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James Wood Volleyball wins first Class 4 State Title in Program History

James Wood team photo after defeating Grafton for the VHSL Class 4 girls volleyball state title

on November 19, 2022 at VCU Siegel Center.

BY: JOSH KIRBY

TALKWINCHESTER.COM

The James Wood Colonels Volleyball team defeated Grafton out of Yorktown, Virginia to capture the first title in program history this past Saturday at The Siegel Center in Richmond Virginia.

In doing so, they join the 1970 Colonels football team along with the 2002 boys cross country team as state title winners in James Wood High School history.

Grafton has appeared in the past five class four state title matches, all falling as the runner up.

When asked about the preparation going into this match, “We tried to keep as much of our normal routine the same” said Adrienne Patrick in her third season as head coach for the Colonels as they swept Grafton 25-19, 25-19, 25-16.

Freshman Kennedy Spaid had a game high 15 kills and Brenna Corbin had 12 kills for the Colonels, Spaid also contributed with three aces in a row for a game total of 11 and also led in digs for James Wood; “Their ability to play volleyball at a high level is tremendous” Patrick added about Spaid and Corbin.

Other key contributors for the Colonels included Ashlynn Spence with six kills in the middle and Ella Kelchner had four blocks, The Colonels play their best as a “full family unit, high energy” Patrick added when talking about Spence and her six kills in the match along with various points throughout the match.

The Colonels had a perfect regular season of 20 wins and no losses after last season finishing 17-7 and losing to Loudoun County a ten time state champion volleyball program won the past five state championship matches.

This season started with the Colonels hosting Loudoun County and beating them in three sets “it set the bar high for us” when coach Patrick was discussing the regular season for James Wood after the victory against Loudoun County, the Colonels also defeated Williamsport who was the Maryland state champion last season and North Hagerstown who claimed the Maryland state championship this season along with defeating crosstown rival Millbrook in the regular season “those big wins against really tough teams were able to prepare us for Saturday” Patrick said.

VHSL Class 4 Tournament Bracket.

Throughout the regular season, the team had a motto “Make History” a board was made with that phrase on it that the team took with them to every game, “the group of girls I was able to have on the team this year, they had what it took to make history, and they did” Patrick mentioned when asked about the team motto.

The Colonels Volleyball team had numerous All-District and All-Region awards, listed below:

Head Coach Adrienne Patrick was awarded both Northwestern District and Region 4C Coach of the Year.

The Northwestern All-District first team included: Carsyn Vincent, Kennedy Spaid, Brenna Corbin and Paige Ahakuelo

Northwestern All-District second team: Lexi Taylor and Hannah McCullough

All-Region 4C First Team: Brenna Corbin and Kennedy Spaid

All-Region 4C Second Team: Carsyn Vincent and Paige Ahakuelo.

 

The entire interview with James Wood Girls Volleyball Head Coach Adrienne Patrick and Josh Kirby of News Talk 1400 is available here:

 

Live. Love. Bloom. announced as theme for 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

STAFF REPORTS

TALKWINCHESTER.COM

Winchester, VA – The unveiling of the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® annual theme and its unique artwork represents the official kickoff of the Festival every November. The theme announcement is the foundation for building momentum through the unveiling of newsworthy events and special guest announcements throughout the winter and early-spring months that lead up to the Festival which takes place next year on April 28 to May 7, 2023.

Sharen Gromling, Festival President states, “The theme’s inspirational message consists of three simple, short verbs that reflects the love our community has for this nearly 100-year tradition of celebrating the Bloom. It is an easy to remember, simplistic theme that is filled with energy and action – Live. Love. Bloom. In short, the theme inspires us to Live Fully, Love Deeply, and Bloom Forever.”

The 96th theme is once again designed by the Festival’s talented graphic designer, Erik Zimmerman, of White Spider, Inc. In describing the theme design and inspiration, Zimmerman states, “I wanted the artwork for the 96th theme to be as simple and as powerful as the title “Live. Love. Bloom”. A clean and bold design, incorporating traditional colors along with a splash of something different to provide complimentary impact and Festival energy. Typically, the logo is a simpler version of the program cover, however this year the logo came first, and they mimic each other almost identically with a strong design. The program cover only shows a slight modification to the logo art, along with a halftone blossoms background for a little depth and flare.”

