March 2020

F.J. "Jerry" Daughtrey, Jr.

October 25, 1930 - July 18, 2020

F.J. (Jerry) Daughtrey, Jr. of Emporia and Greensville County, Va. died on Saturday, July 18, 2020 at the age of 89.

He was the son of F.J. and Gertrude B. Daughtrey who preceded him in death as well as his wife Judy W. Daughtrey. He is survived by his son Douglas Daughtrey and his wife Brenda, a step-daughter Sandy Webb and her husband David, two grandchildren, Lauren Ashley Collins and Dylan Allen, all of the Emporia area. Jerry was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Emporia, where he served as Elder for a number of years. He was quite active in public service, civic organizations and local Government where he served as president of City Council during his two terms. He served on a number of boards including the Industrial Development Corporation, as its president, the board of Citizens National Bank, the Emporia Country Club and the Virginia Automatic Merchandising. He was a member of the Boy Scout Order of the Arrow and chairman of Explorer Post #222, a former Jaycee and Rotarian, and a member of the R & R Hunt Club. Jerry was among the founders of the Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad and served as the first President. He was President and developer of the Emporia Shopping Center. Jerry enjoyed boat racing, golf, fishing and hunting. He was passionate about hisyears in politics, the Rescue Squad as well as his love for his church.

A Memorial Service will be held at a later date due to the Covid 19 pandemic. In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad of Emporia or First Presbyterian Church of Emporia.

 

Health Care Providers Fear Cancellation of Telehealth Coverage After Pandemic Ceases

 
 
By Rebecca Elrod
 
FAIRFAX, Va. --- Meg Fregoso, a nurse practitioner, used to see patients who previously had a lung transplant at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Now she uses telehealth to meet patients. 
 
Fregoso is one of many health care providers offering more telehealth services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, providers are concerned that they will no longer be reimbursed for these services once coronavirus restrictions are lifted. 
 
The coverage of telehealth for physical therapy services was rare before COVID-19, according to Kara Gainer, director of regulatory affairs at the Alexandria-based American Physical Therapy Association. Now, Medicare and most insurance companies are covering more telehealth services due to the coronavirus, Gainer said. 
 
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded Medicare coverage due to COVID-19, according to the organization’s website. However, the agency will reduce payments, on Jan. 1, 2021, to more than three dozen categories of health care providers, according to APTA.
 
Challenges still remain for physical therapists as many are uncertain about payment, according to a survey done by the APTA
 
Gainer works with different groups, such as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, to advocate for the continuation of coverage for health care providers. 
 
“Everyone would be supportive of receiving reimbursement for telehealth services at the same rate as receiving reimbursement for in-person services,” Gainer said.  
 
Reimbursement is the payment that health insurers send to health care providers for giving a medical service, according to an article by Verywell Health, a website that provides health information.
 
In the past, Inova considered using telehealth to treat post lung transplant patients, Fregoso said. However since most insurance providers didn’t reimburse this type of service, it wasn’t commonly used. Now, Fregoso and other providers are reimbursed for telehealth visits.
 
“With everything with COVID, it became kind of critical,” Fregoso said.
 
Telehealth uses technology like  messages, phone calls and live video conference meetings to provide health care services, according to the American Telemedicine Association.
 
Jade Bender-Burnett, a physical therapist who serves patients with spinal cord and brain injuries at NeuroPT in Falls Church, used telehealth to serve patients before COVID-19 and has continued to use it. Bender-Burnett spoke about how COVID-19 made telehealth more accessible. 
 
“One of our biggest barriers to providing virtual treatment sessions has always been reimbursement,” Bender-Burnett said.

Some patients, like Kathy Lindsey, find telehealth appointments more beneficial than visiting the doctor in-person. Lindsey sees an endocrinologist in Fairfax County. She began using telehealth to see her endocrinologist because of COVID-19.

Given the option she would like to continue using telehealth services because it is convenient and efficient, Lindsey said. 

