In the coming days, we will be entering the 5 month mark since the pandemic began in Virginia.

It’s been a long few months, but we’ve known that we would be in this for the long haul. We’ve had to do more than take some temporary precautions, we’ve had to shift our entire lives.

With the arrival of Tropical Storm Isaias, we can expect the hurricane season to begin in Virginia a bit earlier than usual. This year will be different than others since we have this pandemic to deal with. As such, further down in this newsletter, I have added information that will help you to prepare yourself, your loved ones, and your property during hurricane season, while still following the protective guidelines put in place because of the pandemic.

This year will be tough, but I know we can get through this together. Please continue to make sure you stay safe.

In the meantime, 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 Tuesday and Thursday (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 95,049 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia.

  • First responders, power companies, and other authorities have been busy at work to help areas throughout Virginia that have experienced damage from Tropical Storm Isaias.

    • The Governor encourages everyone in Virginia to remain prepared for the hurricane season.

  • As has been stated in prior updates, cases have slowly risen in Virginia, and sharply in the Eastern region of Virginia.

    • However, the percent positivity of cases in the Eastern region has been trending down, which is good news.

  • We are now averaging between 15,000-20,000 tests a day, with the anticipation that we will increase this number in the coming future.

  • A new COVID-19 digital app for Virginians has been developed. It is called “COVIDWISE”.

    • ​This app provides updates, testing information, and other relevant knowledge regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. This app does not track user data, privacy is protected.

    • Virginia is the first state in the country to develop this kind of application.

  • Virginia is one of seven states that will explore the usage of rapid antigen testing (results coming within 20 minutes).

  • ​The Governor is working with other states to purchase rapid antigen testing kits so they can be dispersed throughout Virginia.

    • These tests have been approved by the FDA.

 

Additional Data and Information

  • According to the VDH website:
    • 95,049 persons have tested positive for COVID-19.

    • 8,126 of those individuals have been hospitalized.

    • 2,274 of those individuals have lost their lives to this virus.

  • This virus has been shown to disproportionately affect the African American and Hispanic/Latino population throughout the country. As such, Virginia has begun to collect race/ethnicity information. With the 71,897 cases we have racial and ethnicity data on, 17,345 are African Americans and 26,809 are Hispanic or Latino.

 

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.

Most recent Executive Orders:

Executive Order 65: Phase Two Easing of Certain Temporary Restrictions Due to Novel Coronavirus

Executive Order 66: Establishing Juneteenth as a State Holiday

Executive Order 67: Phase 3 Easing of Certain Temporary Restrictions Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Executive Order 68: Additional Restrictions on the Eastern Region due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Executive Order 69: Declaration of a State Emergency Due to Hurricane Isaias

Link to all Executive Orders here.

 

Hurricane Season

Virginia is entering hurricane season during these coming weeks. This year, we have to ensure we stay prepared for the hurricanes while also following the safety practices of the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to provide you with a few helpful links to assist with you preparing for the upcoming hurricane season.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has prepared a Hurricane Evacuation Guide for those who live in areas that will be affected by hurricanes. This guide lists ways to prepare for both weather and pandemic-related risks. Additional resources can be found at ready.gov/plan.

More information about preparing for the hurricane can be found on VAemergency.gov/hurricanes and ready.gov/hurricanes.

Go to VAemergency.gov/emergency-kit for a list of recommended emergency supplies for your household. Emergency kits should also contain face coverings and sanitization equipment due to the ongoing pandemic.

Please go to ready.gov/power-outages to review tips and a list of resources to prepare for an extended power outage.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management will be providing updates, weather forecast/advisories, and other resources through their Twitter and Facebook. You can follow these accounts to stay up to date and also download the FEMA app on your smartphone to receive mobile alerts from the National Weather Service.

 

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.

Ve aquí para español.

 

 

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.

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

Comcast Updates

Comcast has recently announced that they will extend the free internet service to low-income customers they have been giving through the rest of 2020 as well as keeping their free public WiFi hotspots open through the end of the year. Please check out the following press releases from Comcast for more information:

Internet Essentials 60 days of free Internet service extended through 2020

Comcast extends free public WiFi access to everyone for the remainder of 2020

 

My Contact Information

Email to: delhayala@house.virginia.gov, or call my office at: (804) 698-1051.

Stay up to date by signing up for newsletters: Newsletters

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.

 

Sincerely,

Hala Ayala