Event ticket sales will be announced at a later date. Tickets can be purchased in person at Festival Headquarters located at 135 North Cameron Street, by phone at (540) 662-3863 or through our online ticketing system. Make plans now to join us for the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® on April 28 through May 7, 2023.

Local Businessman Acquiring WINC-FM

 

Local Winchester, Virginia businessman Darrin Jones, is acquiring heritage radio station WINC-FM from Metro Radio, Inc.

Jones is quite familiar with WINC-FM; the opportunity to acquire WINC-FM was presented by News Talk 1400, WZFC-AM (formerly WINC-AM) owner Todd Bartley.

According to Jones, “Todd brought a great business plan and model of success for WINC-FM to my attention and it was a very easy decision to make.”

Jones added, “with what Todd has accomplished with the relocation of the AM 1400 tower and studio in less than a year; I have all the confidence in his ability to lead our efforts going forward.”

When contacted for this story, Former WINC-FM morning host Barry Lee said, “welcome home”.

Bruce Simel, former market manager for Centennial Broadcasting offered his assessment of the acquisition;

“I am very excited that Todd and his team are buying WINC-FM.  I’ve known Todd for more than 20 years and he is a specialist at leading community radio stations.  This is great news for local businesses and anyone that loves Winchester and the surrounding area.”

He added, “WINC has and always will, stand for Winchester.”

The acquisition is being filed with the Federal Communications Commission; regulatory approval of the transaction is anticipated by the end of the year.

Additional acquisitions will be announced in the near future.

This is a developing story on TalkWinchester.com.

Carter Myers Automotive launches “Drive More Days” to encourage used vehicle purchases amidst economic and supply chain difficulties

 

Carter Myers Automotive recently launched a “Drive More Days” event to encourage used vehicle purchases amidst economic and supply chain difficulties.

It is extremely difficult to get a new car these days. Supply chain issues in automotive manufacturing coupled with COVID related labor shortages have significantly reduced dealer inventories of new cars. These factors increase both the price of a new vehicle and the lead time necessary to have one delivered to a potential customer. Due to these circumstances, a six-month wait for a new vehicle can be common. Liza Borches, the President and CEO of Carter Myers Automotive (CMA), wants to do something about this.

“I have absolutely no ability to increase the supply of microchips for automotive manufacturing,” said Borches, “but for those faced with long wait times and paying over sticker on new cars, I can make ‘nearly new’ vehicles a much more attractive and economical option.”

Borches and CMA are doing this is by launching “Drive More Days,” beginning August 8 and running through September 5, 2022. CMA already is committed to never charging over sticker for their new vehicles, but now, during this special “Drive More Days” event, customers will also receive a $500 gas card with the purchase of a used vehicle.

“Out-of-control inflation has caused gas prices to skyrocket nationwide. Providing customers with a gas card helps to alleviate some of the stress of filling up their tanks so they can focus on enjoying their vehicle purchase.” said Borches. “We hope this can remind customers for a few months that we wanted to help in some way.”

As the only employee-owned dealerships in the Mid-Atlantic, CMA’s 20 locations throughout Virginia and West Virginia have thousands of new and used vehicles in stock to ensure customers can find exactly what they need.

In the Winchester area, CMA’s Subaru of Winchester, CMA’s Honda of Winchester and CMA’s Hyundai of Winchester are participating in “Drive More Days”.

Similarly, CMA’s Toyota of Martinsburg and CMA’s Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram in nearby Martinsburg, West Virginia.

In order to make the buying experience as stress-free as possible, CMA will even bring the car to the customer’s home for them to take a test drive and complete all paperwork without having to visit the dealership.

All purchases are also backed by CMA’s Love it or Leave it Promise, a 3-day return or 30-day exchange policy on used vehicle purchases.

Through these challenging times, CMA also calls special attention to honoring local heroes who have never slowed down and hopes that the “Drive More Days” event will help all our heroes to keep moving forward. CMA is anticipating a successful “Drive More Days” event that will help drive the lives of its communities forward, one car at a time.

ON BACKGROUND

Carter Myers Automotive is a privately-owned retail auto group based out of Charlottesville, VA. They were founded in 1924 as Petersburg Motor Company and today, nearly 100 years later, CMA has expanded to have locations in Staunton, Charlottesville, Richmond, Winchester, Williamsburg, and Martinsburg, West Virginia. CMA also has an Employee Stock Ownership Plan which allows employees to own part (over 26%) of the company.

