From the Director: A transitional anniversary

Four years ago this week, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and we entered the first of many emergency declarations at the national, state, and local levels. The pandemic has had an overwhelming impact on all of our lives—it shaped our experiences at home, in the workplace, and at school. We lost beloved family members and friends.

For me, this anniversary is a time to recognize the magnitude of the last four years, to share in our community’s grief, and to express an immense gratitude to our community and especially the staff at RHHD. Whether you were working at a health department, hospital, grocery store, or post office during the early days of this pandemic; protecting loved ones and strangers by following public health measures; or learning how to communicate new health information to young children, each of us contributed something essential.

We know that COVID-19 is still with us, even as this is the first anniversary since the lifting of the national public health emergency. CDC’s updated respiratory virus guidance reminds us that simple public health principles continue to be the most effective ways for keeping ourselves safe from serious illness: we can make sure we’re up-to-date on recommended vaccines, stay home and away from others when we’re sick, and practice good hygiene.

RHHD staff has risen to the challenge time and again in the last four years, taking on needed services like contact tracing and vaccination. We look forward to continuing to support our neighbors, friends, and community members even as the nature of those services shifts.

And if you still need a 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine—or if you are over 65 and newly eligible for a second dose—please reach out! Schedule your vaccine appointment with RHHD by calling 804-205-3501 or visit for more information.

With gratitude,

Dr. Elaine Perry, Director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts