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Richmond Honors COVID-19 Deaths, Gives Vaccination Update

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney
Mayor Levar Stoney at a press conference earlier this year. (Photo: Coleman Jennings/VPM News)

During a press conference today, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney held a moment of silence for 118 city residents who have died from COVID-19.

Public health officials said they are making progress on vaccinations, but urged residents to be patient.

“While we're waiting for vaccines to be more widely available, COVID-19 is still very much out there in our communities,” said Dr. Melissa Viray, with the city health department.  “We are at all time highs now and we must continue to remain diligent.”

Virginia and the City of Richmond are currently in the initial phases of vaccine distribution. Registration for those individuals in phase 1b, which includes some essential workers and people 75 and over,  began early this month. Viray is hoping to register additional groups by the end of this month, though Richmond and the rest of Virginia will have to wait on available supply from the federal government before their shots can be distributed. 

“We are looking at not having enough vaccines at the national level and this is affecting us here at the state and here in Richmond,” Viray stated.

According to Viray, approximately 50,000 doses have been administered in the metro Richmond area, though she acknowledges a data lag. Currently the state website shows lower numbers. Although health care systems across the state are making strides administering vaccines, supply problems continue. 

Viray asked residents to check-in with their families and friends in their social bubbles, maintain social distancing practices and get tested if they’re experiencing symptoms or exposed to COVID-19.

Stoney acknowledged that when it comes to the vaccine, “the demand is great, the supply unfortunately is little,” adding,  the city will keep its eye on the ball as vaccinations become more widely available.