Telehealth’s more prominent role in health care will make private insurance companies and Medicare likely continue to cover these services, according to Gainer. Congress will have to act to ensure continued coverage because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services does not have the authority to make the coverage permanent, Gainer said. 

Legislation has been introduced that would make telehealth coverage permanent for therapy providers, according to Gainer. It is likely the discussion regarding telehealth and introduction of other bills will occur in Congress in the coming months, Gainer said.

“The landscape is forever changed,” Gainer said.

John Stuart Prince, M.D.

November 30, 1922-May 19, 2020

John Stuart Prince, M.D. of Emporia died May 19, 2020 at the Eugene H. Bloom Retirement Center in Emporia. He was born in Stony Creek, VA on November 30, 1922, the third son of William Daniel Prince, M.D. and Grace Houser Prince. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jane Holland Prince; their four children, John Stuart Prince, Jr., M.D. of Richmond; Martha Jane Prince of Emporia; Nancy Prince Riddick (William H. Riddick III) of Smithfield, VA; and David Holland Prince of Emporia.

He was especially proud of his five grandchildren, Anne Stuart Riddick, William Henry Riddick IV, Thomas Whitfield Riddick, John Stuart Prince III, and Jordan Elaine Prince. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Virginia Anne Prince, and four brothers, William Daniel Prince, Jr., David Milton Prince, Joseph Dugger Prince, and Benjamin Thomas Prince, M.D.

John grew up in Stony Creek, enjoying a life of hunting, fishing and baseball. He graduated from Stony Creek High School in 1940 and attended Virginia Tech until 1943 when he left to join the U.S. Navy. After the war, studying under the G.I. Bill, he completed an agronomy degree at Virginia Tech and post graduate studies in preparation for the entrance to the Medical College of Virginia, now Commonwealth University. He received his M.D. degree in 1952.

He and an MCV classmate established a medical practice in Emporia, the Prince Squire Medical Center, where he worked for sixty years and retired at age 90. He helped to organize and establish Greensville Memorial Hospital in Emporia and was a charter member of its medical staff. He served three terms as chief of the medical staff and later was on the board of the Southern Virginia Medical Center.

His medical affiliations included the Southside Medical Society, Virginia Medical Society, American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

John was a longtime member of Main Street United Methodist Church in Emporia. He served as a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Southside Virginia from 1976 until 1998 when he was elected its first director emeritus.

He was an avid reader. He never lost his interest in agriculture and he was always interested in history, preservation, genealogy. Playing golf was a favorite pastime.

The family would like to thank his caregivers and the staff of Eugene H. Bloom Retirement Center for his excellent care.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute in his memory to a charity of your choice. Due to the coronavirus, a graveside service for the immediate family was held at Emporia Cemetery.

Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com.

 

Gwendolyn Francis Vincent

October 4, 1950-May 4, 2020

Gwendolyn Francis Vincent, 69, of Skippers, VA., entered Heaven already with a pair of wings to be with her Lord and Savior on Friday, May 1, 2020. Gwen was born on October 14, 1950 in Colonial Heights, VA. She was preceded in death by her daughter Amanda Emerson. She is survived by her devoted husband, James Vincent, two grandsons, Dillon and Owen Emerson, her son-in-law, James Emerson and many extended family members. Gwen worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the Petersburg, VA., Community for over thirty years.

A private graveside service will be held at Corinth Church Cemetery with Rev. Larry Grizzard officiating.

A celebration of Gwen’s life will be held at a later date.

In Lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of your choice or plant a flower or tree in her memory.

Online condolences may be left at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Reopen Virginia Protesters Bombard Capitol With Honks

By Chip Lauterbach, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- Horns blared and flags waved from vehicle windows as hundreds of Virginians converged Wednesday on Capitol Square to protest restrictions implemented by Gov. Ralph Northam during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Protesters reiterated the message of similar demonstrations taking place in state capitals across the country. The groups hope to influence governors and lawmakers to scale back strict social distancing guidelines and allow businesses and churches to reopen.

