Delaney Dispatch (Coronavirus Update - May 22, 2020)
Submitted by Tess Bettler on June 15, 2020
May 22, 2020
I hope everyone has had a safe and healthy week. As we head into Memorial Day weekend, I want to take the opportunity to remember our service men and women who have fallen in service to our country. While this weekend may look different than it has in years past, our gratitude for their sacrifices remains the same.
This week, I have information regarding Fairfax County parks' reopening, news about an education work group, a useful new resource from the Virginia Department of Health, and another reminder about the Fairfax County RISE grant program which will launch in early June. At the bottom of this newsletter there are resources for mental health and domestic violence emergencies, as well as information from INOVA on testing sites and procedures. I include these resources in every newsletter, and I encourage you to take advantage of them should you need to.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend. Please remember to adhere to social distancing guidelines as laid out by the CDC, wear a face covering when you must go out, and not to congregate in groups of ten or more. We are very close to Northern Virginia's reopening date, and it is essential that we stay as healthy as possible and contain this virus as much as we can before that day.
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:
The Fairfax County Park Authority has been reopening park parking lots and removing barricades from park properties this week. Parks will reopen for limited use in accordance with CDC guidelines to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
Park visitors will be asked to follow social distancing recommendations and not congregate in groups of ten or more while on park grounds. Please keep in mind that park restrooms and buildings are not reopening at this time, due to health and safety concerns.
You can learn more about Fairfax County Parks Authority reopening, as well as a full list of what remains closed, by clicking here.
New Education Work Group:
Many parents are concerned about the health and safety of our kids as the options for returning to school in the fall are considered. This week, the governor announced the formation of an education work group, tasked with developing recommendations on continuity of learning and how to reopen our K-12 schools and higher education facilities safely.
In the coming weeks, I will have more information on the roadmap of how we reopen our schools in a safe and equitable way. We all want to ensure that our kids can go back to school and continue their education in-person in the healthiest way possible. You can read more about this work group here.
New Resources from the Virginia Department of Health:
Today, the Virginia Department of Health announced the creation of an online tool called COVIDCheck to help Virginians protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19. This program includes a questionnaire to help you check your symptoms and a guide to all testing sites within your area. Once you go through the initial questionnaire, the system will let you know recommended next steps for care.Please note that this tool is not a substitute for professional medical advice, but rather a way for you to assess your risk for coronavirus from home based on the symptoms you are having.
Updates for SNAP Recipients:
Today, the governor announced that Virginia had been accepted into a pilot program that would allow SNAP recipients to order their groceries online and pick them up curbside or have them delivered to their home. Traditionally, SNAP recipients have had to go in-person to a store in order to use their SNAP benefits. To start, this program will be available through Amazon and Walmart, and other retailers can contact the USDA in order to participate.
Relief Fund for Fairfax County Small Businesses and Nonprofits:
This week, Fairfax County announced a new grant program for small businesses and nonprofits affected by coronavirus closures. Fairfax RISE (Relief Initiative to Support Employers) is funded through an allocation of the Coronavirus Relief Funds that were created in the federal CARES Act. At least 30% of those grants will be allocated to women-owned, minority-owned, and/or veteran-owned businesses.
Applications for this program will be opened in early June. This website details the eligibility requirements and the required documentation you will need to fill out an application.
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