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Crater Health District expands outreach

Crater Health District residents have a new way to add their names to the COVID-19 vaccine waiting list.

Call centers specific to each of the district’s localities opened Feb. 10. Surry County is part of the district, which has a population of about 152,000 people. That health district’s jurisdictions also include Sussex, Prince George, Dinwiddie and Greensville counties and the cities of Petersburg, Hopewell and Emporia.

Surry, the district’s least populous jurisdiction, also had the lowest number of confirmed cases and the fewest deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health’s online COVID-19 dashboard. Surry reported 342 confirmed cases and five deaths as of midday Feb. 15.

Officials want to be clear that the call centers will not directly register or schedule people for vaccine appointments. Instead, the centers will maintain lists of eligible individuals who will be contacted by the Virginia Department of Health to schedule a vaccine appointment, when the vaccine is available.

“Crater Health District appreciates the partnership and resources that local city and county officials have

provided to establish District Call Centers. Call volumes at CHD are extremely high and the district call

centers are a way to continue to meet high public demand,” Crater Health District Director Dr. Alton

Hart Jr. said in an announcement. “The centers provide much needed support pre-registering individuals on the waitlist and keeping them informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Residents in Surry, Sussex or Prince George counties may call 804-722-8799. Residents in Dinwiddie, Emporia or Greensville should call 804-469-1050. People in Hopewell may call 804-541-2391, and Petersburg residents can call 804-733-2550.

The call centers will operate 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Messages left after hours will

be returned the next business day. The public may also call 804-862-8989 to contact health officials with general questions related to COVID-19.

The health district also recently announced the activation of a joint information center that will “facilitate the dissemination of information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” according to an announcement. Representatives of each of the district’s jurisdictions will staff the information center in partnership with the cities and counties.

Through the joint information center, officials said district residents can expect to see information shared via print, television, local government websites and social media. Residents are also encouraged to visit the Crater Health District website at vdh.virginia.gov/crater/ for additional information and resources related to COVID-19.

“The Joint Information Center (JIC) shows how local city and county administration, emergency managers and the Crater Health District work together not only during a pandemic, but on a regular basis,” Emporia’s City Manager, William E. Johnson III, said in the statement. “I look forward to our continued partnership and keeping our community well informed.”