This empowers CMA’s employees to do their very best to assist customers, thus their motto “Owners Just Care More.”

This is a developing story on TalkWinchester.com.

Valley Health System Names New Senior Vice President and Winchester Medical Center President

Winchester, VA, July 12, 2022 – Valley Health System President and CEO Mark Nantz announced this morning that Tonya Smith, Pharm D, MBA, MHA, will be the system’s next Senior Vice President of Acute Care and President of Winchester Medical Center, effective September 12, 2022. Smith’s selection follows a nationwide search and an extensive interview process involving more than two dozen administrative and medical staff leaders.

“I am pleased to welcome Tonya back to our team,” Nantz said. “She is an accomplished and visionary healthcare executive with extensive healthcare experience ranging from clinical pharmacist to hospital president. Throughout her career, Tonya has had success in developing enduring and trusting relationships with physicians, leading cultural transformation resulting in high quality, safety, patient experience and employee engagement, and increasing organizational effectiveness and system integration.”

Smith served in leadership roles at Valley Health and Winchester Medical Center earlier in her career, including Director of Pharmacy, Corporate Director of Pharmacy and Vice President of Operations and Ancillary Services. Among her accomplishments at Valley Health was her leadership in the system-wide implementation of Epic, the electronic medical record, in 2014.

Smith left Valley Health in 2015 to become President of Munson Healthcare’s Cadillac Hospital in Cadillac, Michigan, and soon thereafter became President of Munson’s five other community hospitals. In 2020, she assumed additional responsibility for leading Munson’s system integration efforts.

Smith is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where she attained her Doctorate in Pharmacy. She subsequently earned a Master’s in Health Administration and a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Maryland University College. An engaged community leader, she volunteers in non-profit and civic leadership capacities, including the United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary.

A native of Jefferson County, West Virginia, Smith looks forward to moving back to the area. “This move is more than professional, it is deeply personal,” she said. “Not only did I serve as the Vice President of Operations at Winchester Medical Center for six years, it is the hospital where all four of my children were born. We will be moving back to the community where my husband and I, as high school sweethearts, grew up, got married, and started our family. I am honored and excited to serve a health system and community that have meant so much to me and my family.”

Gov. Youngkin Announces Commonwealth’s Unemployment Rate Held Steady at 3.3% in January

Staff Reports

TalkWinchester.com

RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that Virginia’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.3 percent in January, while total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 4,900 jobs. The Commonwealth’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.3 percent is 1.5 percentage points below the rate from a year ago. The labor force increased by 16,461 to 4,277,757, as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 1,892 to 139,261. The number of employed residents rose by 18,353 to 4,138,496. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which rose from 3.9 to 4.0 percent in January.

The Commonwealth’s labor force participation rate increased slightly by 0.3 percentage points to 62.9 percent in January. The labor force participation rate measures the proportion of the civilian population age 16 and older that is employed or actively looking for work.

“My administration is committed to boosting economic growth, creating jobs, attracting businesses, and lowering the cost of living for all Virginians,” said Governor Youngkin. “One of our top priorities is ensuring that Virginia’s economy serves and benefits Virginia’s workers, businesses, and families alike.”

“The economic growth that we have seen in recent months slowed slightly in January, but that’s no cause for worry,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Our unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, and our labor force participation rate rose to 62.9% last month. We’re confident that our business and worker friendly policies will continue to spur economic growth throughout the Commonwealth in the months ahead.”

“We see plenty of good signs for Virginia’s economy”, said Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. “In recent months we have seen employers across the Commonwealth, and the nation, struggle to find and retain quality workers. We must work together with our workforce development partners to ensure that workers in Virginia have access to training and resources necessary to fill these positions.”

