The Governor will be moving his regularly scheduled press conferences to Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, at 2 PM. Today’s press conference had a few key updates which I will provide in this newsletter.
The Governor announced that starting this Friday, May 29th, Virginians will be required to wear face coverings whenever they are in most public areas such as a grocery store or a barber shop. More information will be available in the section below, but I just wanted to state how important this rule will be to protect everyone. We must all do our part to slow this virus’ spread, and wearing a face covering when we are out taking care of necessary errands will be one vital step forward. With that said, I know most of us in our community have already taken this step and to that, I say thank you!
In regards to Northern Virginia moving into Phase 1, our local leaders sent a letter to the Governor yesterday stating that we have currently met 4 of the 6 necessary criteria to enter Phase 1. More information will be provided this week on when Northern Virginia will move into Phase 1, but until then, please continue to do the right thing and stay at home!
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 39,342 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia.
- The percent positivity of COVID-19 cases continues to trend downward. Health capacity continues to be sufficient. Testing is increasing. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 trend slightly downward.
- Yesterday, Northern Virginia leaders sent a letter to the Governor stating Northern Virginia has met 4 of the 6 criteria required to move into Phase 1. More information will be available in a section further down this newsletter.
- Starting this coming Friday, everyone (10 years or older) in Virginia will be REQUIRED to wear a face covering whenever they are:
- Inside any and ALL brick & mortar retail establishments.
- Inside any and ALL personal care & grooming establishments.
- Inside places where people congregate.
- Inside food & beverage establishments, except when eating.
- On public transportation.
- When accessing state or local government services.
- Exceptions include: eating/drinking, exercising, you have trouble breathing or unable to remove the mask without help, or your health conditions prohibit wearing a face covering, and if you are under 10 years old (though the Governor strongly recommends that any children 3 years or older SHOULD wear a mask if possible).
- Information on possible face coverings you can use can be found here.
- The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry will develop COVID-19 Workplace Safety Emergency Standards.
- This will cover all employers, employees, and place of employment.
- It will help control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- It will address PPE, sanitization, access to employee exposure, and medical records and hazard pay.
- It will be approved by the VA Safety and Health Codes Board.
Additional Data and Information
- According to the VDH website:
39,342 persons have tested positive for COVID-19.
4,325 of those individuals have been hospitalized.
1,236 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 26,693 cases we have racial data on, 5,643 are African Americans. With the 25,637 cases we have ethnicity data on: 12,354 are Hispanic or Latino.
Northern Virginia’s Current Status Regarding Phase 1
Earlier this month, the Governor released the criteria for the state to move to Phase 1 of reopening the state, with the caveat that localities can delay their reopening if they feel they have not met this criteria.
While Virginia is in Phase 1, Northern Virginia remains in Phase 0.
Northern Virginia leaders have sent another letter to the Governor on Sunday, May 25th. This letter states that of the six key metrics health officials say is necessary for a safe reopening, Northern Virginia has met four of them. The two metrics Northern Virginia hasn’t met are: (1) a higher, necessary capacity of contact tracing and (2) an adequate supply of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE (while hospitals have enough PPE, outpatient facilities still report a less than adequate amount of PPE). More information will be provided as they become available.
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 61 begins Phase 1 on May 15th by easing certain restrictions on businesses and individuals in Virginia in response to the pandemic.
Executive Order 62 delays Executive Order 61’s Phase 1 opening in Northern Virginia by continuing Phase 0 restrictions.
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 Testing Sites
Walmarts in Dumfries and Manassas will offer no cost, drive-thru COVID-19 testing starting today. These will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7:00 am - 9:00 am.
Eligibility is restricted to first responders, health care providers, those with symptoms, and those in high risk groups. If interested, visit www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com to check eligibility.
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.
My Virtual Town Hall
Last 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 email@example.com.
My Contact Information
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call my office at: (804) 698-1051.
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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.