COVID-19 Update - April 27, 2020

Starting on April 25th, our country has begun observing National Infant Immunization Week. This annual observance has occurred for over 25 years.

The greatest minds throughout the world are working day and night to find a vaccine for this new virus. Now more than ever, we must keep everyone in our community, especially the youngest, safe from health issues.

As we are entering week seven of our Stay-At-Home orders, 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 12,535 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia.
  • Today, Virginia will be receiving 800,000 gloves, 300,000 surgical masks, and more in a new shipment of PPE, which we have procured through the state’s contract with Northfield.
    • We are also expecting 14,000 test swabs from FEMA that will be sent to the state lab.
  • ​The Department of Corrections has made 470,000 masks, distributed to those incarcerated in our correctional facilities, as well as to state employees such as guards and law enforcement agents.
  • In the last few days, we have increased statewide testing capacity to about 4,000 per day (an increase from the 2,000 per day from last Monday).
    • ​Our state’s priority testing areas include: public housing, prisons, and long term-care facilities.
  • Virginia has 10 poultry processing facilities, primarily in the Shenandoah Valley and the Eastern Shore. We received data from Eastern Shore facilities that show a rise in COVID-19 cases among these factories’ workers. Workers in similar facilities in Maryland and Delaware share this same experience.
    • To protect these vulnerable workers and the Eastern Shore’s hospitals’ capacity, Governor Northam, along with Governor Hogan of Maryland and Governor Carney, have requested the President for assistance from the federal government for a fully coordinated approach to this dynamic situation.
    • The CDC has also recently released interim guidance to the facilities on how they can protect their workers.
  • To address the rise in need for mental health treatment due to the pandemic, the Governor announced a $2 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This will help provide treatment for those dealing with substance abuse as well as behavioral health issues.
  • GO Virginia, our economic grant program will use $14.6 million in its funding for a new Economic Resilience and Recovery program. This program will help Virginian businesses recover from the economic impact of this pandemic.
  • The Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved allocation of nearly $100 million in public transportation funding that Virginia is receiving through the federal CARES Act. This will help offset the revenue losses experienced by local governments and transit agencies.
  • The Governor, last Friday, issued an order to move the May 5th local elections to May 19th and encourages voters to vote by absentee ballot. The last day to request a mail-in absentee ballot for these elections will be May 12th.
    • You can apply for an absentee ballot, as well as review further information, here.

 

Additional Data and Information

  • According to the VDH website:Virginia has a total of 80,180 individuals tested.
    • 13,535 persons have tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 2,066 of those individuals have been hospitalized.
    • 458 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 9,093 have race/ethnicity data on: ​2,487 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.

 ** UPDATE: New Executive Orders**

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.

 

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

This past Friday, I hosted my COVID-19 Update Town Hall. I'll be hosting these town halls every Friday at 1 pm on my Facebook page. If you are unable to watch and/or you'd like the material I presented, please email us at delhayala@house.virginia.gov!

 

My Contact Information

Email to: delhayala@house.virginia.gov, 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.

 

Sincerely,

Hala Ayala