We are noticing some great improvements in our situation here in Virginia.
A few weeks ago, the threat of a huge surge of COVID-19 loomed over us. Such an outcome would have overwhelmed our hospital system, depleted our resources, and hurt so many Virginians’ lives. However because we followed social distancing guidelines and our government undertook important actions such as obtaining multiple shipments of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our healthcare workers, we have begun flattening the curve. As such, the Governor has begun looking into plans for easing the restrictions placed because of this pandemic. One such easing is the allowance of elective surgeries (more information on this can be found in the section below). Your sacrifice is working.
But we can’t stop our efforts now. Just recently, parts of Virginia’s Eastern Shore experienced a surge of cases within poultry factories. While our local health officials are working with federal agencies to address this situation, this unfortunate outcome reminds us all that we are not out of it yet. If we stopped our social distancing now, we will undo all the efforts of the past few weeks. This is why it is still important for you to stay at home.
Please continue to check on our friends, neighbors and family. Just because we are physically separated from each other doesn’t mean we have to be emotionally separated. We must also do a wellness check on one another, especially our most vulnerable. Please remember, if you or someone you know is feeling depressed or suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, or the Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990.
If there is anything that I can do to help or if you know someone that is in need of help, do not hesitate to reach out to our office at 804-698-1051 or via email at DelHayala@house.virginia.gov.
The Governor's Update
The full press conference can be watched here. Please note that the Governor will be giving these press conferences every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (unless an urgent update requires the Governor to speak on an off press conference day), and they will take place at 2 pm. They will be broadcasted and archived on The Governor’s Facebook and VPM’s YouTube channel. Some of the highlights from today’s press conference are as followed:
- There are now 14,961 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia.
- The CDC has sent teams to meat processing plants in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware who have experienced a spike of COVID-19 cases recently.
- The teams are working with local health officials to assess the plants and ensure they are operating with the CDC’s recently released guidance for these factories.
- 5 weeks ago, the Governor temporarily banned elective surgeries and other procedures so as to protect the capacity of our hospitals in case of a surge of cases as well as reserve use of PPE for frontline health care providers.
- Because of our actions over the past few weeks, including receiving multiple shipments of PPE, we have slowed the spread of the virus to prevent our hospital system from becoming overwhelmed.
- Today, the Governor is announcing that elective surgeries and dental procedures will be allowed to resume once the public order that restricted it expires midnight, tomorrow night.
- Guidelines will be in place to ensure safety for both health care workers and patients, as well as protecting the supply of PPE.
- The federal CARES Act allowed many individuals to suspend payments on student loans during this pandemic. However this only applied to people with certain US government owned loans.
- Virginia is now joining a number of other states in an initiative to help over 200,000 Virginians who have student loans. Lenders will provide a minimum of 90 days forbearance on loans, waive late payment fees and commit to other actions.
Additional Data and Information
- According to the VDH website: Virginia has a total of 85,307 individuals tested.
- 14,961 persons have tested positive for COVID-19.
- 2,259 of those individuals have been hospitalized.
- 522 of those individuals have lost their lives to this virus.
- This virus has been shown to disproportionately affect the African American population throughout the country. As such, Virginia has begun to collect race/ethnicity information. With the cases we 10,210 have race/ethnicity data on: 2,733 are African Americans.
COVID-19 Executive Orders
Since the pandemic reached Virginia more than a month ago, the Governor has issued numerous executive orders to address it. Here is a brief explanation of each, as well as the links to the full Executive Orders.
Executive Order 51 was the first one, and it declared the state of emergency in Virginia due to COVID-19. This EO gave the Governor and the state government authority to preemptively address the pandemic.
Executive Order 52 increased hospital bed capacity throughout Virginia in response to threat COVID-19 presented. This allowed our hospitals to be ready for the amount of patients that would come in from COVID-19. This played a role into why our hospitals currently still have enough capacity to treat both COVID-19 and other patients.
Executive Order 53 declared the closure of businesses throughout the state that were not essential and gave guidance to the businesses that were essential (like grocery stores and pharmacies) on how they can operate safely during this time.
Executive Order 54 gave power to the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to request Title XII funding for our unemployed workers. This allowed our unemployment insurance program to boost its funding so it could cover a wider net of workers who have been affected by the pandemic.
