2021-4-20

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s March Team Member of the Month for March 2021

South Hill, VA  – The pandemic has affected almost every workplace in some manner. Adjustments arose. Careers changed. People pivoted.

At VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH), Director of Pharmacy Rick Clary, RPH, MBA, is no exception. “Rick has maintained a very positive leadership attitude during the chaotic and ever-changing vaccine phase of the COVID pandemic and has committed much personal time to ensuring these vaccines reach the people who need them the most,” said CEO Scott Burnette.

Rick earned the March Team Member of the Month award for STAR service: Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships. Rick said, “It was truly a team effort. Tracey Bailey, the Clinical Coordinator at the clinics, is more deserving of this than I am. It is a great feeling to make a difference and help meet the needs of the community.” Rick received the STAR service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows him to park wherever he wants for the month of April and a $40 gift card.

Rick started out his health care career as an emergency medical technician. He joined the hospital in 1985 as a pharmacy tech and worked his way up. “I knew I wanted to be in the medical field, so it just worked out; it was  good choice,” he explained. His leadership philosophy is to have fun at work and enjoy what you do every day. Rick has a daughter who graduated from the University of Virginia with a master’s in teaching and a son who is graduating from William & Mary and is headed to South Carolina to earn his Ph.D in history.

Rick encourages all who are eligible to get their vaccinations when the time comes. “It will make a difference so we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” he said. “Our hospital has 74% of staff fully vaccinated and we’ve seen a decrease in the number of COVID-postive employees and patients from double digits to single digits.”

Other nominees for March include: Tracey Bailey – C.A.R.E. Offices, Keisha Bumpass – Hendrick Rehab, Phyllis Cavan – Administration, Kelsey Clark – C.A.R.E. Offices, Erin Davis – Acute Care, Andrea Godette – Cardiology, Jennifer Hargrave – Garland Birthing Center, Joanne Malone – Quality, Mark Ornopia – Surgical Services, Curtis Poole – Food and Nutrition, Kathy Smith – C.A.R.E. Offices, Brianna Taylor – Administrative Representatives, and Angie Tanner – Quality.

Lawmakers amend bill banning guns in state buildings, Capitol Square

By Christina Amano Dolan, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia legislators recently accepted the governor’s substitute to a bill banning firearms on and near Capitol Square, as well as in state buildings. Lawmakers voted last year to ban firearms from the state Capitol. 

Senate Bill 1381, introduced by Sen. Adam P. Ebbin, D-Alexandria, will make it a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person to possess or transport a firearm or explosive material within Capitol Square and the surrounding area or buildings owned or leased by the commonwealth. Any person convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor may face a sentence of up to 12 months in jail, a fine up to $2,500, or both.

Current and retired law enforcement officers, active military personnel and others performing official duties are exempted from the restrictions.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s recommendation requested further protection for magistrates. The measure originally allowed magistrates to carry firearms in courthouses, but the substitute now includes magistrates on duty working outside of courthouses and in other government buildings. The Office of the Executive Secretary requested the amendment. 

“They are on duty in various locations at all times of day, working on sensitive and sometimes volatile situations,” Ebbin said. “Magistrates are required to accept cash bonds. That requires the magistrate to frequently possess large sums of cash.”

The Senate passed the substitute along party lines, 21-19. The House agreed to the measure mostly along party lines, 52-46.

Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, sponsored an identical bill that was also amended and passed both chambers. 

Virginia Democrats passed an existing ban on firearms early last year, similarly excluding police officers and other security personnel. The ban prohibits guns inside the state Capitol and the General Assembly’s adjacent office building but does not extend to Capitol grounds. 

The ban will now include Capitol Square and the area bounded by the four roads in each direction. It also includes the sidewalks of Bank Street extending from 50 feet west of the Pocahontas Building entrance to 50 feet east of the Capitol building entrance.

Ebbin said during a February Senate floor hearing that the bill is in the interest of public safety. There was a “close call” incident last year, Ebbin said, when FBI agents arrested three men on firearms charges. Federal officials were concerned the men were headed to Richmond to attend an annual gun-rights rally, people familiar with the investigation told The Washington Post at the time. Northam had declared a state of emergency ahead of the rally, citing “credible threats of violence surrounding the event.”

Philip Van Cleave, president of Virginia Citizens Defense League, said the measure is about politics, not public safety. The VCDL is a nonprofit organization that advocates for Second Amendment rights. 

Van Cleave said Capitol Police protect legislators, so a weapons ban is unnecessary. 

