I hope you and your families are staying safe and well. I wanted to provide a brief update on COVID-19 in Virginia, as well as more information regarding the General Assembly's special session.
Virginia has now been in Phase 3 of our reopening plan since July 1, but even as our lives begin to return to our new normal, we need to all stay vigilant and do everything we can to stem any further spread of the virus in our communities. Please continue to wear your face mask in public. Continue to practice strict social distancing. And please don't go out if you feel sick or have come in contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19.
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.
On July 14, the governor convened a news conference to go over the status of COVID-19 in Virginia. While positive cases have remained constant or declined in many parts of the state, there has been a sharp uptick in cases in the Tidewater region. Over the weekend, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties reported more new cases, as well.
This crisis is not behind us. COVID-19 is still very much in our midst, and we need to do our part to keep Virginians healthy and safe. Per Executive Order 63, all Virginians are required to wear face coverings while in public settings. Wearing a mask or other face covering is a simple way we can protect our neighbors from the spread of COVID-19, so please make sure you wear yours whenever possible.
You can continue to keep up with the data trends of COVID-19 in Virginia at the Virginia Department of Health's Daily Dashboard. This tool has information on cases by locality and demographics, as well as data on outbreaks and testing across the Commonwealth.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, COVIDCheck from the Virginia Department of Health may be useful. This tool gives you the opportunity to check your symptoms, learn about next steps, and shows you testing locations in your area.
Once again, we're all in this together. Please do your part by wearing your mask, staying home as much as possible, and keeping an eye on your own health.
Special Session 2020 Update:
Last week, Gov. Northam announced that the 2020 special session would begin on August 18th, and would address the need for a revised budget due to revenue changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as criminal justice reforms.
In advance of the special session, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will be briefed on the end-of-year fiscal report by the Governor's administration. As you may remember from a past newsletter, the General Assembly "un-alloted" $2.2 billion of the new spending that was created from the recently passed biennium budget. Doing so has allowed us to get a better picture of our finances, as well as avoid major cuts to key programs and state services. At special session, we will consider a budget that re-allots spending for some programs. I will provide more information on the updated budget in a future newsletter.
Additionally, this special session we will consider legislation relating to criminal justice and policing reforms in the Commonwealth. Before proposing legislation, the House Courts of Justice and Public Safety Committees will hold three public hearings that will include key stakeholders and input from the public. More information can be found in the graphic below.
I know there is a tremendous amount of discussion regarding this topic - my office has received hundreds of emails and calls from constituents asking for common sense reforms that will help keep us all safer and work towards ending systemic racism around us. Racism is not a problem that can be fixed in one session, but I know I speak for the majority of my colleagues when I say that we are ready to get to work.
Collect for Kids:
Every year, the Foundation for FCPS launches their "Collect for Kids" campaign to collect supplies and resources for kids in need in our community. This year, due to COVID-19, all collections will have to be virtual. As kids and their parents prepare for the next virtual or hybrid school year, there are still so many families who are struggling to provide their kids with the basic necessities for the classroom.