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Northam delivers COVID-19 briefing, eases some restrictions

Governor Northam held a COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, February 24 to address the Commonwealth on Virginia’s latest COVID-19 response and vaccination efforts.

Northam said although vaccine shipments had been delayed last week due to weather conditions, and vaccine clinics being postponed, 13.5 percent of Virginians have been vaccinated so far. Northam reports shipments are now beginning to roll in again, and health departments and pharmacies are working to get vaccines to those who want them as fast and efficiently as they can.

Northam also provided an update on the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine call center and online pre-registration system. Northam said since the website’s launch, almost half a million Virginians have registered for the vaccine, on top of the 1.2 million Virginians who had signed up with their local health department before the registration site went live.

Northam says the call center has received over 100,000 calls so far.

If you’d like to access VDH’s call center, you can do so by dialing 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682). You can also visit the pre-registration site at, which can be used to pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have already pre-registered with your local health district, you can also use the website to check your status.

The COVID-19 call center will begin to make outbound calls next week, Northam said. This will help in vaccination efforts, as staffers will utilize the pre-registration database to schedule appointments.

Northam said more companies and pharmacies are participating in vaccine distribution. Northam also said FEMA has allocated $179 million to Virginia to help with vaccination efforts.

Starting next week, Northam says Johnson & Johnson vaccines will also be available in the Commonwealth.

Northam announced changes in some COVID-19 restrictions during his briefing. The governor says as of Monday, March 1, alcohol sales will be expanded to midnight, and the modified stay-at-home order will be lifted.

Previously, alcohol sales were prohibited past 10 p.m., and the modified stay-at-home order kept Virginians at home between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

Northam also said outdoor social gatherings can now see up to 25 people, and public entertainment and music venues can now hold guests with a 30 percent capacity, with a limit of 1,000 people.

Northam said if downward case trends continue, he expects the 30 percent measure to remain the same, but the 1,000-person capacity limit may be lifted by April.

For more information on the new restrictions, click here.

“It’s critical we do this slowly and thoughtfully,” Northam emphasized after he spoke on the easing of some restrictions.

You can watch the briefing below, on WHSV’s Facebook page or on the governor’s Facebook page.

In a mid-December briefing, Northam established new COVID-19 restrictions, which went into effect on December 14, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. These new restrictions, which Northam said will remain in effect until at least the end of February, are as follows:

  • Modified Stay at Home Order: All individuals in Virginia must remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention. On a February 24 briefing, Northam announced this restriction would be lifted on March 1.
  • Universal mask requirement: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. This order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, and requires all individuals aged five and…

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