From January 2021 to January 2022, the VEC estimates that establishments in Virginia gained 89,800 jobs, an increase of 2.3%. In January, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 83,400 jobs, while employment in the public sector gained 6,400 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, eight of eleven major industry divisions experienced employment increases while three saw employment decrease. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 46,200 jobs (+13.7%). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 17,700 jobs (+2.3%). Other job gains occurred in trade and transportation (+10,700 jobs), education and health services (+7,800 jobs), and government (+6,400 jobs). Within government, only local government saw an increase in employment (+11,100 jobs) while state (-4,500 jobs) and federal government (-200 jobs) both lost jobs over the year. The largest job decrease over the year occurred in manufacturing which lost 2,800 jobs (-1.2%). Other employment losses occurred in construction (-1,700 jobs) and finance (-1,600 jobs).

For more details, visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at vec.virginia.gov.

GOV. YOUNGKIN ANNOUNCES I-495 EXPRESS LANES NORTHERN EXTENSION CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN

Staff Reports

TalkWinchester.com

Virginia officials and project partners mark milestone at groundbreaking ceremony; new express lanes extension to bring congestion relief, new transit options, and economic benefits

TYSONS, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced the start of construction on a two-and-a-half-mile extension of the express lanes on Interstate 495 between the Dulles Corridor and the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Fairfax County. Governor Youngkin was joined by Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller, state and local officials, and Transurban—Virginia’s project partner and operator of the 495, 95 and 395 Express Lanes—at a groundbreaking ceremony to officially kick off construction on the 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project. The latest extension of Virginia’s 90+-mile express lanes network planned for Northern Virginia, the project will provide new travel options, reduce congestion, support new transit services, and minimize cut-through traffic in residential communities.

“The 495 NEXT project represents the Commonwealth’s commitment to improving regional infrastructure and traffic flow for Virginians, our visitors, and the broader business community,” said Governor Youngkin. “Together with our partners from the public and private sectors, we are prioritizing investments in Virginia’s transportation network to keep people, goods, and our economy moving.”
“495 NEXT is an important new link in the safe and modern transportation system we’re working hard to build throughout the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller. “This extension to our express lanes system will provide needed relief for a highly congested portion of the Capital Beltway, providing major benefits to the greater region. This regional approach is crucial to solving our transportation challenges, and through close coordination with our partners in Maryland, Virginia’s 495 NEXT project will be built to connect and complement future improvements in the Capital Region.”
The 495 NEXT project will add two new dynamically tolled express lanes in each direction, including new connections at the Dulles Corridor and the George Washington Memorial Parkway interchanges. The project will deliver faster and more reliable travel options, cutting travel times for express lanes users by up to 50 percent, including for HOV 3+ and transit riders who can travel the lanes toll-free. It will also improve safety in the corridor by reducing crashes by an estimated 20 percent and limiting cut-through traffic in residential communities. The project is estimated to generate more than $880 million in economic benefits and 6,300 jobs.
The 495 NEXT project includes additional benefits and features such as:
  • Replacement or rehabilitation of seven bridges
  • Replacement of nine existing noise walls and the construction of one new noise wall
  • Environmental commitments to improve streams and manage stormwater
  • Four miles of new bicycle and pedestrian connections
  • Funding for new American Legion Bridge bus service connecting Virginia and Maryland
“Despite unprecedented times and a global pandemic, VDOT and its partners have remained focused on advancing this critically important public-private partnership project for the region and the Commonwealth,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “We are proud of the hard work and collaboration that made today’s milestone possible, and look forward to getting to work on delivering these important improvements.”
“495 NEXT expands the benefits of faster and more reliable travel to more drivers in the region,” added Pierce Coffee, President of Transurban North America. “We know at Transurban that regional mobility is strengthened when the public and private sectors come together and we are seeing another strong example of that marking today’s milestone.”
The $660 million 495 NEXT project is a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Transurban. Financial close was reached on February 28, 2022 with Transurban securing financing for the project composed of a mix of equity and debt, including loans through the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.
In October 2021, VDOT and Transurban executed a comprehensive agreement for the 495 NEXT project, and Transurban selected Lane Construction as the design-build contractor for the project after a competitive selection process. In July 2021, VDOT completed more than three years of environmental study and evaluation for the project by receiving a “Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI),” from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Park Service (NPS). Additionally, VDOT received approval from FHWA on the project’s interchange justification report, a traffic study that includes analysis of traffic impacts and benefits associated with the 495 NEXT project.
In the coming months, the 495 NEXT team will continue to refine and finalize the project’s design details, while crews continue early exploratory field activities such as surveying and begin to mobilize for full construction activities, which could start as early as this summer. The partners continue to work with communities and travelers to reduce impacts both on and off the road, and are planning to have a public information meeting (with both virtual and in-person formats) in spring 2022, before full construction activities begin. The new extended lanes are scheduled to open in 2025.
Click here to learn more about 495 NEXT. To learn more about the project and 495 Express Lanes benefits, visit ExpressLanes.com.

