COVID-19 shortages force Va. health dept. to scale back vital records call center operation

Virginia Department of Health officials announced that their Office of Vital Records is scaling back call center operations that help provide people with critical records due to COVID-19 related staffing issues.

A statement from the office said that the shortages were caused, in part, by a number of COVID-19 infections among employees.



The office, which provides birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates, works with several other offices and health districts to provide critical records.

This decision will suspend the use of live operators on call centers for one week, beginning on Jan. 7.

Callers contacting the centers will be given information about accessing digital content through the office’s website.

Seth Austin, the office’s director, said that they recognized the inconvenience this change would cause but he hopes to restore full function as soon as possible.

“We have experienced absentee rates of between 20% and 30% for the past two weeks resulting from multiple COVID-19 cases that are causing people to miss work due to illness, exposure isolation or the need to seek testing,” Austin said.

The office said it planned to redirect staff to certifying vital records and processing applications.

Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact the department via the web. Those with applications can track their records requests and get answers to frequently asked questions on the office’s website.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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