Vaccine Rollout Expands Into Phase 1c

Off-site Clinics At Jail, Mohawk This Week

The Central Shenandoah Health District has moved into Phase 1c of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for residents, now reaching more essential groups in the vaccine rollout.

Essential workers now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1c include water, wastewater, and waste and recycling removal; energy; housing and construction; food service; transportation and logistics; institutions of higher education; finance; information technology and communication; media; legal services; public safety; other public health workers; and barbers, stylists and hairdressers.

Other health districts in Virginia are now in Phase 2 of the rollout of the vaccine to the general public, but the Central Shenandoah Health District is planning to move to Phase 2 with Virginia’s official date of April 19, according to CSHD public information officer Laura Lee Wight.

Wight said the transition to Phase 1c is not necessarily a “huge expansion” for the area.

“A lot of individuals in the health district were eligible for Phase 1a and 1b,” she explained Tuesday.

According to the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, approximately 141,300 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the Central Shenandoah Health District, and approximately 57,200 people have been fully vaccinated. On Tuesday, March 30, the health district celebrated more than 50,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered through health district vaccine efforts.

As of Tuesday, a total of 6,451 people in the Rockbridge area have been fully vaccinated, according to the VDH website.

The health district and local officials are continuing to hold multiple vaccination clinics in the Rockbridge area each week.

Kevin Moore, Rockbridge County fire rescue chief, said three clinics are being held at the local vaccination center in the former Peebles building this week, one yesterday and then additional ones Thursday and Friday. Also, clinics are being held off-site today, Wednesday, for inmates at the Rockbridge Regional Jail and on Friday at Mohawk. The Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccines are being used for the first time locally at the jail and Mohawk, noted Moore.

Wight said through the expansion to 1c and into Phase 2, the health district will continue to target populations most vulnerable to illness or death from COVID-19, underserved communities and populations who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The Central Shenandoah Health District encourages essential workers in Phase 1c to preregister for their vaccine at vaccinate.

New Cases Remain Down

New weekly COVID-19 cases in the Rockbridge area remain low, under 20 for the second week in a row.

According to the Virginia Department of Health dashboard, there were 17 new cases in the area from last Tuesday through yesterday. More disturbing is the news that the VDH is now listing two more deaths, both of them in Rockbridge County. That brings the official death toll from the virus to 96.

Most of the new cases were in Rockbridge County, where the count increased by 13 to a total of 1,458. Hospitalizations remained the same at 44, while the death count for the county rose by two to 46.

In Buena Vista, cases increased by three to 869. One new case was listed in Lexington over the past week, bringing the total cases to 1,152. No new deaths or hospitalizations occurred in Buena Vista or Lexington.

The Washington and Lee University COVID dashboard reported one positive case this week, with two in quarantine and isolation on campus and six in quarantine and isolation elsewhere.

Virginia Military Institute, meanwhile, is also reporting one active case on campus this week, occurring among faculty or staff. One cadet is currently in quarantine.

There were no reported active cases among faculty or students at Southern Virginia University.

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