Health District Unveils Vaccination Plans

Fluvanna currently averaging 11.7 new COVID cases per day

By Heather Michon

The Blue Ridge Health District (BRHD) has announced its initial plans for delivering COVID vaccinations to frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable populations in the coming months.

BRHD (formerly the Thomas Jefferson Health District) said in a press release that vaccinations for EMS personnel, dialysis clinic workers, and Region Ten residential staff would begin the week of Monday, Jan. 4. Several members of the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire and Rescue have reportedly just received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine approved by the FDA in recent weeks.

In the following weeks, “we will expand [the program] to vaccinate the rest of Phase 1A frontline healthcare workers, which includes personnel who directly engage in the care of or interact with patients with known or suspected COVID-19 and patients at higher risk for infections.” This includes home care workers, hospice workers, dental office staff, pharmacists, K-12 teachers, and Department of Corrections staff.

Currently, the state has designated Phase 1B for essential workers and Phase 1C for high-risk adults. There is no current schedule for those who are low risk and under the age of 65.

To facilitate the vaccination process, BRHD is setting up a temporary facility in the parking lot of the former Kmart on Hydraulic Road in Charlottesville. This will allow them to vaccinate a number of people in a central location, which will “ultimately decrease the time it takes to vaccinate people in each phase of the vaccination campaign.”

More clinics will be set up at hospitals, community centers, fire stations, and other locations. Eventually, members of the public will also be able to receive vaccinations at pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS. This process is likely to take several months.

Meanwhile, Fluvanna County recorded 117 new cases of COVID between Dec. 24 and Jan. 3, an average of 11.7 cases per day. To date, just over 800 Fluvanna residents have been diagnosed with COVID since the start of the pandemic. Of that number, 56 have been hospitalized, and 11 people have died.

Public health officials are asking residents to wear masks while in public, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, maintain social distance whenever possible, and avoid large gatherings.

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