Delaney Dispatch (Coronavirus Update - March 12, 2020)
Submitted by Tess Bettller on March 12, 2020
March 12, 2020
As you know, Virginia is in the midst of mitigating the effects of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in the Commonwealth. Our state government has been aware of the pandemic since its first noted case in China, and has been working hard to mitigate the spread of the disease amongst our communities.
To that end, I wanted to update you on what state and local governments are doing to control the spread of coronavirus, as well as updates from local schools, businesses, and non-profits.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 and the issues that may arise from it, please don't hesitate to reach out to my office. We will do everything we can to get you the answers you're looking for or find resources you or a neighbor might need. We can be reached at DelKDelaney@house.virginia.gov or at 703-996-9415.
State of Emergency Declaration:
As of this afternoon, Gov. Northam has declared a state of emergency in response to the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia. This declaration is critical to ensure that we are able to secure and deploy the resources needed to combat COVID-19 and ensure that our state's most vulnerable populations are protected.
Here are some important points from the Governor's annoncement:
A ban is in effect on all out-of-state travel by state employees, with flexibility for inter-state commuters and essential personnel.
The Secretary of Administration is working on transitioning all state employees to telework.
The Department of Human Resource Management is working to ensure all agencies have updated emergency operations and leave policies.
The state is cancelling all large events and specially-scheduled state conferences for the next 30 days. State agencies have been directed to limit in-person meetings and non-essential, work-related gatherings.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is updating cleaning schedules and procedures on all public transit to be in accordance with CDC recommendations.
The state is working with insurers to waive co-pays for expenses related to COVID-19.
The state is in active conversation with businesses across the Commonwealth to explore and encourage all telework options for employees.
Virginia's social service agencies are working to ensure that vulnerable populations have access to information and treatment for COVID-19, should they need it.
Up-to-date and accurate information on COVID-19 can be found on the Virginia Department of Health's website.
Updates from Fairfax County:
The Fairfax County Government is closely watching for new cases of coronavirus in our community, and has set up a website to disseminate accurate and timely information to its citizens. Additionally, you can sign up to receive text message notifications by texting FFXCOVID to 888777.
Earlier this evening, the Fairfax County Government hosted a press conference on the status of COVID-19 in the County, which you can watch here.
Updates from Loudoun County:
The Loudoun County Government has also set up a dedicated web page with resources and information for its citizens, which can be found here. Last night, Chair Phyllis Randall hosted a information session where they took questions from the public on COVID-19, and answers to all constituent questions can be found here.
You can also sign up for text updates from the Loudoun Government by texting LCCOVID19 to 888777.
Status of Fairfax County Public Schools:
Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed on Monday, March 16th for teacher training related to distance learning in the event that schools are closed for an extended period of time. No announcements of closures have been made at this time.
Status of Loudoun County Public Schools:
This morning, the superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools announced that all schools in Loudoun will be closed until March 20th. LCPS's full plan and statement can be found here.
Future Events in the District:
In order to ensure that no one is put at risk, I will be postponing my upcoming town hall with Senator John Bell and Delegate Suhas Subramanyam, which was originally scheduled to occur on March 30th at the Gum Spring Library. I will keep you up-to-date as soon as we have a new date scheduled. Additionally, I will not be holding office hours in March. Instead, I invite you to reach out to my office to let me know your concerns or set up a 15-minute phone call with me.
Helping our Neighbors in Need:
Several non-profits across Fairfax and Loudoun County are working to collect food and supplies for families in need. In particular, we are incredibly concerned for school children who do not have access to reliable food sources if school is cancelled.
Food pantries across Fairfax are in high need for supplies at this time. You can find a comprehensive list here.
In Fairfax County, Western Fairfax Christian Ministries has set up an Amazon wishlist of food items for kids in need. You can drop off donations at their headquarters: 4511 Daly Dr., Suite J in Chantilly. They accept donations Monday through Friday, from 9am to 12pm, or by appointment.
Unfortunately during times of emergency, unscrupulous actors will engage in price gouging. This behavior is illegal and will not be tolerated in Virginia.If you or someone you know has become a victim or has heard of this practice occurring, please alert the Office of the Attorney General by filling out this form.
In difficult times, it is important that we step up and help each other. While our state and local governments and school boards are working to ensure no child goes hungry, it is important that we help out however we can.
Commonsense Measures to Mitigate the Spread:
Many of these measures are very familiar to you, but I will repeat them:
If you are part of a high-risk population (immuno-compromised or elderly), stay home and avoid large crowds as much as you can.
Stay home when you're sick.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid non-essential travel.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects people frequently touch.
Use elbow or back of your hand to touch elevator buttons.
After washing, use a paper towel to open bathroom doors and turn off sinks after washing.
As always, I am here to help you and hear your concerns, comments or questions. Do not hesitate to contact me at 703-996-9415 or DelkDelaney@house.virginia.gov. Thank you for allowing me the privilege to serve as your House Delegate.