COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
-Shortness of breath
In response to the spread of COVID-19, Congress has passed three bills into law to assist individuals and small businesses with effects of this pandemic. H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Together, these laws dramatically expand critical financial lifelines for families, establish new benefits and protections for workers, create new tools for small businesses to meet payroll and other expenses, and provide relief for students and schools. This Families First Coronavirus Constituent Service Resource Toolkit (Spanish version can be found here) will help you understand all the benefits that are available to you and your community — and how to access them.
Additional information about the coronavirus from the CDC can be found here.
Additional information about the coronavirus from the Virginia Department of Health can be found here.
Additional information about the coronavirus from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can be found here.
Additional information about direct cash payments and relief for small businesses can be found here.
Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.
Situation in Virginia
Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia in response to the continued spread of COVID-19. You can read more about Governor Northam's emergency declaration here.
On March 30th, Governor Northam issued a statewide Stay at Home order which takes effect immediately and will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order. The order directs all Virginians to stay home except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.
On March 23rd, Governor Northam ordered all K-12 schools in Virginia to close for the remainder of the school year in response to the continued spread of COVID-19. The Governor has also directed all Virginia institutions of higher education to stop in-person classes and instruction.
Critical services will continue to operate, such as police, fire departments and trash removal.
The following recreation and entertainment businesses are considered non-essential and must close to the public:
- Theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, museums, and other indoor entertainment centers;
- Fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities;
- Beauty salons, barber shops, spas, massage parlors, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed that would not allow compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain six feet apart;
- Racetracks and historic horse racing facilities;
- Bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, arts and craft facilities, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, indoor shooting ranges, public and private social clubs, and all other places of indoor public amusement.
The following retail businesses are considered essential and may remain open during normal business hours:
- Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations;
- Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;
- Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;
- Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;
- Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;
- Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
- Beer, wine, and liquor stores;
- Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;
- Retail located within healthcare facilities;
- Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
- Pet stores and feed stores;
- Printing and office supply stores; and
- Laundromats and dry cleaners.
All essential retail establishments must, to the extent possible, adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. Any brick-and-mortar retail business not listed above must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment, adhere to social distancing recommendations, sanitize common surfaces, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.
For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.
Also, there have been text message disinformation campaigns warning of an imminent nationwide lockdown - those have been confrimed to be false. In response to the spread of disinformation, FEMA has set up a webpage to help the public distinguish between fact and rumors in regards to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remember to take preventative actions that are always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
- The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. More information on the face coverings can be found here.
IF YOU FEEL SICK with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical care. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. More information on what to do if you are sick with COVID-19 can be found here.