Delaney Dispatch (Coronavirus Update - April 24, 2020)
Submitted by Tess Bettller on April 25, 2020
April 24, 2020
i hope everyone has had a safe and healthy week! In this newsletter, I'll be discussing some highlights from our reconvene session in Richmond, as well as some updates on elective surgeries, DMV and other vehicle services, and testing.
This situation is still urgent and ongoing. I understand how stressful this is for all of us, and I want to remind you that my office is here to help answer your questions, take concerns to the appropriate agencies, and help you however we can. You can email my office at DelKDelaney@house.virginia.gov. We will do our best to get you and your family the answers or support that you need.
Finally, I want to say again that although we are living in trying and uncertain times, we will get through this together. As you go about your week, please remember that social distancing is crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19. If we all work together, we will come out of this stronger than we were before.
Useful Links and Resources:
With the amount of news coming out at the federal, state, and local level, it is incredibly important that we stay up-to-date on the facts surrounding the situation. Here are some reliable sources to keep up with:
On Wednesday, the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate reconvened in Richmond to consider the Governor's recommendations and vetoes on bills, including our recently passed biennium budget. As you may have seen, it was a reconvene session unlike any other. The House convened under tents outside the Capitol, with our desks placed 6-feet apart.
Our budget was a major topic of conversation due to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, we had to freeze all new spending in the budget in order to ensure our state has the resources it needs to battle this pandemic and help those who are affected by business closures and health emergencies. In the newly changed budget, the legislature provided a waiver for tax interest payments, established a COVID-19 relief fund, among other initiatives necessary to address the effects of the pandemic.
It is likely that as the situation unfolds, we will need to make further changes to ensure our budget is balanced. I will keep you informed of any updates that must be made as they happen.
Extension of Executive Orders:
Governor Northam has extended the ban on elective surgeries and the closure of DMV locations across the Commonwealth.
The ban on surgeries does not apply to any outpatient procedure or a surgery that would cause harm to the patient were it delayed. Click here for an FAQ on the current elective surgery ban in Virginia. Additionally, if you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency, please know that ERs across Virginia are still open and operating. Patients going to the traditional ER will be safe, as patients with symptoms of COVID-19 are admitted and treated in different areas of the hospital.
Also, DMV locations will remain closed until at least May 11. However, many DMV transactions can and should be completed online. In accordance with the extension in DMV closures, all licenses and registrations that were originally set to expire during this time will remain valid until July 31. The Virginia State Police has also been directed to suspend enforcement of expired motor vehicle inspections.
New Testing Work Group:
As you know, a key to understanding the spread of COVID-19 is widespread testing. Governor Northam announced on Monday that a new testing work group, headed by the former Health Commissioner Dr. Karen Remley and State Epidemiologist Dr. Lilian Peake, has been formed to help as Virginia continues to ramp up its testing in the coming days and weeks.
COVID-19 Business Task Force:
Earlier today, Gov. Northam announced the formation of a new task force comprised of business leaders from across the Commonwealth, who will work together to determine the safest possible path to easing restrictions on businesses and individuals. As we continue to navigate our way forward, it is essential that we do everything in our power to keep everyone safe and healthy and begin to repair Virginia's economy. You can read the full list of individuals on this task force here.
Steps to Re-Opening Virginia:
Following guidance from the White House and the CDC, Virginia will move into phase one of our re-opening when we see a 14-day downward trend in new cases and hospitalizations, have adequate supply of PPE, and enough ICU and hospital bed capacity. Phase 1 will still have heightened restrictions in place, such as social distancing and a strong recommendation that employees and patrons wear face coverings as they go out. As businesses plan their reopenings, there will be industry-specific guidance to help them do so as safely as possible.
Important and Updated Information from Inova Health:
Is COVID-19 testing available through Inova?
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.
Inova has established Respiratory Illness Clinics to evaluate all patients with respiratory illness symptoms. These clinics will also be able to collect samples via physician ordered and coordinated vehicle-side appointments for COVID-19 testing.
Before visiting any Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic, take the following steps:
1.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.
2.Your regular physician should evaluate your symptoms to determine if testing is needed based on COVID-19 testing criteria, provide a testing order, and coordinate your referral to the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic for evaluation.
3.Upon arrival at the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic, a clinician will greet the patient at their vehicle to collect samples for a physician-ordered test, or escort the patient into the respiratory clinic for evaluation.
4.For patients who undergo COVID-19 testing, an Inova nurse will contact those whose results are negative. For patients with positive results, an Inova nurse will coordinate with the patient’s regular physician for notification and further instructions. Patients who are tested can expect results in roughly 4-7 days.
5.More information can be found following this link. Addresses and contact information for the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinics are as follows:
Inova Urgent Care – Tysons (8AM-8PM, 7 days a week)
8357 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22182
Inova Urgent Care – Dulles South (8AM-8PM, Monday-Friday)
24801 Pinebrook Rd. #110
Chantilly, VA 20152
Inova Urgent Care – N. Arlington (8AM-8PM, Monday-Friday)
4600 Lee Hwy.
Arlington, VA 22207
Inova Primary Care – Old Town Alexandria (By Appointment Only, 1:00-4:30 PM, Monday-Friday)
325 South Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
How can the public help Inova during this time?
Community Donations: Individuals and businesses across our region have been extremely generous in offers for support, small and large. Inova has established a centralized online resource for opportunities for community support at www.inova.org/icanhelp.
Blood Donation: Additionally, Inova Blood Donor Services has experienced great community support, however the need for blood is continual and the supply changes daily depending on collections and patient needs. Donated blood has a shelf life of 42 days and donated platelets have a shelf life of 5 days.
Inova Blood Donor Services needs donors to sign up now for an appointment to donate blood during the next six weeks at a Donor Center location. Inova Blood Donor Services has implemented extra precautions to protect donors - it is safe to give blood, and your donation will save a life. Make an appointment at www.inovablood.org or 800-BLOOD-SAVES.
Blood plasma research from those who have recovered from COVID-19: Finally, Inova Health System is looking for individuals recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma (colorless fluid part of blood) for a research study. Your donated plasma contains immunoglobulins (immune protection) and this study will use your plasma to help patients currently sick with COVID-19 disease. More information can be found on the COVID-19 Research page.
Mental Health and Domestic Violence Resources:
At this trying time, it is important that we continue to care for our mental health. Here are some resources if you are struggling and need help:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Fairfax/Falls Church Community Services Board hotline: 703-527-4077
Loudoun County Mental Health Emergency Services...703.777.0320
Loudoun Suicide Prevention...703.777.0176
PRS CrisisLink: 703-527-4077 or text “Connect” to 85511
SAMHSA National Helpline: 800-662-HELP (800-662-4357)
Children's Regional Crisis Response: 844-NCrisis (844-627-4747) in English and Spanish