It has been a few weeks since we last sent an update on this pandemic to you. I hope during that time, you and yours have continued to stay safe and healthy.

While over the past few months we slowly flattened the curve, recent weeks have brought a small rise in cases in Virginia. This rise is not as bad as the rapid spike of cases that other states in the country have experienced during the same time, but it is something that must be addressed. The Governor has announced numerous actions to tackle this rise, which you will be able to see in the section below.

I am proud of everyone who continues to follow social distancing regulations. But for those who do not follow these regulations, or have eased their practicing of these important rules, I ask you to consider the seriousness of this pandemic. We are not out of it. People throughout the country continue to suffer from this deadly virus. Even if you are healthy, you can still put others at risk. Please consider your actions as it is very much a life or death situation for too many folks in Virginia and throughout our country.

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 72,443 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia.

  • The Governor mentions that while cases had been going down during the past few months, he notes that there are a few troubling signs that need to be addressed.

    • ​The Hampton Roads region has seen a rise in cases in particular.

  • The 7 day trend of total cases has been risen. It should also be mentioned that testing continues to be increased.

    • ​Despite the percent positivity going down during the past few months, it is now slowly inching up. While it is still relatively low, it will be addressed immediately.

  • Northern Virginia (with ⅔ of the total state’s population) continues to see its case amount and percent positivity decrease substantially.

  • The Southwest region is seeing a small uptick in cases, but remains steady.

  • The Northwest region is holding relatively steady as well.

  • A small increase in cases is seen in the Central region.

  • The Eastern region (containing Hampton Roads) has recently seen a substantial increase in cases. The percent positivity has risen as well.

  • While we are not seeing drastic spikes in cases in Virginia (as seen in other states), we do need to address the recent rise in cases.

    • ​The Governor is working with local health teams, especially in the Hampton Roads area, to address this rise.

    • Dr. Norm Oliver, Virginia’s health commissioner, is sending a letter today to health district directors reminding them of their authority to enforce face covering rules and physical distancing regulations in restaurants, and other places where people gather.

    • Teams made up of members from the health departments, the Virginia ABC, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and other licensing agencies may conduct unannounced visits to establishments as needed.

    • Businesses not complying with proper regulations will face possible action on their licenses. Businesses are also encouraged to say no to patrons who refuse to follow proper social distancing and health regulations.

    • Other actions such as reductions in size of gatherings may be considered in the future.

  • PPE shipments continue to enter Virginia and are being distributed to regional healthcare coalitions, local jurisdictions, assisted living facilities, state agencies, and health districts as needed.

    • ​49 shipments have been distributed since yesterday.

    • Hospitals continue to have an adequate supply of PPE.

  • The Department of Education has set out guidelines for school reopenings, and local districts will make decisions on reopening based on this.

  • Regarding rent/mortgage relief programs, $50 million in CARES Act has been allocated to assist Virginians who are facing rent/mortgage issues. This relief program has been running for 9 business days. Those who need help with their rent or mortgage should visit this webpage.

  • The Virginia Employment Commission has increased its staff to help the thousands of Virginians who have applied for unemployment assistance.

  • DMV locations have been slowly reopening with physical distancing regulations. 41 DMV locations are currently open throughout the states.

    • ​These locations assist Virginians with matters that must be resolved in person, and they must be done by appointments.

  • The Governor will announce a date for a special session soon.

 

Additional Data and Information

  • According to the VDH website:
    • 72,443 persons have tested positive for COVID-19.

    • 6,817 of those individuals have been hospitalized.

    • 1,977 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 54,899 cases we have racial and ethnicity data on, 11,141 are African Americans and 23,628 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 64: Declaration of a State of Emergency Due to Civil Unrest and Institution of a Curfew in the City of Richmond and the City of Virginia Beach

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)

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.

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