Delaney Dispatch (Coronavirus Update - May 2, 2020)
Submitted by Tess Bettler on May 12, 2020
May 2, 2020
I hope you and your family are doing well in these trying times. This newsletter provides updates on testing in Virginia, resources for student borrowers, and updates on elective and dental procedures, as well as reminders about resources available for your mental health and for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
We are all hopeful that this will end soon and we can begin to return to our new normal, but we must ensure that we do so in the safest way possible. As you go about your week, please remember to practice social distancing, wear a face covering in public, and take proper precautions in regards to personal hygiene. We can and will get through this.
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.
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, Governor Northam announced new relief options for the 200,000 Virginians with privately held student loans. Loan holders with federal student loans were provided with new protections through the CARES Act, which includes the suspension of monthly payments, interest, and involuntary collections through September 30, 2020. With this new initiative, Virginians with private loans, Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), or Perkins Loans who are unable to make their payments due to COVID-19 will be eligible for relief as well.
If you are a federal loan holder, you can visit this website or call 1-800-433-3243 to learn more about what loans you hold and who services them.
If you are a private loan holder, please contact your loan servicer to learn more about your options. If you are having trouble with your loan holder or would like more information on the impact this deferment may have on your loan terms, you can contact Virginia's Student Loan Advocate at email@example.com or 804-786-2832.
Elective Surgeries and Dental Procedures:
Starting on midnight, April 30, the ban on elective surgeries and dental procedures in Virginia has been lifted. As you know, these bans were put in place to conserve PPE and hospital space, but we are now in a better position and can safely allow these procedures and surgeries to continue. Dental offices have been given guidance on sanitation and social distancing practices. If you need to schedule an appointment, please reach out to your dental office or physician to understand your options.
The Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics wants to remind Virginians of the importance of childhood vaccinations, especially during this unprecedented time. We have seen an alarming drop in vaccination rates as a result of COVID-19. We understand that many parents are hesitant to bring their child to the doctor’s office right now, but we want to assure you it is both safe and necessary. Governor Northam said in a recent press briefing that it is essential to vaccinate children on time. We want to prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases like Pertussis, Meningitis, Measles, Rotavirus and others. Pediatricians throughout Virginia are making significant accommodations to help parents and children feel safer coming in for well visits and vaccinations. Many offices have specific hours or locations for well child visits. Some pediatricians will examine children in the car or even do home visits. We encourage you to reach out to your pediatrician if you are concerned and learn how they are ensuring the safety of their patients. We strongly urge parents to make sure their children are receiving their vaccinations on schedule. Vaccines are critical to protecting the health and welfare of our children and communities.
Testing in Virginia:
Securing ample testing materials and deploying tests across the state has been an ongoing project for Virginia during the pandemic. Last week, I told you about a new testing work group that was formed to help ramp up testing exponentially over the coming weeks so we can understand more fully the spread of the virus. Over the past two days, Virginia has been performing 5,500 tests daily. We have a goal to reach 10,000 tests per day. We have secured a shipment of 200,000 swabs that will help in this effort, and I am happy to finally see a significant and steady increase in testing across Virginia.
Additionally, the Virginia Department of Health has agreed to expand their public data to include cases by zip code in the Commonwealth. Having accurate data readily available to the public is something I have pushed for from the beginning, and I am pleased that we will finally have this on our state's COVID-19 dashboard.
Domestic Violence on the Rise:
Over the past several weeks, domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines have seen a massive increase in calls. This is an often undiscussed ramification of the pandemic and the stay-at-home orders issued to help contain it. I have included a list of resources at the end of this newsletter for those experiencing domestic violence, and I want everyone to know that shelters are still open and ready to help. I implore anyone experiencing this, or who knows someone who is, to call one of the five numbers listed below and get the help needed to keep them safe. Everyone has the right to feel safe at home.
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