Health officials concerned about Omicron

From a Blue Ridge Health District statement:

We continue to see a slow rise in new cases of COVID-19 across the Blue Ridge Health District. This increase in new cases is mostly from outbreaks in workplace settings, social gatherings, and pre-K and school settings. All of our localities are currently experiencing high levels of community transmission so we encourage everyone to be cautious with holiday celebrations.

As the Omicron variant continues to spread quickly, we encourage everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine to prevent severe illness and disease. BRHD test sites are now testing all COVID-19 test samples for the Omicron variant, as we know it is already in our region. Studies from South Africa show that Omicron spreads twice as fast as the Delta variant and, unfortunately, we expect Omicron to surpass Delta cases this winter both nationally and locally. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts a surge in January and it is crucial that you know where to get tested and how to spend the holidays safely – read more below on these topics.

Johnson & Johnson 

vaccines

On Dec.16, the CDC announced a preferential recommendation of mRNA vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna – over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for people ages 18 years and older. The Virginia Department of Health is adopting this recommendation immediately.  

Starting on Dec. 17, BRHD is only offering Johnson & Johnson first dose vaccines at local health departments; Johnson & Johnson boosters will not be available. We will no longer offer J&J first doses or boosters at community-based and mobile vaccine clinics. We recommend individuals receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, but will continue to offer Johnson & Johnson first dose vaccines at health departments only until our supply runs out.

For individuals who prefer to get a Johnson & Johnson vaccine (first dose or booster shot), this vaccine will still be available at the Community Vaccination Center at Seminole Square in Charlottesville.

Free vaccines at varsity basketball game  

Another free opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot is planned at the boys’ varsity basketball game at Louisa County High School, 757 Davis Highway, Mineral on Jan. 7, 2022 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For ages five and up. Second dose appointments will be scheduled for Jan. 28 at the same time and location. Call 434-972-6261 for additional information if needed.

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