We’re 3 weeks away from the New Year 😲 Where did time fly?!
Happy Monday, VA Community! We hope everyone is doing well and taking care this Monday evening. Today we were reflecting on the year and how fast it’s passed us by, so we want to take a moment to thank everyone for joining us this far and hope to continue having you in our community into the new year!
Now, let's jump into today's Virginia Updates for December 6 📬
Today we’re breaking down What We Do Know about the Omicron Variant with information provided by the CDC. We also have news on New Behavioral Health Services being offered in Virginia for adults and youth across our state. Also get an update on unemployment numbers and some trending headlines across VA.
Here are this week's Virginia Updates. We have news on;
▪️ What To Know About the Omicron Variant
▪️ New Behavioral Health Services in Virginia
▪️ Virginia Unemployment Update
▪️ Trending Virginia Headlines
▪️ Vaccine Update + Data
▪️ COVID-19 Data
What To Know about Omicron
On November 24, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, was reported to the World Health Organization. Now, the omicron variant has surfaced in the Washington region with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announcing that three cases were detected in the Baltimore metro area.
Here is what we know about he Omicron Variant:
How easily does Omicron spread?
The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original covid-19 virus but remains unknown compared to the Delta variant. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
Will vaccines work against Omicron?
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.
Will treatments work against Omicron?
Scientists are working on this but based on the changed genetic make-up of Omicron, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less effective.
sources: cdc.gov & washingtonpost.com
New Health Services!
As of Dec. 1, Virginia Medicaid members have access to six new behavioral health services that strengthen crisis response, address a national emergency in children’s mental health care and more.
The new services covered by Medicaid are:
Multi-systemic Therapy: Intensive family and community-based treatment for youth ages 11-18 with significant disruptive behaviors and substance use disorders.
Functional Family Therapy: Short-term treatment for youth ages 11-18 with significant disruptive behaviors who have received referrals from juvenile justice, child welfare systems and more.
Mobile Crisis Response: 24/7 rapid response, assessment and early intervention for those experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
Community Stabilization: Short-term support for individuals who recently required crisis services or who need assistance to avoid escalation to more intensive treatment models.
23-Hour Crisis Stabilization: Up to 23 hours of crisis stabilization services in a community-based setting for individuals experiencing an acute behavioral health emergency.
Residential Crisis Stabilization Unit: Short-term, 24/7 residential evaluation and intervention for psychiatric and substance use crises. This new service enables some individuals to avoid inpatient admission and offers stepdown support for others who require hospitalization.
The six new services, along with the Marcus Alert launched in parts of the state Tuesday, are part of a broader plan to transform the behavioral health system in Virginia.
Medicaid members interested in learning more should contact their primary care provider or behavioral health specialist.
sources: dmas.virginia.gov & wric.com
The Virginia Employment Commission installed a new unemployment insurance system in November, and it missed two weeks of reports during that period.
According to the VEC’s announcement Thursday, 6,546 initial claims were filed last week, a decrease of 6,548 claimants from the previous week. Continued claims totaled 13,917, an increase of 6,605 claims from the previous week and 81% lower than 72,305 claims from the comparable week in 2020.
People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly claims to continue receiving benefits.
The majority of Virginia claimants who filed for benefits last week reported being in these industries:
Accommodation and food services
Administrative and waste services
Retail and manufacturing
Health care and social assistance
sources: virginiabusiness.com & virginiamercury.com
In other news, VA Headlines
Here are some brief headlines on news and events happening across Virginia.
NBC 12 -- Snow could mix with rain Wednesday across Central Virginia. There are signs of potential for a rain/snow mix on Wednesday, but accumulation chances are low. Rain could mix with snow during the day on Wednesday for Richmond but Northern Virginia could get a slushy dusting of snow.
WSET -- Danville looks into license for open container alcohol zones. Legislation passed by the General Assembly allows for a person to buy alcohol from one store and take it with you to drink while walking or shopping at other places within that same area. Abingdon and Charlottesville are also considering a DORA license – that stands for Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area.
Virginia Mercury -- World’s largest oyster restoration completed on Piankatank River. Governor Ralph Northam marked the state’s achievement of oyster restoration goals in both the Piankatank and Great Wicomico rivers as part of its broader effort to meet the commitments of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
Vaccines Update + Data
During Monday coronavirus briefing, Dr. Noelle Bissell, the director of the New River Health District, discussed the latest developments in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as local vaccination efforts.
Health districts across VA offer not only offer free COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, but also free flu vaccines. If you want to set up a vaccination appointment, visit the link in out bio for more info.
Vaccine Summary: As of Monday, December 6
Total Doses Administered: 13,028,051
People Fully Vaccinated: 5,603,369 or 65.6%
% of Adults (18+) Fully Vaccinated: 77.0%
People Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 6,389,124 or 74.9%
% of Adults (18+) Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 86.5%
People Vaccinated with Booster / Third dose: 1,423,610
For more information on Virginia's vaccination efforts, please visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA
sources : vdh.virginia.gov & wdbj7.com
The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 983,055. The 983,055 consists of 723,503 confirmed and 259,552 probable cases. There are 14,771 COVID-19 deaths, and Virginia’s 7-day positivity rate is now at 7.6%.
sources: vdh.virginia.gov and vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/locality/
Take care and stay safe everyone!
- Maria, Editor in Chief
⚠️ Learn more about COVID-19 in Virginia @ www.vdh.virginia.gov
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