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Issue 59
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

I am excited to share, this morning, Governor Ralph Northam announced that starting Sunday, April 18, everyone age 16 and older in the Commonwealth of Virginia will be eligible for vaccination. That includes those residing within areas covered by our Prince William Health District. 

We are making strides in vaccination with 24% of Prince William County residents having had at least one dose. This is on par with our Northern Virginia counterparts. As we continue to have pop-up events like the one in an article below, I am certain our upward trajectory will continue.

As you can see below, this week I received my first vaccination! It was a great experience at the mass vaccination site in Woodbridge, from the administrator who checked me in to the vaccinator who gave me the shot. I was done in no time and feel very grateful for the experience. 

This Wheeler Report is arriving a little earlier than usual, as I know many of you will be participating this weekend in Easter services, family holiday traditions, and/or enjoying the last of your Spring Break. Please continue to keep yourself and others safe by wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing, and maintaining social distancing.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Vaccination Updates
Ensure You are in the System to be Vaccinated

If you haven't yet, pre-register for the vaccine online or by calling the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 1-877-829-4682 (1-877-VAX-IN-VA).

When it is your turn to be vaccinated, you will be contacted to make an appointment.

Occasionally, the Prince William Health District (PWHD) announces it has open vaccination appointments. This information is shared, along with details on how to participate, on the PWDD's Facebook page and Twitter account.
Pop-up Clinics Helping the Most Vulnerable
With COVID-19 vaccine supplies increasing, several Virginia sponsored pop-up vaccination events have been held in the Prince William Health District (Prince William County, the City of Manassas, and the City of Manassas Park). The clinics have focused on areas with vulnerable and disproportionately impacted populations. Appointments were made by pre-registration and plans are in the works for future similar events.
Chair Wheeler visited the pop-up clinics at First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries and Todos Supermarket in Woodbridge. Also there were Senator Jeremy McPike, Delegate Luke Torian, Senator George Barker, Governor Northam, Delegate Candi Mundon King, Potomac Supervisor Andrea Bailey and Woodbridge Supervisor Margaret Franklin. Special thanks to CASA in Action for their volunteer efforts at Todos.
When You are Fully Vaccinated
The Virginia Department of Health advises that people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If it has been less than 2 weeks since your 1-dose shot, or if you still need to get your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine, you are NOT fully protected.
After you’ve been Fully Vaccinated

Even if you have met the fully vaccinated criteria above, you should still keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more.

Additionally, Virginia state mitigation measures, effective April 1, must be followed (issue 58).
Don't Be Scammed
If you see a website offering to sell the COVID-19 vaccine, it is a fraud. Vaccines are never sold or exchanged online. The Virginia Department of Health will not ask for money for a vaccine or send it to you.
It is a scam if you:
  • Are asked to pay for the vaccine or are being asked to pay to get registered on a waitlist.
  • Get an email invitation for an appointment, but it demands money.
  • Get an advertisement by email, online, or text that will ship vaccines to you for payment.
Social Media Post Warning

Scam artists search for ways to get people to hand over their personal information. People are taking selfies with their vaccination cards and posting to social media as they are excited to get the vaccine. The problem is the vaccination card has personal information on it, like birth dates. This is an invitation for identity theft. It is great to share your support on vaccinations, just do not include your vaccine card.
If you think you are being scammed, call the Virginia Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section at 800-552-9963.
BOCS Upcoming Meeting
TuesdayApril 6
at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm
School Board Budget Presentation at 7:30 pm

For Public Comment Time options,
visit SpeakUp! Prince William.
Remote speakers must sign-up by
5:00 pm on Monday, April 5.
In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.
Upcoming Meetings

TuesdayApril 13
2:00 pm - Regular Meeting
7:30 pm - Budget Public Hearings and
Budget Recap Presentation

TuesdayApril 20
7:30 pm - Budget Markup

TuesdayApril 27
7:30 pm - Budget Adoption
Conversation with the Chair
If You Missed it
This week, Chair Wheeler had a great Women's History Month Conversation with PWC's first BOCS Chair-At-Large, Kathleen Seefeldt. Their rich discussion included topics like the PW Parkway, Route 28 By-Pass, Innovation Park, Hylton Performing Arts Center, and more! Viewers will also see an interesting piece of mail Ms. Seefeldt received at the beginning of her service on the Board.
Be Part of the Process
Help Shape the County's Brand
PWC Government is encouraging residents, businesses, and community stakeholders to share their feedback and ideas on how the County can best adapt, differentiate, and expand economic growth in the new normal.

