Local governments remain concerned about the spread of COVID-19. Today, regional cooperation and precautionary planning took a new step forward as more than 50 emergency managers, first responders, health experts, and public information professionals met to review roles and responsibilities.
Leadership of the city of Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Goochland counties and the Central Virginia Healthcare Coalition has authorized the activation of the Central Virginia All Hazards Incident Management Team to help guide the region’s preparations for, and response to, a potential local occurrence of COVID-19.
As a region, we are committed to working with our state and local partners to safeguard our residents and make sure we share the most current information available. As of this writing, Virginia has zero confirmed cases of COVID-19. The immediate health risk to Virginians is considered to be low at the current time.
Health experts say people of all ages are susceptible to the novel coronavirus. It causes mild illness in most people, though it can cause severe illness in some, including older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes.
For now, the region’s health experts and emergency managers agree on some simple steps you can take to slow the spread of the virus:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in a wastebasket, then wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hand.
- Stay home if you feel sick.
- If you have a fever, stay home until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- Avoid close contact with others and seek medical treatment if necessary.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has been monitoring this outbreak closely since mid-January, and many of its communicable disease epidemiologists, all its emergency preparedness staff, and others are spending the majority of their time on the COVID-19 response. They are in constant communication with local health districts, governments, school systems, states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other partners.
While this situation is changing regularly, the region will continue to work together to ensure the safety and health of its citizens. Together, we can work to keep our region as safe and healthy as possible.
Virginia Department of Health (VDH): www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019