COVID-19 ~ Resources and Updates

LATEST NEWS

  • Virginia Governor Ralph Northam this week announced plans to ease some of the COVID-19 restrictions on social gathering as of April 1. During a news conference, the Governor indicated the new rules will raise the current limits on indoor gatherings of people (from 10 to 50) and outdoor gatherings (from 50 to 100). Also announced was an increase in the state supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, which are expected to total 48,000 doses next week, an increase of 9,000 from a previous allocation. Other revised standards apply to allowable capacity at certain indoor and outdoor entertainment venues. Existing guidance and limits, including the mask mandate, remain in place.
  • The VHHA COVID-19 Hospital Data Dashboard – a daily updated, online interactive tool developed by VHHA’s Data Analytics Team, this week surpassed 5 million total views since its launch in April 2020. The dashboard provides information about patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Virginia, ICU occupancy and capacity, ventilator usage, hospital bed availability, supply shortages, vaccine doses administered by hospitals, and more. In addition to daily figures, the dashboard also provides COVID-19 hospital trend data back to last year. View the dashboard here.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Assistance Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) notes the availability of several upcoming virtual learning sessions including three sessions today (Wednesday, March 24). They are a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) virtual townhall at 12:15 p.m. on “COVID-19 Test Development and Validation” (click here to register); a National Emerging Special Pathogen Training and Education Center (NETEC) webinar at 1 p.m. on “Ebola in the Age of COVID” (click here to register); and a National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) webinar at 2 p.m. on “Collaboration during COVID-19: Healthcare Coalitions and Regional Assistance Committees” (click here to register).
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced $10 billion in funding to support COVID-19 testing, advance health equity. The funding for states and territories is available from the recently approved American Rescue Plan Act and it is intended to support testing to screen teachers, staff, and students for COVID-19 to help reopen schools. CDC expects to make final awards to support the screening testing to health departments in early April.
  • The FDA recently launched a dashboard that will provide weekly updates on adverse events submitted to its adverse event reporting system for COVID-19 drugs and biological products authorized for emergency use. 
  • The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has announced the start of the transition to phase 1c of vaccinations at some local health districts, with plans for all communities across Virginia to be able to open to this group of essential workers within weeks. The decision to move from one phase to the next is made in coordination with local and state health officials and is dependent upon a variety of factors. Before moving to 1c, local health departments must have made strong efforts to reach all those eligible in 1a and 1b populations, particularly communities that have been disproportionately impacted, such as communities of color. Local health departments also must consider whether demand for vaccine has decreased among 1a and 1b populations. Virginia began vaccinating health care personnel and people living in long-term care facilities in December, before moving to Phase 1b in January. Phase 1b includes people 65 and older, those ages 16-64 with underlying medical conditions, and some frontline essential workers. Phase 1c includes additional essential workers, such as those in the energy, construction, food services sectors, as well as other fields. Overlap of vaccination of groups may occur to ensure people in each phase are vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible. All communities are expected to move into Phase 1c by mid-April. Anyone over age 16 who lives or works in Virginia will be eligible for a vaccine in Phase 2, which is expected to begin by May 1. Anyone who wants a vaccine should pre-register for an appointment or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., seven days a week. Representatives are available in English and Spanish, and translation is available in any of more than 100 languages. TTY dial 7-1-1. Those who have pre-registered should check the list at  vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling the call center to ensure their information is accurate. Incomplete or inaccurate information could result in you not being contacted for an appointment. If you are pre-registered, make sure you are checking your email and answering your phone because it could be an invitation to schedule your appointment. For more information about Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, click here.
  • Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association is partnering with VDH to host biweekly webinars for hospitals regarding COVID-19 vaccination efforts and updates. Each webinar will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday mornings. Register for the webinars here (the registration link has changed so all those interested in participating need to register for the 2021 webinar series). The next webinar is scheduled for Friday, March 26. View the March 12 webinar presentation through this link.
  • Virginia health care professionals in need of specialized mental health support to deal with the emotional toll of workplace stress, burnout, family strain, the mental impact of working during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more are encouraged to consult the new Care for Caregivers program. The program being overseen by Inova Health System is newly established as part of a collaboration with VHHA Foundation, the charitable, non-profit division of VHHA. It provides an array of services for health care workers who may need support for behavioral health needs and is supported with a $180,000 grant awarded to VHHA Foundation by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). That award is provided through a $2 million federal grant to the Commonwealth. The grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an emergency award (SAMHSA Grant Award H79FG000285) to help address the impact of mental health and substance use disorders during COVID-19. A full news release about the program can be read online here.


NATIONAL AND VIRGINIA STATISTICS
U.S. Cases: 29,652,483 (539,517 deaths) from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, other U.S.-affiliated jurisdictions. Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.