Terry Bradshaw to serve as Grand Marshal for the 95th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

STAFF REPORTS

TALKWINCHESTER.COM

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival ® President, Tommy Price, is delighted to announce that Terry Bradshaw, NFL Hall of Famer and four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers will serve as Grand Marshal of the 2022 glofiber Grand Feature Parade.

Terry Bradshaw is widely acknowledged as today’s preeminent NFL studio personality, serving in a dual role as co-host of FOX NFL SUNDAY and THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL pre-game analyst.  Bradshaw has been with FOX NFL SUNDAY since its inception in 1994, and his work on America’s most-watched NFL pregame show for 26 consecutive years earned him three Sports Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Sports Personality/Analyst category in 1999, 2001 and 2008. Super Bowl LIV was Bradshaw’s ninth championship assignment for FOX, his 12th as a broadcaster and his 16th overall, including as a player. In 2018, Bradshaw took on the new responsibility of hosting THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL’s pregame and halftime shows live from New York with Howie Long and Michael Strahan. FOX NFL SUNDAY was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcasting Hall of Fame in April 2019.

Bradshaw joined CBS Sports as an NFL game analyst in 1984 and became a studio analyst on “The NFL Today” for four seasons beginning in 1990. During his last two years as an NFL game analyst for CBS, Bradshaw served in an acclaimed partnership with play-by-play announcer Verne Lundquist. Prior to his fulltime work for the network, he served as a guest commentator for CBS Sports’ NFC postseason broadcasts (1980-82). He appeared as a contributor on “Super Bowl Today” programs for Super Bowls XVI, XXIV and XXVI.

The first player chosen in the 1970 draft, Bradshaw became one of the most prolific quarterbacks in history, leading the Steelers to four Super Bowl championships, six AFC championship games and eight straight playoff appearances (1972-79). Bradshaw, a two-time Super Bowl MVP (Super Bowls XIII and XIV), was a four-time All-Pro. He retired just prior to the 1984 season.

Bradshaw was at his best in postseason games. Under his direction, Pittsburgh enjoyed Super Bowl championships in 1975 (16-6 over Minnesota), 1976 (21-17 over Dallas), 1979 (35-31 over Dallas) and 1980 (31-19 over the Los Angeles Rams), making him a perfect 4-0 in Super Bowl play. In those four outstanding performances, he completed 49 of 84 attempted passes—nine for touchdowns—for 932 yards (third all-time), with just three interceptions. He still holds the Super Bowl passing record for average gain in a game (14.71 yards in Super Bowl XIV vs. Los Angeles, in which he completed 21 passes for 309 yards). Bradshaw was named NFL Player of the Year by the Associated Press, “Sport Magazine” and the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia following the 1978 season. In 1979, he shared Sports Illustrated’s Man of the Year Award with Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1989, Bradshaw was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. In July 1997, he returned to Canton, Ohio, to serve as presenter when the late Mike Webster, his center on the Steelers’ four Super Bowl title teams, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. In April 2001, Bradshaw added yet another prestigious distinction when he was presented with the NFL Alumni’s Career Achievement Award.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Bradshaw has appeared in several feature films, including the romantic comedy “Failure to Launch,” “Hooper” and “Cannonball Run,” and guest-starred on the television series “Las Vegas,” “Married with Children,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Eight Simple Rules,” “Evening Shade,” “Hardcastle and McCormick,” THE SIMPSONS and THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY, JR. on FOX.

Bradshaw has written five books: his acclaimed autobiographies, “Keep it Simple” (2002), “It’s Only A Game” (2001) and “Looking Deep” (1989); “Terry Bradshaw: Man of Steel” (1979); and “No Easy Game” (1973). He is also the star of his own reality show, “The Bradshaw Bunch” which is premiering in fall of 2020 on E! Entertainment.

