By Terry Harris

At the end of the May 6 general meeting of the Surry County Board of Supervisors, Chairman Robert Elliott thanked Chief of Emergency Services Ray Phelps and his staff for “an excellent job providing the service to the citizens of Surry County during this pandemic” following the report by Phelps that Surry county is leading the Crater Health District in the vaccine rate with 45% of the community having received the first dose and over 35% now having completed their two-shot dosage.”

Phelps, who had elaborated on the rate of success in the county, shared that 45 percent of the community members have received their first dose and more than 35% have received complete dosage, said that he attributes it to “a lot of hard work from staff and a great volunteer effort from our community”, adding, “We’ve had a great outpouring of volunteers!”

“One of the things we’ve been able to do over the last couple of vaccination clinics that we’ve had,” he continued, “is that we also incorporated a food drive. Within those, we collected over 20 cases of food and took that to the Christian Outreach program out in Smithfield.  They serve Surry County as well as Isle of Wight County and it was a great success.”

Phelps reported that the county’s next vaccination clinic will be May 19 at Surry Parks and Recreation where they will be mainly doing second dose Moderna vaccine but will also offer the county’s first one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccinations.

“We’re winding down,” he continued, “and we’re discovering through making over 100 calls over the last few days and only booking 7 people for vaccinations that most people either have found their vaccinations or they just don’t want to get it.”

In addition, he said, “We’re currently working with Hampton University to offer Pfizer vaccines for our students and pushing to do this before school is out. So, our first – with the two-shot Pfizer vaccine which is good for 16 and up – we’re working with the school and we have roughly 50 students who will be eligible for that.  We’re offering that on May 20, and then on to the following dose Jun 10 before the summer break, so that is a real success for us”.

Phelps also reported that due to a lack of interest, the county is no longer doing COVID testing.

“So, if there are any citizens that would like to be tested,” he added, “we’re doing a regional test now they can go to the Pathways Nonprofit Community Development at 1200 Washington Street up in Petersburg.  We were finding that we would set up a test site here and only one or two would show up if any, so we have condensed that to the regional site up at Pathways.” 

He ended his report, saying, “Things are going really well, and I appreciate all the help and support that we have received from the board and the community and our volunteers, so thank you very much!”

“As Chairman of the Board,” responded Elliott, “and I’m sure the board would agree with me, we do applaud you and the efforts that your staff has given the citizens of Surry County.  Thank you very much, Sir.”