The health district that serves the Roanoke area got a big bump in vaccine doses this week.
The Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District got about 17,000 doses Tuesday, according to district director Dr. Cynthia Morrow.
The district had been receiving about 8,350 doses for the past several weeks. In addition to an increase in Moderna doses this week, the district also received 8,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine.
Morrow said the increase will help clear a backlog of people in the 1-B eligibility group still waiting for a shot. "Most of our jurisdictions in the Roanoke City Alleghany Health District are outperforming the state average with respect to percentage of population vaccinated. And yet we still have still have a longer waiting list than other jurisdictions," Morrow noted in a weekly call with reporters. "And that may be in part because there’s more demand. And that’s a good thing."
Appointment invitations for clinics this week are being sent out.
Morrow said she’s hopeful the district can expand eligibility into the Phase 1-C group of essential workers next week.
The number of new COVID-19 infections in the Roanoke region has not been increasing, as it has in other parts of the country and even some sections of Virginia. But it hasn’t been going down much either.
The director of the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District reported 276 new COVID-19 cases this week, down slightly from 306 reported last week. The number of hospitalizations (39) and outbreaks (8) remained steady, according to Doctor Cynthia Morrow.
"I’m really hopeful we’re not going to see the uptick that’s happening across the country, across the world. But the only way that we can prevent that uptick is to get vaccinated when it’s our turn and continue to physical distance and wear masks," Morrow said Tuesday.
Morrow said she recommends against traveling to other parts of the country and participating in social gatherings over the Easter holiday. "While our numbers are fairly stable in our community," she said, "that’s not true across the country."
The Lynchburg Regional Vaccination Center will open a phone bank to help eligible people schedule vaccination appointments. The center serves residents of the City of Lynchburg as well as Amherst, Bedford, Campbell and Appomattox Counties.
Residents can call (434) 455-5889 for assistance in scheduling. The phone bank will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30-4:30. You can also schedule online.
Eligibility in the Central Virginia Health District is currently open to people in the 1A, 1B and 1C groups.