This week, Governor Northam has talked about the Three (3) Phase Plan to open Virginia back up. He expects the first phase to begin next Friday, May 15th. This is of course subject to change if it seems that Virginia is not ready according to the data behind COVID-19 cases.

I’ve heard a variety of viewpoints from many folks in the 51st District, as well as throughout Virginia, on the reopening of the state. Please know that every step we take as a state will be done with care and consideration based on the information we have. We will not just reopen our state to the way it was before the pandemic began so long as the science tells us we are not ready.

The phase plan to reopen the state ensures we continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines like staying at home most of the day. I will provide more information on what Phase 1 looks like in the section below, but it will basically be a very soft opening of certain establishments like salons or gyms. If we do begin Phase 1 next week, everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable, should still stay at home as much as they can for theirs and everyone’s safety.

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 22,342 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia.

  • This week we will hire approximately 1000 contact tracers (currently we have 325 contact tracers with the Department of Health).

  • The Governor is still hopeful that Phase 1 will begin next Friday, May 15th.

  • As mentioned before, Phase 1 will not be a complete opening of the state.

  • For the past few days, no hospitals in Virginia have reported any PPE difficulty.

  • Phase 1 will include: encouraging people to stay at home, no social gatherings of more than 10 individuals, continued social distancing, continued teleworking, face coverings recommended in public, revised business limitations. During Phase 1:

    • ​Non essential retail stores can open with 50% capacity.

    • Restaurants can have outdoor seating at 50% capacity (in addition to takeout and delivery).

    • Entertainment and amusement establishments will remain closed.

    • Fitness and exercise establishments are limited to outdoor fitness.

    • Beaches will remain for exercise and fishing only.

    • Places of worship can have 50% indoor capacity (along with drive in services remaining).

    • Personal grooming establishments must be appointment only, adhere to strict social distancing requirements, and face coverings must be used.

    • Private campgrounds can open.

    • State parks will continue to be day use with overnight restrictions lifted slowly in phases.

    • Child care facilities will be open for working families.

    • Summer camps will remain closed.

  • Phase 1 restrictions will be a floor, not a ceiling. Local governments can continue with current restrictions if they feel it is necessary.

 

Additional Data and Information

  • According to the VDH website: Virginia has a total of 143,220 individuals tested.
    • ​22,342 persons have tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 3,059 of those individuals have been hospitalized.
    • 812 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 15,715 have racial data on: ​3,831 are African Americans. With the 14,699 cases we have ethnicity data on: 5,857 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.

 

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My Virtual Town Hall

Earlier today, 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