“They don’t like gun owners exercising their First Amendment rights nor their Second Amendment rights,” Van Cleave said. “These efforts are more to shut us up than anything else.” 

Van Cleave’s organization helped organize a gun rally last January with over 22,000 gun-rights supporters. The organization called for thousands of its armed supporters to gather on Capitol grounds to oppose gun control legislation. The event ended without incident. 

Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, said in last week’s Senate hearing that she believes the measure is an attack on the Constitution. 

“I will be voting against any bill that has anything to do with restricting law-abiding citizens’ ability to protect themselves,” Chase said. “I don’t even understand why we are introducing legislation that goes against our Constitutional rights.” 

Chase and other Republican legislators voiced concern for the safety of General Assembly employees when the bill was originally before the Senate. They said police cannot enforce the measure. 

“Capitol Police cannot be everywhere, and as great of people they are, we do not properly give them the resources they need to do the job they’ve been asked to do,” Chase said.

Capitol Police and Virginia State Police will “adequately and reasonably” enforce the law, Ebbin stated in a previous email interview.

“The threat of violence and proliferation of firearms in the public square quashes the civil discourse and exchange of ideas we so value in Virginia,” Ebbin stated. 

The new law goes into effect July 1. 

Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University's Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.

Virginia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Opens for All Adults on Sunday

Virginians seeking a vaccination opportunity can find and schedule appointments at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA

RICHMOND—As Governor Ralph Northam announced earlier this month, all Virginians age 16 and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine starting Sunday, April 18. This expansion of eligibility comes as Virginia reaches a new milestone in its vaccination program—approximately half of all adults in the Commonwealth have received at least one dose.

Governor Northam shared a new video message today encouraging Virginians seeking a vaccination opportunity to use the statewide call center or the new Vaccinate Virginia website to find vaccine providers starting Sunday. Virginia’s eligibility expansion meets a nationwide goal set by President Joe Biden that all adults be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19.

“Over the past few months, we have made tremendous progress vaccinating Virginians as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible, and we need to keep up the good work,” said Governor Northam. “With COVID-19 cases on the rise in many parts of Virginia and across the country, it is important that everyone has an opportunity to make a vaccination appointment. If you are over 16 and want to get the safe, effective, and free vaccine, please make a plan to get your shot. The more people who get vaccinated, the faster we can end this pandemic and get back to our normal lives.”

With this move into Phase 2, appointments will still be required for most vaccinations. Starting Sunday, Virginians will be able to find and schedule appointments directly through the Vaccinate Virginia vaccine system by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). The vaccinate.virginia.gov site will link to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s VaccineFinder website, which has a searchable map-based tool to find appointments at Community Vaccination Centers, local health departments, pharmacies, and hospitals.

Virginians seeking an opportunity to get vaccinated may have to wait for an appointment, as demand for vaccination is expected to continue to outpace supply in many parts of the Commonwealth. Those who were eligible under Phase 1 who cannot find an appointment should pre-register for a priority appointment at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA. The Northam Administration anticipates that all Virginians who want a vaccine will be able to get at least their first dose by the end of May.

Only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for individuals aged 16 and 17. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for ages 18 and up.

More than 5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Virginia. Approximately half of the adult population has received at least one dose, and one in five Virginians are fully vaccinated. The Commonwealth continues to work with a statewide network of providers and partners to distribute and administer doses as quickly as they are provided by the federal government.

Virginia has focused on equity throughout its vaccination program by providing targeted resources in multiple languages, scheduling clinics in collaboration with community partners, performing grassroots outreach to drive pre-registration and scheduling, and implementing large, state-run Community Vaccination Centers in areas with vulnerable populations. These efforts will continue with expanded eligibility in Phase 2.

All COVID-19 vaccines are free regardless of health insurance or immigration status. Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages. Videoconferencing in American Sign Language also is available by videophone at 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) or online by clicking the “ASL Now” button at vaccinate.virginia.gov.

NO FATAL CRASHES ON I-95 DURING VIRGINIA “I-95 DRIVE TO SAVE LIVES” INITIATIVE

RICHMOND – Virginia was among 15 states, from Maine to Florida, to participate in the annual “I-95 Drive to Save Lives” traffic safety initiative April 9-10. This initiative concentrated on traffic safety enforcement on Interstate 95 and resulted in zero traffic crash fatalities during the enforcement operational period.

