There is currently no approved vaccine or medication to treat the Coronavirus, and everyone must do their civic duty to limit the spread of this highly infectious disease. The simplest of things, like staying home if you are sick, maintaining social distancing, washing your hands, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces will have a huge impact on limiting the spread the virus.
Both the County and Town governments are as prepared as they can be, given the present circumstances, to weather this storm. At present, both government centers are operational, but closed to the public, in order to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. All essential services remain fully operational, and first responders are accordingly prepared.
Many of you are concerned and simply want to know if you have the virus or not. While this is a valid and real concern, please realize that the County currently does not have the resources to test everyone. In order for this three-fold testing process to work, there need to be test kits (swabs), a viral transport media (special sample mailing container), and testing reagents at the State and private labs in order to derive test results. If any of these three components are out of stock in the national supply chain, the medical system will be unable to produce test results. While the production of these supplies continues to improve daily, it cannot keep pace with the spread of the virus. This is a nationwide supply chain issue, and is being addressed at the highest levels of our government.
In the coming days, it is likely the County or Town will see its first confirmed COVID-19 case. With this, it is absolutely imperative that everyone does their part, as discussed above. During this time, citizens are urged not to overwhelm the local medical system. There is a great team of medical providers at the local Valley Health offices and Warren Memorial Hospital, as well as local independent physicians. They are all prepared to provide the highest quality of care during this crisis. However, as good as they are, their resources are limited. Please call a Primary Care Physician if you are sick, to include having COVID-19 symptoms, and reserve the Emergency Room for only the most critically sick and injured patients. This will be a great help in enabling emergency care providers to assist those most in need in a timely and effective manner.
The Virginia Department of Health (Lord Fairfax Health District) has a local call center for general questions regarding COVID-19: (540) 771-3992. The call center is staffed by Health District nurses, and its hours of operation are 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. This call center gives residents the option of speaking with a local nurse for general questions instead of calling 1-877-ASK-VDH3 (1-877-275-8343). As always, if you are experiencing a true medical emergency, call 911 or report to the closest hospital’s emergency room for emergent treatment.
In the coming weeks, many residents may begin to experience cabin fever, and it is healthy to get outside and talk to neighbors, provided proper social distancing is ensured. The County’s local parks and trails are still open and provide a great opportunity to exercise and get some fresh air. Additionally, citizens can all help each other by only purchasing what they need for the near-term. This will increase the opportunity for everyone to be able to get the minimum essential supplies they need to get by. Residents are also encouraged to support local businesses and the local economy by continuing to utilize the expanded carry-out and delivery options provided by restaurants in the community.
Everyone needs to be physically and mentally prepared for this situation to continue through the end of summer. While not an official government release, a recent Columbia University research study indicates that if Virginians adhere to some control measures, the effects of the virus will peak in mid-June and taper off by August, though other studies indicate the timeline may be longer. This is what the President and Governor are talking about when they reference “flattening the curve”.
This is a rapidly changing situation, and the most current information is available on the following websites: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/. Please consult www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia. You can also visit the Warren County website https://www.warrencountyva.net/coronavirus-latest-information for the latest local COVID-19 information, as well as Like the County of Warren, VA Facebook page.
Thank you all for what you are doing to keep Warren County residents healthy – economically, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Let’s take care of each other and weather this storm together.