Coronavirus

Coronavirus

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.

-Fever
-Cough 
-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

For a list of frequently asked questions on the government response to COVID-19, click 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Stay at Home order which takes effect immediately and will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order.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. 

 

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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

 

More on Coronavirus

May 21, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, in a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, House and Senate education leaders called on the Education Department to rescind its “equitable service” guidance, which would redirect COVID-19 relief funding away from students in public schools to fund services for students in private schools, regardless of their wealth or residence.
May 20, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, in a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) called on the Department to take proactive steps to help more than 14 million displaced college students maintain access to health care coverage. In the letter, the Members note that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students who rely on health insurance plans sponsored by their colleges or universities may face a break in coverage as these institutions remain closed.
May 20, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter to Department of Education Secretary DeVos, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) demanded an explanation for the Department illegally garnishing the wages on student loan borrowers amid the COVID-19—a direct violation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27. In the letter, Chairman Scott notes that as recently as May 6, employers indicated that they could not stop garnishing wages because they had not received a letter from the Department directing them to do so.
May 15, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House passed a fifth legislative relief package—the Heroes Act—in response to the COVID-19 crisis. “By passing the Heroes Act today, the House of Representatives took an important step toward confronting the full scale of this pandemic. The Heroes Act dedicates nearly $1 trillion in emergency relief to help states and local government avert devastating cuts, particularly to education, public safety, and basic services.
May 15, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement ahead of the 66th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education. “This year’s anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education comes at a pivotal and perilous moment in the fight for educational equity. Last month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that students have a constitutional right to a basic education. But the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the unequal distribution of resources and opportunity that ­­prevents many low-income and Black students from getting the education they deserve.
May 15, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) called on the Education Department to abandon its plan to divert emergency education funding, which was intended to provide COVID-19 relief for public schools, toward private school vouchers. The letter comes after the Department announced its intention to use a vast majority of the $300 million it received for discretionary grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to create a program that mirrors the Department’s longstanding, widely rejected proposal to create a federal school voucher program.
May 13, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott issued the following statement after House Democrats introduced a fifth legislative package—the Heroes Act—in response to the COVID-19 crisis. “As result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our students and schools are facing unprecedented educational and financial challenges, our workers are experiencing unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression, and our public health care system is straining to meet the demand for testing and treatment of this deadly disease.
May 12, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) applauded the introduction of H.R. 6800, The Heroes Act, in the House of Representatives today. The Chairmen of the three Committees worked together to draft the health care provisions in the bill, which continue the House’s work of providing the necessary resources and support to respond to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
May 12, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democrats today introduced The Heroes Act, a bold and comprehensive coronavirus response bill that will meet the challenge this pandemic poses to our nation. The more than $3 trillion legislation protects the lives and livelihoods of the American people.
May 11, 2020 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently approved Virginia’s plan to begin implementing the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program, which provides emergency food assistance to students in low-income families in the event of prolonged school closures. The P-EBT program was created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which was the second COVID-19 emergency legislative package enacted by Congress on March 18, 2020.