Essex County Virginia

3 Rivers Update 2-1-2021

Posted on 02/02/2021

Three Rivers Health District COVID 19 Update, 02/01/2021


Pandemic status: New case numbers continue to drop
1.  Case numbers across most states have dropped, but the new case count in the US is still about 150,000 per day.
2.  Virginia is improving, and the new case rate is down to 4,600/day average.
3.  Three Rivers is at 65-70 new cases/day, which is a small improvement.
  • Our hospital systems remain fully capable and are not in danger of being overwhelmed.
Vaccination Program Update: Expect major delays

  1.  This vaccination program will take many months, we expect it may be many weeks before everyone currently eligible and signed up can get an appointment
  • Three Rivers Health District is in phase 1b. For details of vaccination phases, please visit this website:  https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/#phase1b
  • This vaccine is much more complex than any vaccine we have ever administered. It is fragile, there are CDC requirements that must be met, and there is a mandatory observation period after administration of at least 15 minutes to watch for severe allergic reactions. Current vaccines require 2 doses several weeks apart, which slows the process.
  • There is a severe national vaccine shortage; we are getting only about 25% of the vaccine we are capable of administering every week. This is the current major limiting factor. This is expected to last at least several weeks.
  • The Three Rivers Health District, the hospital systems, physician practices, pharmacies, and free clinics are engaged in the vaccination effort. Local EMS personnel are also engaged. When we get more vaccines, we will move faster.
  • Large vaccination events are planned at the state level when vaccines become available.
  • Unfortunately, it may be weeks or longer before vaccination appointments become available for those who have registered.
  • Available vaccine doses will be allocated approximately equally between critical infrastructure workers (and people aged 16-64 with underlying medical conditions), and individuals who qualify on the basis of age.
  2.  How to sign up for a vaccination appointment
  • People eligible for COVID 19 vaccination in phase 1b seeking a vaccination appointment can contact their health care providers for initial consultation.
  • Any eligible people who cannot receive vaccination through their health care system, or anyone with a COVID 19 related question, should call our COVID 19 resource center at 804-824-2733 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.
  • Eligible individuals can also visit our Three Rivers Health District website to access an online survey to give us contact information and request an appointment at: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/three-rivers/
  • Your name will be added to our lists and we will call you as soon as vaccine appointments become available.
  • We are sharing names with our community vaccination partners as they have availability in their systems to offer appointments.
  3.  Vaccine development and virus update
  • The Johnson and Johnson vaccine, a single dose product, is expected to be ready for FDA review and authorization within several weeks.
  • The COVID 19 virus continues to genetically drift.
  • The United Kingdom, South African, and Brazilian variants are all in the United States now
  • They are more contagious and are expected to become the predominant strains in the future
  • Vaccine effectiveness against these new strains is being evaluated.  Proceeding with vaccination is recommended for all of us.
  • Persons who have had COVID 19 disease can seek vaccination after their isolation period ends, and after their symptoms including fever, have resolved.
  • After receiving COVID 19 vaccination, public health authorities are recommending we all continue masking, maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowded areas after being vaccinated.
  • The vaccine may not prevent all COVID 19 infections
  • Public health authorities will let us know when it is safe to relax protective measures.
  4.  How to volunteer with the Three Rivers Health District
  • The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), our volunteers, are absolutely critical to our efforts at all times
  • We will need additional volunteers during the vaccine campaign, which will last for many months.
  • If you are interested in becoming an MRC volunteer, or have family or friends that are interested, please visit www.vamrc.org<http://www.vamrc.org> to learn more.
  • If you have questions about the process, please reach out to Johanna Hardesty, Three Rivers Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator at 804-758-2381 x 14. We welcome your help and participation in the fight against COVID 19.
  5.  Testing, pandemic containment efforts
  • Community testing and testing in response to vulnerable facility outbreaks can be requested by facilities and jurisdictions by using commercial firms on contract with the Commonwealth of Virginia or the Virginia National Guard.
  • For information and advice about how to request specific community or facility testing events, please call 804-758-2381 ext. 19.
  • Our containment team is now prioritizing case investigation and contact tracing to high risk situations due to high pandemic case numbers.
  • If you have a positive COVID 19 test, we might not be able to call you in a timely fashion during these high surge pandemic conditions, and we ask you to self-quarantine for 10 days, and until you are fever and symptom free.
  6.  K-12 School Status: Three Rivers Health District continues vaccinating teachers and staff
  • Our Three Rivers Nursing staff and our community partners are actively engaged in offering vaccinations to school faculty and staff. The vaccine shortage has forced us to prioritize our efforts to faculty and staff who are exposed to students and others in the line of duty. When we get more vaccine, we will return and vaccinate all school faculty and staff.
  • Schools have been able to continue offering in-person education under a hybrid model, with mitigations in place.
  • Three Rivers staff will continue to work closely with schools and school boards to help make the best decisions going forward.
  • Three Rivers staff will continue to help with all school based COVID 19 outbreaks.
  7.  Useful websites
  8.  Key Points
  • All states rely on the federal government to distribute vaccine doses. Based on our population, Virginia is currently receiving approximately 105,000 new doses per week toward our goal of achieving herd immunity. The pace of incoming doses may not significantly increase for months, although President Biden has announced plans to increase distribution by 16% in the near future.
  • Virginia’s primary distribution of doses is allocated by the Virginia Department of Health to local health districts, in proportion to each district’s population. Local health districts are expected to determine the most equitable and efficient use of each allocation, leveraging any combination of their own staff and volunteers, hospitals, pharmacies, and individual providers. Additional doses reach some residents of Virginia through separate federal allocations for employees of the U.S. Department of Defense and certain other agencies; the Indian Health Service; and a federal contract with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities.
  • While local health districts are allowed flexibility in how doses are administered to eligible individuals, roughly half of the available supply should be used for people aged 65 or older. The other half should be used for frontline essential workers, people with high-risk medical conditions as identified by the CDC<https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html>; and people in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Frontline essential workers should be prioritized in the order listed in the Phase 1b details<https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/191/2021/01/Phase-1b-In-Depth.pdf>.