COVID-19

Madison has 14 cases of COVID-19, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

On Tuesday, numbers from the Virginia Department of Health reflected 275 cases of the virus in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District—126 in Culpeper, 105 in Fauquier, 14 in Madison, 27 in Orange and three in Rapphannock County. One week ago, the district had 148 cases of the virus. Twenty-four people in the district have been hospitalized due to the virus—10 in Culpeper, 10 in Fauquier, one in Madison and three in Orange. Four deaths have occurred in the district—two each in Culpeper and Fauquier.

The neighboring Thomas Jefferson Health District had 261 cases Monday, up from 224 cases last week—80 in Albemarle, 51 in Charlottesville, 73 in Fluvanna, nine in Greene, 41 in Louisa and seven in Nelson. The district has had 59 people hospitalized due to the virus—16 in Albemarle, 13 in Charlottesville, 19 in Fluvanna two in Greene and nine in Louisa. Twelve people in the district have died as a result of the virus—four in Albemarle, two in Charlottesville, five in Fluvanna and one in Greene.

Statewide, 82,753 people have been tested as of Tuesday with 14,339 cases of the virus, 2,165 hospitalizations and 492 deaths.

Using guidance from the CDC, Governor Ralph Northam said Monday the state can begin reopening when cases continue to decline for 14 days. The CDC guidelines call for a phased reopening approach, the first of which is the 14 day downward trend. He said testing is the key to being able to reopen.

Meanwhile, local, state and federal declarations of emergency remain in place.

In Madison, local officials continue to be in contact with the Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia Department of Health. Madison County Emergency Management Coordinator John Sherer said the guidance changes daily. He said the longterm care facility case within the county, which was announced April 10, is of particular concern with officials making “what if” plans should it spread. As for personal protective equipment (PPE), Sherer said it’s well-stock and first responders are following infectious disease protocols.

“We’re doing everything we need to be doing,” he said. “The biggest issue right now is the elderly and those with immune deficinecies.”

EMS Director Noah Hillstrom said he appreciates the teamwork between all of the county agencies and said his department is doing the best it can.

Sheriff Erik Weaver said his department is responding to a lot of calls and is patrolling the roads near the White Oak Canyon and Old Rag parking lots. Despite the trails and the park being closed, Weaver said people are still attempting to access them.

“Everyone is doing an exceptional job,” board of supervisors chairman Clay Jackson said.

Meanwhile, local restaurants are offering take-out and curbside pickup. Wineries and breweries are also following suit with some offering delivery and shipping.

The governor’s stay at home order lasts through June 10. The order requires Virginians to remain in their places of residence except to obtain food, beverages, goods or other services from essential businesses; seek medical attention, essential social services, governmental services, assistance from law enforcement or emergency services; take care of older individuals, animals or visiting the home of a family member; travel required by court order to facilitate child custody, visitation or child care; engage in outdoor activity including exercise providing individuals remain six feet apart; travel to and from one’s residence, place or worship or work; travel to and from an educational institution; volunteer with organizations that provide charitable or social services; and leave one’s residence due to a reasonable fear for health or safety, at the direction of law enforcement or at the direction of another government agency. The order also cancelled all reservations at private campgrounds for stays of less than 14 nights and required higher education institutions to cease all in-person classes and instruction and cancel all gatherings of more than 10 individuals. The institutions are allowed to continue remote learning and perform critical research or essential functions providing that social distancing requirements are maintained. An earlier order closed K-12 public and private schools through the end of the school year; banned gatherings of more than 10 people; closed recreation and entertainment businesses; prohibited dine-in at eating or beverage establishments; and mandated that essential businesses could stay open, but must adhere to social distancing and sanitizing practices. That order remains in place through May 8. Essential businesses are grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers that sell food and beverage products; medical, laboratory and vision supply retailers; electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tables and other technological items; automotive parts, accessories and tire retailers and 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 and feed stores; printing and office supply stores; and laundromats and dry cleaners. Non-essential businesses must limit all in-person shopping to 10 patrons within the establishment at one time, adhere to social distancing and sanitize common surfaces. Professional businesses were encouraged to utilize telework as much as possible. Businesses in violation may face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. Northam’s mandates do not apply to health care or medical services; access to essential services for low-income residents like food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies or operations of government.

Most patients with COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms, but a small proportion can have more serious illness. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms can appear within 14 days of exposure.

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, RRHD encourages the following effective behaviors:

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

As the COVID-19 outbreak expands, recommendations may change. RRHD is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide the best possible guidance for the community.

For general questions about COVID-19, community members may call the RRHD COVID-19 Hotline at 540-316-6302. For the latest on COVID-19, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus

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