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Health Officials: Answer The Phone!

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Health Department officials say they’re making progress moving through people eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 1B.   They’re asking people who have registered on the state portal to verify their information.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow with the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District says if you choose to be contacted by phone then answer the call.  "We have a lot of volunteers helping us reach out directly, making phone calls to get people into our vaccine clinics. But our no-answer rate is extraordinarily high." That rate was about 50% Monday, Morrow added.

Morrow says a mismatch on a data list at the state level allowed some ineligible people to be included in a Roanoke-area clinic designated for 1B individuals last weekend.  That problem was identified too late to be corrected for last weekend's clinic, but it has been corrected for future vaccination events.   Morrow defended the state's streamlined portal and database during a weekly call with reporters Tuesday.  “It’s still the best system we have available to us to identify people and get them vaccinated.”

You can register or verify your information online at vaccinate.virginia.gov.  You can also reach a state phone bank at 877-VAX-IN-VA.

Northam Announces Mass Clinics for Danville, Petersburg and Portsmouth

Next week the state will set up mass vaccination sites with assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

During a news conference Tuesday Governor Ralph Northam announced that the vaccine sites were selected with an eye for equity.  "You've seen massive clinics on TV, like at Dodger stadium," Northam noted.  "Virginia won't be that big, but these are intended to be large scale events, able to vaccinate anywhere from several hundred to several thousand people in a day."

The first of these sites will be in Danville, Petersburg and Portsmouth.  They will still require an appointment for eligible people.

During the news conference, Northam noted that the number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia continues to decline and the number of vaccinations has been increasing.  On several recent days, the state vaccinated 60,000 to 70,000 individuals.

Roanoke-area COVID-19 Metrics Level Off

The number of new COVID-19 infections in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District had been falling for the past few weeks, but has now leveled off.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow reported  345 new cases for the week.  That's about the same number that was reported last Tuesday.   The number of outbreaks remained steady as well.  Morrow said the district's nine outbreaks were almost entirely in long term care settings.

The number of hospitalizations grew to 33, as of Monday.  That number was 20 last week.  The number of deaths continues to increase.  Fifty additional deaths were added over the past week, bringing the district's total to 440.  Morrow said most of those deaths occurred weeks ago and were impacted by reporting delays.