The City Managers of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Williamsburg issued a joint statement recently, in an effort to get more people vaccinated against the covid-19 virus.
The statement noted that local communities are at a critical point in the fight against the coronavirus. The Delta variant is causing the number of covid cases in the Hampton Roads region and across the nation to spike. Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Williamsburg feel they need to take additional steps to curtail the spread, so they are joining together to implement weekly testing of all municipal employees unless they are already fully vaccinated.
In the announcement, the six cities stated, “We believe this additional precaution will improve our ability to meet three key goals: keeping our employees and their families healthier; maintaining our ability to serve our residents, especially with critical public safety services; and reducing community spread of covid-19.”
The goal is to have this initiative in place by October 1. Announcing the measure this early allows employees who opt to become fully vaccinated before the deadline to have an opportunity to do so. Testing procedures and program details will vary by location.
Health experts encourage every resident age 12 and older to get fully vaccinated. More than 98 percent of covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the Eastern Region have occurred in people who are not fully vaccinated.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, there was a 90-day high of 62 new covid-19 cases reported on August 12 in Hampton, and 2,361 cases reported statewide. More cases have been reported in Hampton in the first 12 days of August than in the previous two months combined.