As you no doubt have seen, there’s a great deal of concern in our community regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), the respiratory illness that began in Wuhan, China and has now spread around the world. The Governor has issued a state of emergency for our Commonwealth and laid out additional steps Virginia is taking to limit the spread of the virus.
Currently, there are 45 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Virginia, including five in Loudoun County. One Virginian has died from the virus, in James City County.
Local governments have reduced services and hours at senior centers and other government facilities. Additionally, many colleges and universities have extended spring break, canceled in-person classes, and are switching to online instruction indefinitely. The Governor has issued a state of emergency for our Commonwealth. To help slow the spread of the virus, the Governor announced that all K-12 public schools in the Commonwealth will be closed for the next two weeks and has banned public gatherings of over 100 people. (Note: while this 100-person-and-over-gathering-ban was announced by Governor Northam, it is not contained in his Executive order which cites where authority is legally given to him to take the actions he takes). The CDC now recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S..
There is no need to panic or horde any resources. Please take care of yourself and your family, but also look out for the others around you, especially the elderly and those with chronic health conditions, who will likely need additional assistance in the days and weeks ahead.
Below are helpful links to stay updated on developments related to COVID-19:
Everyone must prepare for some disruption to our lives at work and at home. We must also remain calm and set an example for our families, friends, and neighbors.
In addition to limiting public interaction, there are a few common-sense steps to help keep you and your family safe and slow the spread of the virus:
If you are sick, stay home.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not hands) when coughing or sneezing.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Avoid contact with sick people as much as possible.
Avoid non-essential travel.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility)
My office is monitoring the situation in Virginia closely and will keep you advised as we learn more. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or email my office at 540-751-8364 or DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov. You can also follow me on twitter @LaRock4Delegate or like my Facebook page to keep up to date.