COVID-19 Update and Resources

March 14, 2020


      This past week has been one for the history books.  I was in Richmond on Thursday to finish the 2020 GA Session and vote on the state budget (which I will send an update on next week,) but the dominant public focus has been on the Coronavirus and how it will affect our local communities.

The situation has been rapidly changing.  

      Yesterday, the President declared a National Emergency in order to speed the response to the virus.  Earlier this week, a state of emergency was declared for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  In doing so, the Governor laid out steps that our state agencies are taking to limit the spread of the virus.  Yesterday, all Virginia public schools were directed to close for at least two weeks. You can read the Governor’s news release on the closings here.   Many private schools are also following that lead.  Most of our higher education institutions have made announcements in recent days that they are suspending classes and going to online or distance learning for the immediate future. 

      In light of the school closings, and with many schools focusing on online or distance learning, internet cost and connectivity could be challenging.  Comcast announced yesterday that they will be ramping up their Internet Essentials program to meet the needs of their low income clients in Comcast service territory.  You can read more information here about that program.   

     In the latest update as of 8:00AM this morning the Virginia Department of Health has confirmed 30 cases of COVID-19 in our Commonwealth. There has been 1 presumptive positive case in Harrisonburg.  The VDH website is an accurate and excellent source of information on how to prevent the transmission of the virus, and to see the latest number of cases.  It even shows a regional breakdown the number of cases. 

      VDEM (Virginia Department of Emergency Management) also is another informative site on COVID-19.  You can click here for their website.

      The CDC (Center for Diseases Control) website is an excellent source of information on prevention, FAQs and more.

      Additionally, to find out how our area hospitals are prepared and handling visitors, you can visit Sentara’s website here and Valley Health’s website here.

Here is a list of common sense daily measures we all can take in an effort to curb the spread and fight COVID -19: 

·         Stay home when sick. This includes staying home from work, school, errands, and travel for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone.

·         Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

·         If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

·         Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·         Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.

·         Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like phones, keyboards, and doorknobs.

·         Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, drink lots of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

      My legislative office remains open to assist constituents with matters concerning state government.  As we hear of any other resources over the coming days and weeks ahead I’ll be sharing those on my social media pages.   If we may be of service to you please call 540-437-1451 or email us at [email protected]


Mark Obenshain