I hope you and your families are continuing to stay safe and healthy as summer ends. In some ways, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges and tragedy. But, I have seen, and I hope you have seen as well, many reasons for hope. Neighbors have stepped up to help the most vulnerable among us by delivering groceries and providing comfort virtually or at a distance. Small businesses have innovated and adapted to our new world. I hope that we can continue this spirit of kindness and compassion beyond this crisis and continue to make our community an amazing place to live.
In this newsletter, I have some updates on the special session, the new COVIDWISE app, DMV appointments, and the Rebuild VA grant fund for small businesses and non-profits. I also am including information from INOVA, Collect for Kids, and resources for domestic violence and mental health crises. I encourage you to use these resources them if you need them.
We are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in Virginia and across the country, so please continue to practice the habits that we have become accustomed to over the past months. Wear your face covering when going out, maintain social distancing, and practice rigorous handwashing and personal hygiene. We have done a great job with these measures so far, and if we continue, we can continue to see COVID-19 cases fall in our communities.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to my office at DelKDelaney@house.virginia.gov. My staff and I are here to help connect you to the appropriate resources or state agency as we continue to navigate this pandemic.
As you may know, the General Assembly is heading back to Richmond this coming Tuesday, August 18th. The House of Delegates will be convening in the VCU Siegel Center at 12pm. As an interesting piece of history, this will be only the third time the House has not convened in the House Chamber in the Capitol - the first time was in 1849 during a cholera epidemic, and the second was this past April during our reconvene session, when we met outside in the Capitol grounds.
During the special session, the General Assembly will be addressing the budget, police and criminal justice reforms, and other COVID-19 relief measures. You can keep track of all the legislation introduced so far here.
As we continue to examine and rework the state's budget, I have heard from many constituents about their priorities of programs to fund, or re-allot funding for. Some of those include mental health care for our kids, environmental protections, our elections process, and our K-12 schools. I am also interested in seeing funding re-alloted for domestic violence and sexual assault services, given the sharp rise we have seen in cases since the pandemic began.
I will continue to keep you posted on the budget and other legislation as they move through the legislative process. As always, the public can live stream all General Assembly activities here.
Virginia has become the first state in the country to implement a free COVID-19 exposure notification app using the Apple/Google Bluetooth Low Energy framework. The app is called COVIDWISE and was developed in an unprecedented, public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Health, Google, and Apple. Simply put, COVIDWISE allows you to anonymously notify others if you test positive for COVID-19, and notifies you if you’ve likely been exposed to the virus based on positive reports from other app users.
This effort is an example of Virginia leading the way forward during the most pressing pandemic of our lifetimes, with the goal of reducing the risk for your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues and helping Virginia stay safe and healthy.
But it only works if we all use it. Here’s how you can help:
Visit the App Store or Google Play Store and download COVIDWISE
Share information about COVIDWISE with your friends, colleagues, and family members
Post & share your support on social media
Over the past few weeks, we have seen DMV service centers reopen slowly across the Commonwealth. As you may know, the DMV is operating by appointment only to ensure little to no wait times. The DMV has also introduced enhanced sanitation measures to ensure the safety of Virginians during this difficult time.
You can make an appointment online here. Keep in mind that many common DMV transactions can be completed online. If you are having trouble getting an appointment before the expiration of your license, please reach out to my office at DelKDelaney@house.virginia.gov, and we will do everything we can to help.
Applications for the Rebuild VA small business and non-profit grant program are now open! As I mentioned in my last newsletter, this grant program was funded with $70 million of CARES Act funding, and will provide up to $10,000 to small businesses and non-profits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about Rebuild VA and register for an informational webinar at this link, or view the one-pager below. The website provides useful information on how to apply, who is eligible, as well as FAQs in several languages.
Important Information from INOVA:
All Inova hospitals and care sites are open and serving patients. The most up to date information on Inova’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including what to do if you feel sick, how to be tested if appropriate, visitor information, and other information to plan for your care can be found at inova.org/covid19.
It is safe to visit an Inova hospital, emergency room, or other care site. For more information on what Inova is doing to ensure the safety of our care sites, visit the Safe@Inova website.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, visit the ER or call 911 immediately. Delaying treatment can be a dangerous decision, especially when it comes to signs of a heart attack or stroke.
Yes, testing is available across Inova Health System based on clinical criteria outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health. Before visiting any Inova care site for testing, contact your regular physician for evaluation. For assistance with recommendations, to arrange for a physician appointment, or if you do not have a primary care physician, call 1-855-IMG-DOCS.
Inova has established Respiratory Illness Clinics to evaluate all patients with respiratory illness symptoms. These clinics are also able to collect samples via physician ordered and coordinated vehicle-side appointments for COVID-19 testing. All Inova Hospital and HealthPlex emergency rooms are a resource for those individuals who are experiencing clinical symptoms of COVID-19 that include cough, fever and shortness of breath.
COVID-19 Services for Medicaid/Uninsured Patients – InovaCares Clinics for Families
All members of Northern Virginia’s culturally diverse communities are welcome at the Inova Cares Clinic for Families (ICCF). ICCF provides primary care services for patients who qualify for Medicaid, FAMIS or Inova’s Financial Assistance Program, and the uninsured. Inova assists patients who qualify for Medicaid with the enrollment application process. Financial assistance/charity care options will be explored for patients who do not qualify for Medicaid
Every two seconds, someone in America needs blood. It is safe to donate - we are taking extra precautions at all times to maintain a clean and safe environment for our donors. Your donation will save a life – for more information on how to make an appointment, visit http://www.inovablood.org.
If you had a positive COVID-19 test and you have been symptom-free for 14 days, you may be able to be a convalescent plasma donor. Your plasma should be rich in immunoglobulins that may be helpful to patients who are actively fighting a COVID-19 infection. To learn more about convalescent Plasma, visit www.inovablood.org/covid19plasma.
Every year, the Foundation for FCPS launches their "Collect for Kids" campaign to collect supplies and resources for kids in need in our community. This year, due to COVID-19, all collections will have to be virtual. As kids and their parents prepare for the next virtual or hybrid school year, there are still so many families who are struggling to provide their kids with the basic necessities for the classroom.