Today marks the beginning of National Teacher Appreciation Week! Our teachers have worked so hard every day to ensure our students have the best education possible.

And with the closing of our physical schools during this pandemic, our teachers have really stepped up to the plate. From virtual classrooms to individual virtual tutoring, teachers have done everything they can to continue our students’ education during this extraordinary time. Join me in sending our appreciation to all of our teachers!

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 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 19,492 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia.

  • Because of social distancing and the efforts of our healthcare workers, the Governor has said that the curve is flattening and we are now much closer to opening (partially) the state up.

  • Phase 1 of the 3-phase plan to open the state may begin as early as next week.

  • Phase 1 will include things like: easing limits on business and faith communities, continued social distancing and teleworking, encouraged stay at home, no social gatherings of more than 10 individuals, face coverings recommendation continued.

  • Phase 1 guidelines for all businesses will include: physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and enhanced workplace safety. Some examples include:

    • ​Barbershops and salons can open, but appointments must be made ahead of time and sanitation measures must be followed.

    • People can eat out, but restaurants must limit their seating.

    • Gyms can be open again, but must have fewer people and more requirements for cleaning.

    • Farmer’s Markets will have more flexibility for foot traffic.

    • Houses of worship, with social distancing guidelines, can host their constituency again.

  • Based on the data phase 1 would possibly last around 3 weeks.

  • Phase 2 would include things like: stay-at-home for vulnerable populations, no social gatherings of more than 50 individuals, continued social distancing, continued teleworking, face coverings recommended in public, and further easing business limitations.

  • Phase 3 (requiring no evidence of COVID-19 cases rebound for a sustained period of time) would include things like: recommended stay-at-home policies for vulnerable populations, removing ban on social gatherings, removing capacity limits in establishments, and continued heightened cleaning and disinfection.

  • Executive Order 53 (regulations on businesses) now has an expiration date of May 14th (next Thursday). The current Stay at Home order will change as well, emphasizing “Safe at Home” policies rather than “Stay at Home”.

  • The first of three Battelle Critical Care Decontamination Systems is up and running in Blacksburg. The additional units will be in Richmond and Newport News this week.

    • These systems sanitize PPE so they can be reused for healthcare workers.

  • The National Guard has been moving supplies and helping with logistics during the past two months. They have now also been helping with testing in congregate settings.
    Regarding the Eastern Shore COVID breakout in poultry factories: the local health districts, the CDC, and the poultry factories are currently undergoing testing for plant workers and local community members.Cases have also been monitored in factories in the Shenandoah valley.

 

Additional Data and Information

  • According to the VDH website:Virginia has a total of 122,788 individuals tested.
    • ​19,492 persons have tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 2,700 of those individuals have been hospitalized.
    • 684 of those individuals have lost their lives to this virus.
  • This virus has been shown to disproportionately affect the African American and Hispanic/Latino populations throughout the country. As such, Virginia has begun to collect race/ethnicity information. With the cases we 13,463 have racial data on: ​3,469 are African Americans. With the 12,353 cases we have ethnicity data on: 4,649 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.

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.

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.   
  • 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.

 

Community Outreach

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.

 

Comcast offers free internet, learning tools and much more

Free Xfinity WiFi For Everyone:      

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.  

No Disconnects or Late Fees for Xfinity Internet & Xfinity Mobile Customers:    

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. 

Support For University Students:      

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.  

Education

PROVIDING FREE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES- In partnership with Common Sense Media, we’ve curated thousands of hours of free educational programming into an education destination for Xfinity video customers to support remote learning for kids K-12.

 

COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall this Friday

This past Friday, I hosted my weekly COVID-19 town hall. I’ll be hosting these town halls every Friday at 1 pm on my Facebook page.

If you were not able to listen and/or would like to receive the information I presented, please email me at delhayala@house.virginia.gov.

 

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