Hey VA Community! We hope everyone is doing well and ready for some Virginia Updates. We’ve been away for a little bit getting some rest and preparing the launch of our June Primary Election Campaign - so look out for more infographics and voter guides as we get closer to the June 21 Election.
Today we have updates on top news events happening in Virginia and across the country. First, we have info on the upcoming election and some important dates to know. We share the why and how about the baby formula shortage + share a document by the Virginia Department of Health (check the link in our bio for more). We also have news on the Telework Policy that will come to an end soon. Then we jump into Virginia Headlines and finish off with COVID-19 data.
📰Here’s this week's Va Updates -
▪️ June 21 Primary Elections
▪️ Baby Formula Shortage
▪️ Telework Policy Update
▪️ Virginia Headlines: Petersburg Curfew, Monkeypox & Free COVID-19 Tests
▪️ COVID-19 Data
▪️ Vaccine Data
🗳 June Primary Elections
We have an Election - Virginians will be voting for the United States House of Representatives and Local Offices.
Only five of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts will hold state-run primaries. Republicans in districts 5, 8 and 10 selected their nominees ahead of the official primary election on June 21, on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
Most of the races in Virginia are not expected to be competitive, but a few are considered toss-ups and could push Republicans over the edge.
But redistricting shifted voters’ districts ahead of the primaries and conventions, potentially causing confusion for Virginians about where to vote, who represents them and more.
Midterm races that are already set:
Republican Rep. Rob Wittman (incumbent)
Democrat Herb Jones
Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin (incumbent)
Republican Leon Benjamin
Republican Rep. Morgan Griffith (incumbent)
Democrat Taysha DeVaughan
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly (incumbent)
Republican Jim Myles
🗓 Here are some important dates to know and save:
May 6 starts the first day of early in-person voting at your local registrar's office
May 31 is the deadline to register to vote, or update an existing voter registration
June 10 is the deadline to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you. Your request must be received by your local voter registration office by 5:00 p.m.
June 11 voter registration offices open for early voting
June 18 is the last day for early in-person voting at your local voter registration office by 5:00 p.m.
June 21 is Election Day! Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST!
🍼 Baby Formula Shortage
Infant formula has become difficult to find in the last month. The reason is the temporary shutdown by the FDA of the plant that manufactures roughly half of the U.S. supply.
The plants were shut down because the FDA began looking into four bacterial infections in infants who had consumed formula from the plant. The FDA is working to get the plant reopened, but until that occurs, supplies of formula will be less than normal.
The Senate on Thursday approved the Access to Baby Formula Act by unanimous consent, which ensures low-income families can buy more types of formula. The bill, which previously cleared the House of Representatives, was signed by President Joe Biden on Friday.
This document is intended to help parents and caregivers of infants under one year of age to navigate the shortage, while ensuring the best possible nutrition for their babies. What follows is a list of Dos and Don’ts, when you’re having trouble finding baby formula.
IF FORMULA IS HARD TO FIND:
Check with your baby’s physician or healthcare provider for any questions, especially if your baby is on a restricted diet or has any medical conditions.
Call ahead to nearby stores to find the ones that have formula before you travel.
Check smaller markets and drug stores when the big box stores and supermarkets are out.
Consider purchasing formula on-line if you can afford it. Only purchase from well-established distributors and pharmacies.
Purchase only a 10-14-day supply each time. It appears unlikely that the supply is going to run out, and hoarding will only make shortages worse.
Purchase alternate or store-brand formulas if your baby is not on a restricted diet and has no major health problems.
Check with social media support groups for help finding formula vendors, check with your baby’s healthcare provider before purchasing.
Contact your local health department or WIC office for their recommendations for your community. Go to Local Health Districts and click on part of the map that contains your location, or call locally.
👩💻 Telework Policy Update
Most of Virginia’s public employees who have been working remotely will need to return to their offices for in-person work after Governor Glenn Youngkin rolled back the state’s telework policy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, former Gov. Ralph Northam loosened the requirements for in-person work and allowed employees to work from home. However, on July 5, state workers will need to return to their on-site full time jobs, unless they have a legitimate exemption and are approved for the Standard Teleworking Agreement.
Agency heads will need to review and replace all existing telework agreements with the state’s new standard agreement. The directive tells agencies to determine positions in which telework is appropriate, but recognize that telework is not a suitable alternative for certain positions. The new agreements will also reflect specific days in which on-site work is necessary for delivering services and team collaboration.
Youngkin is encouraging workers to return to their offices before July 5, but will not require them to return early. Applications for a telework agreement began on May 6 and are available on the Department Human Resource Management website. The recommended deadline for agreement requests is May 20 and the deadline for agencies to review the agreements is by June 3.
Nearby areas have already returned to in-person work. State workers in Washington, D.C., and Maryland returned to in-person work last summer.
📰 Virginia Headlines:
NBC 12 - New curfew for minors in Petersburg after spike in violent crime. A new curfew time went into effect Wednesday night for minors in Petersburg, Virginia to help gun violence in the city. Police said some of the violence resulted in children being shot. Children in the city will have to be home and off the streets between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless accompanied by an adult. It’s a full hour on both ends of the previous curfew. Part of the reason is to make sure kids are safe with a recent spike in crime.
CNBC - World Health Organization confirms 92 cases of monkeypox with outbreaks in 12 countries. Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus in the same family as smallpox but is not as severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, monkeypox can result in death in as many as 1 in 10 people who contract the disease based on observations in Africa, according to the CDC. The outbreaks are unusual because they are occurring in countries where the virus is not endemic, according to the WHO. More cases will likely be reported in the coming days as surveillance broadens, it said.
COVID.gov - Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order a 3rd round of free at-home tests.The White House announced Monday that eight more Covid-19 test kits are now available to U.S. households at no charge. The latest batch follows two previous rounds of orders delivered in January and March, bringing the total number of free kits to 16 per household.
COVID-19 & Vaccine Data
The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 1,763,908. The 1,763,908 consists of 1,263,161 confirmed and 500,747 probable cases. There are 20,340 COVID-19 deaths, and Virginia’s 7-day positivity rate is now at 16.6%.
Vaccine Summary: As of Monday, May 23, 2022
Total Doses Administered: 15,899,736
People Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 7,058,234 or 82.2%
% of Adults (18+) Vaccinated with at least 1 dose: 93.0%
People Fully Vaccinated: 6,322,314 or 73.6%
% of Adults (18+) Fully Vaccinated: 83.5%
People Vaccinated with Booster / Third dose: 3,066,652
For more information on Virginia's vaccination efforts, please visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA
Thank you for joining us this week! Be sure to leave a comment on which story you found the most interesting and catch up back next week for another VA Updates Newsletter.
- María Reynoso, Editor-in-Chief