“With 2020 being an especially tragic year for traffic fatalities in Commonwealth, zero traffic deaths on the entire 178 miles of I-95 in Virginia proves enforcement initiatives like this help save lives,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police. “Being visible on Virginia’s highways and interstates and enforcing live-saving traffic laws make an impact and State Police is proud to be part of the solution.”

In total, during the two-day “I-95 Driver to Save Lives” enforcement initiative, Virginia State Police cited 194 speeders and 11 people for failing to wear a seatbelt. In addition, 20 drivers were cited for violating Virginia’s new hands-free law. There were also two drug arrests made and three wanted persons were apprehended.

As Virginians start to plan for summer travel, Virginia State Police urge motorists to comply with all traffic laws, including Virginia’s hands-free law. Distracted driving can be deadly and as a driver, anytime your attention is not on the road, you are distracted. Do not let tragedy ruin your summer adventures – obey posted speed limits, buckle up and ditch distractions.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

SBA Announces RRF Application & Guidelines Economic relief prioritized for underserved communities

WASHINGTON –U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced, over the weekend, key details on application requirements, eligibility, and a program guide for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RFF). The food service industry is among the hardest-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic economic downturn. The American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden, established the $28.6 billion RRF to be administered by the SBA.

“Our message is this; ‘Help is here.’” said Administrator Guzman. “We’re prioritizing funding to the hardest-hit small businesses – irreplaceable gathering places in our neighborhoods and communities in need of a lifeline. Thanks to clear directives from Congress, we’re rolling out this program to ensure these businesses can meet payroll, purchase supplies, and get what they need in place to transition to today’s COVID-restricted marketplace.”

Administrator Guzman emphasized, “We’re also focused on ensuring the RRF application process is streamlined and free of burdensome, bureaucratic hurdles, while maintaining robust oversight. Under my leadership, the SBA will be as entrepreneurial as the entrepreneurs we serve – meeting every small business where they are, and giving them the support, they need to recover, rebuild and thrive.”

Ahead of the launch and over the next two weeks, the SBA will establish a seven-day pilot period, ahead of the public launch, to conduct outreach and training. Participants will be randomly selected and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public – to be announced at a later date. For the first 21 days the program is open, the SBA will prioritize reviewing applications from women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged business owners. Afterward, all eligible applicants are encouraged to apply.

“These guidelines were crafted by the SBA after conversations with independent restaurant and bar operators across the country,” said Erika Polmar, Executive Director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition. “We are grateful to the SBA for their hard work to make this process as accessible as possible in a short period of time. It is clear the SBA and the Biden Administration care deeply about ensuring businesses struggling the most can quickly and effectively use this relief program.”

In addition to restaurant groups and leading advocacy groups for underserved business communities, the SBA has engaged national and state trade associations, and other small business stakeholders in recent weeks to understand their concerns about relief programs. At all levels, the SBA continues to engage with stakeholder communities to inform and design delivery of financial assistance programs.

 As the SBA builds and prepares to roll out the program, this dedicated SBA website is the best source for up-to-date information for eligible restaurants interested in the RRF. Under this announcement, details on application requirements, eligibility, and a program guide are now available in English at www.sba.gov/restaurants, and in Spanish at www.sba.gov/restaurantes.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING URGES OFFERUP TO STOP SALES OF FAKE VACCINATION CARDS

~ Herring has also called on Twitter, eBay, and Shopify to act immediately to stop the sale of fraudulent vaccination cards on their platforms ~

RICHMOND (April 19, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined a bipartisan coalition of 42 attorneys general in calling on OfferUp, an online mobile marketplace, to act immediately to prevent fraudulent or blank COVID-19 vaccine cards from being sold on its platform. In their letter to the company, the coalition raises concerns about the public health risks of these fake vaccination cards. Attorney General Herring has also called on Twitter, eBay, and Shopify to act immediately to stop the sale of fraudulent vaccination cards on their platforms.
 
“Vaccinating as many Virginians as possible is one of the most important ways we will be able to get back to normal and get this pandemic under control,” said Attorney General Herring. “Unvaccinated people, who use fraudulent vaccine cards to pretend they are vaccinated, could potentially spread COVID throughout our communities, putting the health and safety of Virginians and their families at risk. I will continue to push companies to prevent the sale of these fake vaccination cards to help Virginia stay on the right track in combating COVID.”
 
In their letter, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues are urging OfferUp to:
  • Monitor its platform for ads or links selling blank or fraudulently complete vaccination cards
  • Promptly take down ads or links that are selling cards
  • Preserve records and information about the ads and the people who were selling them
 
Joining Attorney General Herring in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
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