You can shape the County's brand identity by participating in upcoming online community engagement sessions below. These sessions will to help craft important messaging blueprints for County government staff and leadership as we move through the pandemic.
Register for a live community session hosted from 7:00 to 8:30 pm on the following dates:

Wednesday, April 21 - Register for Countywide session with Chair-At-Large Ann Wheeler

District Specific Sessions
  • Monday, April 5 - Register for Occoquan District session with Supervisor Kenny Boddye
  • Wednesday, April 7 - Register for Coles District session with Supervisor Yesli Vega
  • Thursday, April 8 - Register for Gainesville District session with Supervisor Pete Candland
  • Monday, April 12 - Register for Brentsville District session with Supervisor Jeanine Lawson
  • Wednesday, April 14 -Register for Neabsco District session with Supervisor Victor Angry
  • Thursday, April 15 - Register for Potomac District session with Supervisor Andrea Bailey
  • Monday, April 19 - Register for Woodbridge District session with Supervisor Margaret Franklin

Each session will include an introduction from the staff at the Department of Economic Development, in partnership with the Office of Tourism. Session facilitation will be conducted by Streetsense Consulting, LLC, a strategy and design firm.
County News
Important State and National Recognition
The Wheeler Report has featured Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and Cemetery previously (issues 52 and 33). Now its significance is being recognized well beyond our County. Last December, the Virginia Board of Historic Resources listed the church and cemetery in the Virginia Landmarks Register, the Commonwealth’s official list of places of historic, architectural, archaeological, and/or cultural significance. As of February, it is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Quite an honor and highlights its national significance!
PWC in the Top 19 in Virginia
According to the annual County Health Rankings, released this week by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, PWC is one of the healthiest counties in Virginia, ranking #10 out of 133 counties. Many factors influence how well and how long we live, from access to affordable housing or well-paying jobs to opportunities for a good education for our kids. The County Health Rankings model shows how these factors work together. The data used to calculate the 2021 rankings are from 2019 and earlier and do not yet reflect the impact of the pandemic or programs health districts have implemented in the last year to improve health in their communities.
Share Your Input on I-95 and Route 123
The Virginia Department of Transportation is asking PWC drivers for feedback on potential interchange improvements being evaluated for the I-95 and Route 123 interchange as previously identified in the I-95 Corridor Improvement Plan (issue 57). The study is assessing reconfiguring ramps, extending lanes, modifying and relocating traffic signals, access management, and pedestrian, bicycle, and transit enhancements to improve traffic flow and safety.

In lieu of an in-person presentation, VDOT is inviting residents and travelers to learn more and share feedback from home. You can watch the presentation below to learn about the alternatives being considered for the interchange. Visit the VDOT website to learn more details about the project.
Provide your input by April 19 using one of the following methods:

Stay Young at Heart Virtually
With the temporary closure of the senior centers and other facilities, it’s important that the senior population still has access to wellness information and programs. The PWC Area Agency on Aging has compiled information to help virtually inform seniors on how to stay healthy. The agency has great live events for various activities that include things like exercise, bingo, yoga, painting, and more! Learn about all the virtual offerings here.
Higher Education News
This week, Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation creating the Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) program, which makes tuition-free community college available to low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields. The G3 program includes $36 million to cover tuition, fees, and books and provide wraparound support for eligible students at the Commonwealth’s two-year public institutions. The G3 program is one of the first in the nation to provide wraparound financial assistance to help students at the lowest income levels with expenses such as food, transportation, and childcare. For more information, individuals are encouraged to reach out to their local community college.
“Many Virginians are struggling to secure good jobs and support their families despite the Commonwealth’s continuing recovery. The G3 program is a powerful tool to address the skills gap we are seeing in key industries and help businesses find the right talent to fill job openings, expanding both our workforce and our economy.”
Megan Healy
Chief Workforce Development Advisor
Regional Transportation News
State Announcement has Significant Regional Impact
This week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg joined Governor Ralph Northam as he announced the Commonwealth had finalized agreements with Amtrak, CSX, and Virginia Railway Express. The result is a $3.7 billion investment to expand and improve passenger, commuter, and freight rail in Virginia, as well as the construction of a new Long Bridge. The existing Long Bridge is the only railroad bridge connecting Virginia to D.C. and is one of the most significant rail bottlenecks along the entire East Coast.

Additionally, the partnership will double Virginia-supported Amtrak trains providing nearly hourly service, increase VRE commuter service by 60 percent, and lay the foundation for a Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor. More details can be found in the full press release.
State News
Another First in the Nation by Virginia
Governor Ralph Northam this week announced that he approved the landmark Voting Rights Act of Virginia, providing comprehensive protections against voter suppression, discrimination, or intimidation. The Act prohibits any state or local policy from denying or restricting the right to vote of any Virginian simply because of their race, color, or membership in a language minority group. Virginia is the first state in the nation to enact its own version of a voting rights act.
More New Laws
Several key new laws were shared in issues 57 and 58. Below are a few new additional bills that have been signed into law. The full list of legislation signed by Governor Northam is available here.

House Bill 1889 extends eviction protections for renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic through July 1, 2022.

House Bill 1980 establishes the “Enslaved Ancestors College Access Scholarship and Memorial Program” to support the families of enslaved individuals who labored at Virginia colleges.

House Bill 2081 prohibits the possession of firearms within 40 feet of a polling place or electoral board meeting to certify the results of an election.

House Bill 2132, sponsored by Delegate Danica Roem, eliminates the outdated and discriminatory “gay panic” defense.

House Bill 2137, sponsored by Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, requires employers to provide paid sick leave to home health workers. This new law also prohibits employers from taking certain retaliatory actions against employees who use leave.

House Bill 2161 and Senate Bill 1410, sponsored by Senator John Bell, prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and housing on the basis of a person’s military status.

House Bill 2332 establishes the Commonwealth Health Reinsurance Program to expand access to health care and lower insurance premiums.
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.