Executive Order 55 is the Stay at Home order. This order detailed why individuals in Virginia can leave their home, and why they should stay at home for a majority of the time.
Executive Order 56 postponed the June 9th primary elections to June 23rd.
Executive Order 57 eased regulations on medical licenses so out of state doctors, residents, fourth year medical students, and other qualified individuals could treat Virginian patients without having to jump through many regulatory hurdles during this pandemic.
Executive Order 58 simplifies the process Medicaid recipients must follow to receive medical attention during this pandemic, as well as giving the Department of Medical Assistance Services more flexibility in making critical services more accessible to those who need it.
Executive Order 59 postpones the May 5th general and special elections to May 19th.
Link to all Executive Orders here.
COVID-19 Resource Page
I have a page on my website dedicated towards providing resources offered by the state, local government, and other entities, to those who need it. If you need assistance please visit the webpage now!
Additionally, there are other helpful, informative links that I would recommend you take a look at so you can stay up to date on this dynamic situation. You can visit the webpage here.
Prince William County Information Center
Here is further information on what our county will be doing during this time:
- Prince William County has instituted a text alert system for COVID-19. Those interested in receiving updates from the county via text can text COVIDPWC to 888777 for English or COVIDPWCES to 888777 for Spanish.
- Additionally, residents can call the county's information at (703) 794-4669, Monday-Friday, 8 am - 5 pm, for information regarding county government operations.
- Health questions related to COVID-19 can be addressed by the Prince William Health District's call center #: (703) 872-7759, 9 am - 5 pm, seven days a week.
- Prince William County Schools, along with all of Virginia’s schools, will be closed for the remaining academic year.
- School Age Child Care (SACC) will be closed from March 16 onward.
- PWCS and the County will provide packaged breakfasts and lunches at select locations throughout the county to anyone under the age of 18. For a complete list of all to-go food locations and additional information please click here.
- Online registration is now open for children who will enter kindergarten in the 2020-21 school year. Because of the COVID-19 shutdown, please note that the timeline for registration may take longer than usual. To register your child or for more information please click here.
Many of our community partners want you to know that they are with you in the fight and have free and helpful resources for you to use or be aware of. Please check out the below bulletins. Note: For state and local listings of resources as shared above, can be found here.
ERs Remain Open and Safe
Emergency physicians working on the frontline of this crisis continue to encourage everyone to practice social distancing and stay at home when possible. But, the doctors say, Virginians should not delay necessary medical care, especially if you think you are having an emergency.
In the last month, some emergency departments in Virginia and across the country have seen a reduction in patient volume of more than 30 percent (as an example, motor vehicle accidents — which account for a lot of ER visits — don't happen as often when there are no cars on the road).
“If you think you are having a medical emergency such as stroke, heart attack, trauma, or serious infection, come to the emergency department — or better yet, call 911,” says Bruce Lo, M.D., a Board member with the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians, which represents ER doctors throughout the Commonwealth. “Fear is leading many people to delay treatment for health issues that need to be addressed. Delaying treatment is dangerous, especially when it comes to signs of a heart attack or stroke.”
For more information, visit: https://www.vhha.com.
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Xfinity WiFi hotspots located in businesses and outdoor locations across the country are available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity internet subscribers.
We will not disconnect a customer’s internet or mobile service for nonpayment, and we will not impose late fees if they contact us and let us know that they can’t pay their bills during this period.
Xfinity is now offering eligible university students who live in our service areas and need internet service a Visa prepaid card worth about two months of internet service. No upfront fees, no installation costs.
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COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall this Friday
This coming Friday at 1 pm, I will host my virtual town hall to provide updates on COVID-19.
If you would like to ask me a question for the town hall, please fill this Google Form out here.
You can view the town hall on the Facebook event page when I go live this Friday. Hope you can tune in!
My Contact Information
Email to: email@example.com, or call my office at: (804) 698-1051.
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Please watch my social media and website for additional updates:
In closing, I am here for you as is our Governor and our government agencies who are readily available to help during this tough time. It is important we prevent the spread for the safety of everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable. In addition, let's focus on caring for one another and beating this virus together.