He was named 1999’s Man of the Year by the Big Sisters of America and 2000’s Father of the Year by the National Father’s Day Council, and in 2002 he became the NFL’s first player to receive a Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Bradshaw currently lives in Oklahoma, with his wife, Tammy. He has three daughters, Rachel, Lacey and Erin.

INSIDERS NOTE:    Terry Bradshaw was scheduled to be Grand Marshal at the 2020 Apple Blossom Festival and recommitted for 2021.  The Grand Feature Parades were cancelled both years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Best chances for the public to see Terry Bradshaw:  He will make an appearance at Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast on Saturday, April 30 at 8:00 am at the Tolley Dental Zone at the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center on the campus of Shenandoah University.  He will be leading the glofiber Grand Feature Parade at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.    Ticketing and Festival information are available at www.thebloom.com.

Valley Health Distributes COVID Test Kits to Community Partners in Region

Valley Health has received more than 150,000 COVID-19 rapid test kits, requested from the US Dept of Health & Human Services (HRSA) through our Rural Health Clinics. We are distributing to our hospitals, RHCs, and community partners throughout the region to share with staff and those they serve.

Valley Health Distributes COVID Test Kits to Community Partners in Region

Federal government provides free at-home kits to rural health centers and larger community

Winchester, VA, January 21, 2022 – At a time of high community COVID-19 positivity, Valley Health is distributing more than 150,000 free COVID-19 test kits throughout its rural service area, courtesy of the federal government.

The 2-test kits began arriving last week through a Biden Administration initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in an effort to address the needs of residents in medically underserved areas.

Valley Health operates 19 federally-designated Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland to ease a shortage of primary medical care. HRSA’s program provides test kits through its network of RHCs to clinic staff, patients and surrounding communities.

In addition to offering test kits to RHC staff and patients, Valley Health is distributing them to other physician practices and dozens of community agencies and organizations for use by their staff and those they serve. The distribution includes law enforcement, fire and rescue, free medical clinics, health departments, churches, and detention centers, shelters and other congregate settings.

“We are entering our third year of caring for patients with COVID-19 and trying to protect the community from the ravages of this virus,” said Jeffrey Feit, MD, Valley Health Population and Community Health Officer. “The current Omicron variant is particularly contagious and there’s an overwhelming demand for testing. We are thrilled to be the conduit for these do-it-yourself test kits from the U.S. government to help our community take decisive steps if they are positive: isolate and protect others, and seek care if they have significant symptoms or underlying health conditions.” 

Each test kit box contains two tests with clear instructions and the nasal swab and reagent needed to obtain fast, easy-to-understand results in 10 minutes. It is recommended that individuals use the second test over two to three days, with at least 24 hours and no more than 36 hours between tests.

Jason Craig, EdD, Valley Health Director of Community Health, has delivered thousands of test kits this week and learned first-hand how vital the rapid tests are for community agencies struggling to make safe decisions during the pandemic. The Salvation Army’s residential program manager, Deborah Moody, expressed her appreciation and offered insight on the value of the rapid tests to an organization trying to serve as many individuals as possible.

“We are currently running at half capacity because we were unable to know if someone was coming in with COVID and needed to isolate them for five days before releasing them into the population,” Moody explained. “This will allow us a shorter isolation time. Being the winter, it is crucial that we offer services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Thank you for helping to make that happen.” 

Valley Health’s six hospitals are working on a plan to give kits to patients on discharge from the hospital, Craig added. ”We are putting them in the hands of many local family medicine and specialty care practices to help distribute throughout our communities. We want to be a good community partner and are eager to put the test kits we requested from HRSA to use for the health and safety of our friends and neighbors.” Valley Health is also asking employees to take two kits for their family and give two to a friend or neighbor “so that we can extend into the communities where our employees live,” Craig said.

Craig suggested that anyone unable to find a COVID-19 test kit through one of the practices or community organizations on Valley Health’s initial distribution effort should submit a request to receive by mail from www.covidtests.gov.

For more on Valley Health COVID-19 services and visitation guidelines, visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/coronavirus.  For information on testing and return to work guidance, visit www.cdc.gov.

NFL Super Wildcard Weekend Concludes Monday on News Talk 1400. 

NFL Super Wildcard Weekend Concludes Monday on News Talk 1400 at 7:30 p.m. when the Rams host the Cardinals.