Hanover County and other metro-Richmond localities as well as the Central Virginia Healthcare Coalition are intensifying their coordinated preparations to deal with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
The Central Virginia All Hazards Incident Management Team has been activated with emergency managers, first responders, health experts, and public information professionals reviewing roles and responsibilities. As a region, all are committed to working with our state and local partners to safeguard our residents and make sure we share the most current information available. The number of cases reported in Virginia was 17 as of Thursday, March 12, and the governor has declared a State of Emergency.
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.
Here are some ways you can help 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 of 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.
Citizens with questions can call the Health Department’s Medical Reserve Corps COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-ASK-VDH3. If the person answering the phone cannot answer your question directly, you could be referred to the main health district line at 804-365-4313.