Delaney Dispatch (Coronavirus Update - March 17, 2020)
Submitted by Tess Bettler on March 18, 2020
March 17, 2020
As a follow-up to last week's newsletter, I wanted to send out more information on the developing situation in Virginia, including announcements from our county and state governments, and information on resources to be used in this difficult time.
I believe we will emerge from this trying time as a stronger community, and as we are seeking ways to support our businesses and the people who are most vulnerable, I am urging everyone who is capable of staying home to please do so at this time. Extensive social distancing now is our best hope for sparing lives in the future.
Here are some of the top-line updates:
On March 13th, Pres. Trump declared a national state of emergency to help free up funds to address the situation. There is legislation in the works to provide relief to communities affected by COVID-19.
The SCC has halted all utility disconnections related to non-payment. This will be a great help to those who are or may soon be out of work because of the outbreak.
All DMV locations and DMV To-Go functions are closed. All drivers licenses, registrations, and other forms of identification will have an additional 60-day validity. You can still perform many transactions at the DMV's website.
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.
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:
At its meeting today, Tuesday, March 17, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors declared a local state of emergency in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Today’s action follows Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency on March 12, and a national emergency declaration by President Donald Trump on March 13.
The local emergency declaration is primarily a financial mechanism that provides greater flexibility and authority for the county in purchasing hard to find resources and supplies. It also increases the authorities granted to the county to protect the health and safety of the community and provide emergency assistance in such a rapidly evolving incident. Click here to watch the video online.
"This declaration streamlines and expedites Fairfax County Government’s access to emergency disaster funding and it allows the county to use its authority to procure goods to address the emergency." — Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay
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.
Updates from Loudoun County:
Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet issued a declaration of local emergency Monday, March 16, 2020, with the concurrence of Chair Phyllis Randall. The full Board of Supervisors is expected to formally ratify the declaration at its next business meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 5:00
The declaration of a local emergency in Loudoun follows the declaration of a statewide emergency from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.
The Local Emergency declaration will benefit Loudoun by relaxing formal procurement requirements to allow Loudoun County to more easily acquire any goods or services needed to assist in the response to the threat posed by COVID-19. The declaration modifies normal employment rules so that employees can be reassigned to county operations involved in response activities should that be necessary.
This specific declaration is also sometimes a requirement for residents and local businesses to obtain financial aid and emergency loans offered by the federal and/or state governments.
You can also sign up for text updates from the Loudoun Government by texting LCCOVID19 to 888777.
Status of Public Schools:
As you may know, Gov. Northam closed all schools in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. This closure will be in effect until at least March 27.
In Loudoun County, the School Board and superintendent have extended the school closure until April 10. The first possible days schools would be open again in Loudoun is April 13th, but that date may be pushed back as the situation develops.
For many, school closures means their children are not able to access many meals. Thankfully, FCPS and LCPS are using their bus fleets to give out free lunches to children on free and reduced-cost lunch. Starting tomorrow, March 18, FCPS is expanding their pick-up points, and you can find up-to-date info on where those are below.
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. Also, as businesses make the difficult decision on whether to close or not, many of their employees will be left without the paychecks needed to buy groceries. Here are some resources where we can help:
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.
Here is some information on how to help prepare your neighborhood for the coming days and weeks:
We understand that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is worrisome to many in our community, country and across the world. A community working together makes sense. With coronavirus impacts around us, there are many ways you can prepare yourself and family, but what about others around you?
We recognize we live in all sizes and shapes of communities here in Fairfax County – some with defined homeowners associations, some with more active apartment living scenes and some in a single house away from main roads. Whatever your housing choice, try and connect with neighbors so you can seek or give support when it may be needed.
Find out (and document) if anyone has specialized equipment or expertise that might help.
Decide who will check/call elderly or disabled neighbors and their needs.
Emergency response is one of the most important responsibilities of local government, but government alone can’t prepare/respond. Families, neighborhoods, businesses, houses of worship and many others in our large, diverse community should prepare, too.
Our Community Emergency Response Guide features quick documents to help you and your neighbors prepare. Click on the links below to download a printable copy in multiple languages:
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), the federal government is now strongly urging you to self-isolate.
Do not congregate in groups of ten or more. Gatherings of this size are now banned in Virginia.
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.