Local COVID-19 Task Force Issues Update

Editor’s note: The Rockbridge area COVID-19 Task Force, comprised of emergency management representatives of the three localities issued the following update today.

The area COVID-19 Task Force has continued to meet to discuss on-going efforts involving Rockbridge County, and cities of Lexington and Buena Vista relating to reopenings, economic impacts, VDH and CDC public health recommendations as well as local testing access.

Our goal of hosting five COVID-19 test sites within our area was successfully completed and with the assistance of the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia National Guard over 600 tests were administered. Additionally, the National Guard has been in the area working to provide “fit test” training on the proper wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), namely medical grade masks at our long-term care facilities.

The Task Force wants to remind everyone, that we all can do our part to help keep case counts low by following CDC and VDH guidelines of wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, and having proper personal and communal space hygiene. These measures remain the best defense against COVID-19. VDH has also provided guidelines cautioning against travel to “hot spots” both in the United States and abroad.

The Task Force is meeting weekly with our institutes of higher education in an effort to create a plan to safely return students to our area, while following orders given by Governor Northam. Weekly meetings continue with our regional Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Health, and Biweekly with our local stakeholders.

 

The Task Force wishes to remind those in the Rockbridge area of the resources available to meet the following concerns:

 

I have lost some or all of my income because of the coronavirus pandemic ...

• Call 1-866-832-2363 to apply for unemployment benefits.

• Call the local Virginia Employment Commission Office at 540-332-7750 for localized assistance with career counseling.

 

My business has been impacted by COVID-19 …

• Contact the chamber of commerce at 463-5375.

• Call Rockbridge area Economic Development at 464-9662.

• Call Buena Vista Economic Development at 261-8616 for resource assistance.

 

I am worried I have coronavirus/COVID-19 …

• Call the Rockbridge-Lexington Health Department at 463-3185 or Buena Vista Health Department at 261-2149 for general information on public health.

• To reach the regional COVID-19 VDH hotline, call 1-855-945-8378.

• Call an urgent care center or your primary care doctor if you have shortness of breath, fever and dry cough.

 

I have questions regarding the upcoming public-school year, or questions on the Summer Feeding Program for my school age child …

• Call Rockbridge County School Board office at 463-7386.

• Call the Lexington School Board office at 463-7146.

• Call the Buena Vista School Board office at 261-2129.

 

I am a senior who needs help at my home …

• Contact the Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services at 463-7143.

• Call 211 for the state resource hotline for all assistance programs and to speak with a state representative on support programs that may be available.

• We also encourage seniors in need to contact their local church for support and/or assistance as many have community programs.

 

For more information on COVID-19, the following online resources are recommended:

- CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/, or the VDH website at  http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/. For those without internet, VDH has a regional hotline, 1-855-949-8378, as well as a state hotline at 1-877-ASK-VDH3.

Additional information regarding local COVID-19 concerns can be found on the following sites:

https://www.co.rockbridge.va.us/AlertCenter.aspx;

http://lexingtonva.gov/.

https://www.buenavistava.org/covid-19.

 

Firework safety tips for the holiday weekend and throughout the year:

Follow state and local laws regarding legal and approved fireworks. Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting. Never ignite devices in a container. Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!