Northam: Some Loosened Restrictions to Be Announced Soon
A quarter of Virginia’s population has now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
And because of that milestone, Governor Ralph Northam says there are some changes coming to current restrictions on school activities.
"Cross country will be allowed to have 68 runners at the starting line," the governor said during a press conference at a mass vaccination event in northern Virginia Monday.
"Currently, performance events, like dramas and musicals, are considered social gatherings. We'll increase the number of people to 100 indoors or 30% of that venue's capacity. If it's outdoors, it will be increased to 500 or 30% of capacity."
The governor said he would have more details on the loosened restrictions in the near future.
Northam added that it’s vital for every adult in Virginia to get a COVID-19 vaccine, especially now that eligibility has been expanded to everyone 16 and up.
Pre-registration will still be required, and Northam said that process will still need to go through the state system. There is one difference, though.
"There you'll see a button to schedule an appointment. That'll take you to the CDC's Vaccine Finder tool, which will show you all the options near you," he explained.
That includes available vaccine appointments through your local health department or pharmacy.
You can access the state’s pre-registration system here. You can also call 877-829-4682.
The governor expects every Virginian who wants a shot will be able to get their first dose by the end of May.
Some Drop Off In Demand In Some Local Health Districts
Even as Virginia hits new milestones in getting COVID-19 vaccine into arms, many local health districts are seeing demand drop off somewhat.
Dr. Noell Bissell said that’s the case in the New River Health District, where many clinics have plenty of availability. Bissell told reporters that health professionals need to address reluctance and questions about the vaccines in smaller settings and groups. "The large scale clinics, while they did serve a purpose and they do serve the purpose to get a large amount of vaccine out to a large amount of people, we need to address the smaller groups and engage the smaller groups and even one on one."
The New River Health District is still running large vaccination events. There’s one tomorrow/today at the Dedmon Center at Radford University. Another will happen Thursday at Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech. Bissell said there’s plenty of availability right now.
The state's vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, has also said that vaccine distribution efforts will eventually shift from mass clinics to pharmacies and doctors offices.