient case counts. The dashboard will be updated weekly, generally on Tuesday.  more>> 

May 8, 2023

COVIDWISE Exposure Notifications App to be Retired When the National Public Health Emergency Comes to an End

(RICHMOND, Va.)   The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that the COVIDWISE Exposure Notifications App will be retired when the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) disables the National Key Server as the National Public Health Emergency comes to a close on May 11. more>>

April 25, 2023

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Seeks Public Help to Identify Skeletal Remains

RICHMOND, Va. – Today, Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) released facial approximations of eight skeletal remains found in the Central Virginia region.  The facial images represent the eight men whose remains were found in separate locations between 1988 and 2020. more>>

April 21, 2023

Virginia Department of Health Implements New Guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on COVID-19 Vaccines

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Health Department (VDH) is immediately implementing new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding vaccination for COVID-19. On April 19, the CDC announced its simplified COVID-19 vaccine guidance that now allows individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness to receive an optional additional dose of the bivalent mRNA vaccine. more>>

April 19, 2023

Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces a Commonwealth Milestone:  Over 100 Doulas Certified a Year After the Establishment of the Commonwealth’s Certification Program    

(RICHMOND, Va.)— Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today that 107 individuals have become state-certified community doulas in the Commonwealth and are now providing services to Virginia’s women and their families. The achievement of this important milestone highlights the successful collaboration between the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) and comes just one year after VDH established the requirements for doula state certification on January 6, 2022, and the launch of the Virginia Medicaid Community Doula benefit. more>>

March 8, 2023

Virginia Department of Health Monitoring Community Outbreak of Meningococcal Disease in Eastern Virginia

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is providing an update for public awareness about the community outbreak of meningococcal disease that continues to spread in eastern Virginia. Twelve cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) type Y have been reported since June 2022; the outbreak was declared in September 2022. Sadly, three patients have died from complications associated with the disease, indicating this outbreak strain might cause more severe illness than is usually seen in type Y cases. The deaths occurred between one to six days after symptoms began for the three fatal cases. This strain is also believed to be circulating more widely, both in Virginia and other states.  more>>

February 1, 2023

Virginia Department of Health Kicks Off American Heart Month with Activities to Promote Heart Health

(Richmond, Va.) — February is American Heart Month, and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will kick off the observance with free, easily accessible activities for all Virginians interested in beginning the process of improving their overall health. VDH has partnered with The Arthritis Foundation to offer Walk with Ease (WWE), a six-week program that provides guided activities and resources via the VDH Walk With Ease for Heart Health registration and resources online portal.   more>>

January 31, 2023

State Registrar Retires After Nearly a Half Century of Service to the Commonwealth

(RICHMOND, VA) — During her nearly half century working for Virginia’s Vital Records unit, State Registrar Janet M. Rainey has had a front row seat to historical, cultural, societal and technological change impacting the state’s collection and dissemination of information about births, deaths, marriages and divorces. more>>

January 23, 2023

Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records Announces Top Fifteen Baby Names of 2022, Other Interesting Virginia Birth Data 

(RICHMOND, Va.) — Whether inspired by scripture, royalty, a favorite singer, Disney character, or family heritage, parents are choosing diverse names for their newborns. Today, the Office of Vital Records in the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) unveils its lists of Top 15 baby names for children born in the commonwealth in 2022, perhaps providing some inspiration for stressed-out parents-to-be. more>>

January 13, 2023


(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health announced today that a portion of the Lynnhaven River is closed to shellfish harvesting due to a sewage release.  Because these waters 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. more>>