Delaney Dispatch (Coronavirus Update - May 8, 2020)
Submitted by Tess Bettler on May 12, 2020
May 8, 2020
I hope you had a safe week, and that you and your family remain healthy at home. We have now been experiencing this crisis in our Commonwealth for over two months. We have all made tremendous sacrifices to ensure the health and safety of our neighbors and healthcare workers. Many of our friends and fellow Virginians have fallen ill, lost their jobs, or lost a loved one because of COVID-19. I see everyday how much we have lost, but I remain confident we will rebuild and become stronger than before.
In this newsletter, I will provide some detail on the first phase of Virginia's reopening plan (the "Forward Virginia" Plan), contact tracing efforts, and some info regarding upcoming public comment on future transportation projects.
As you go about your weekend and next week, please remember that we are all safer at home, particularly if you are someone especially vulnerable to COVID-19. If you need to go out for essential supplies, remember that wearing a face covering is highly recommended to protect yourself and especially those around you.
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:
Governor Northam announced more details on phase one of Virginia's reopening plan, which is expected to go into effect starting May 15. Here is some info on what businesses can reopen and what measures they must take to do so.
Non-essential retail may reopen at 50% capacity.
Restaurants may continue takeout and delivery, and allow in-person dining at 50% capacity outside only.
Entertainment businesses such as theaters must remain closed.
Fitness and exercise facilities must remain closed.
Beaches are still only allowed to be open for exercising and fishing.
Places of worship may continue drive-in services and operate at 50% capacity inside.
Personal grooming services may operate by appointment only, practice strict social distancing, and all involved must wear face coverings.
Private campgrounds may reopen to the public.
State parks may open for day use only.
Child care is open for working families only.
Overnight summer camps will remain closed.
The 10 person limit on gatherings will remain in place through phase 1.
An important point about these new rules is that not every business will choose to reopen. Further, localities with more cases are working with the administration on instituting their own regulations to keep their residents safe. Overall, this is a blueprint for the next few weeks, but does not mandate that any business reopen. Virginians are still encouraged to stay home as much as possible, especially if they are part of a vulnerable population. Please continue to practice good hygiene, wear your face coverings out, and limit gatherings to ten or fewer people. We are all in this together.
Contact Tracing Efforts in Virginia:
In an effort to more fully understand the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia, the state has made plans to hire 1,000 professional contact tracers. At this time, Virginia has hired a couple hundred. The importance of contact tracing as we enter our reopening phases cannot be under-emphasized. These tracers will be tasked with tracking and isolating new cases of COVID-19 and anyone they may have come in close contact with. As this program begins to ramp up, it will be key to helping our state reopen, in conjunction with increased testing.
Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Six Year Program Public Comment:
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) has prepared a list of 41 potential transportation projects in the Northern Virginia region. The public has the opportunity to comment on which projects they would like to see undertaken. The public comment window is open now through May 24 at 11:59pm. You can find the complete list of candidate projects here. There is also a useful FAQ for any questions you may have about the NVTA or the program selection process.
There are several ways for you to make your voice heard. You can send an email with your input to SYPcomment@theNoVAAuthority.org, use this online form, or send a letter directly to the NVTA (3040 Williams Dr., Suite 200, Fairfax, VA 22031).
An in-person hearing is scheduled, however, it is strongly encouraged that you not attend the in-person hearing due to concerns about COVID-19. You can sign up for telephone testimony by emailing SYPcomment@theNoVAAuthority.org by May 11. The hearing will take place on May 14 at 7pm.
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