“At first we were compliant,” said protester David Decker. “Now it seems like it’s being forced upon us more and more, and we’re absolutely sick of it.”

Many protesters said they disagree that liquor stores are considered an essential business, while many smaller businesses were ordered to close.

“I am against any policy that gives liberty to a corporation over the citizens,” said Jeffery Torres. “Corporations get their interests served while the interests of citizens get ignored.”

A small group of around 20 people -- some brought the entire family -- gathered near the Capitol Square entrance. Few wore masks or observed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s suggested social distancing recommendation of 6 feet of space.

Virginia imposed strict social distancing guidelines in late March. Northam issued a series of executive orders closing nonessential businesses and outlining which businesses could remain open. The stay at home order was later extended until June 10. Restaurants closed dining rooms and shifted to carry-out and delivery only. Recreational and entertainment facilities were shuttered, along with beauty salons, spas, massage parlors and other nonessential establishments. Essential businesses such as grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies, pet and feed stores, electronic and hardware retailers and banks can remain open.

The Virginia Department of Health reports approximately 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the commonwealth as of Wednesday. Northam and health officials maintain that social distancing is keeping cases from skyrocketing.

Unemployment claims have had a dizzying ascent, with the Virginia Employment Commission reporting on April 16 that 410,762 claims were filed since March 21. 

The event was not without counter protesters, among them Dr. Erich Bruhn, a surgeon from Winchester. Bruhn wore a facemask and carried a sign that read, “You have no right to put us all at risk, go home.”

“I came out here today to tell the other side that the majority of people do not agree with this,” Bruhn said. “We want the economy to open up, but it is just too soon according to most scientists.”

As the interview with Bruhn was wrapping up, a female protester leaned out of her car window and shouted at Bruhn, “How long are we supposed to stay inside?”

Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, who has announced her intent to run for governor next year, voiced support for the rally. 

“There will be a number of people at this rally, and it has been well publicized,” Chase said during a Facebook livestream. “I think it sends a great message to the governor to reopen Virginia in a smart, wise way.” 

Protesters drove around the Capitol perimeter honking their horns for three hours. The event coincided with the General Assembly reconvening to respond to Northam’s vetoes and amendments. The House of Delegates, which met under a tent on Capitol grounds, was bombarded by the ongoing ruckus. There were no incidents of violence reported, though one Capitol police officer joked he had a headache from all the noise.

‘Never really off the clock’: Bringing the Newsroom Home During COVID-19

Marc Davis, sports director at NBC12, is working remotely and has adapted to working from home and using the social distancing guidelines while doing his job.

By Noah Fleischman, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- Marc Davis closes his laptop in his one-bedroom apartment and turns on the television. His day at work is over, but his work mind hasn’t shut off. His office for the time being, like many in America, is in the kitchen.

Davis, the sports director at NBC 12 (WWBT-TV) in Richmond, said on a normal day when he’s not at work he checks his phone periodically just to keep an eye on the developing news. Now, since he’s working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, separating work and home has become more difficult.

“The days feel longer,” Davis said. “You can’t really separate that work space from home space.”

His station started telework almost five weeks ago and Davis found ways to take his mind off work: putting the phone down across the room and playing a game of MLB The Show or spending time with his girlfriend.

“I’ve just been making sure that I get the time to myself when I’m not working,” Davis said. “Just kind of tune out work for a little bit instead of constantly looking at my phone or Twitter or something like that.”

Davis is like many other reporters in Virginia and around the nation working from home during the coronavirus outbreak. Wayne Epps Jr., the Virginia Commonwealth University sports beat writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has worked from home for the past month.

Epps said the transition has been smooth, partly because he’s used to working remotely from games.

“The fortunate thing for me and some other writers is that we did work from home or away from the office [at arenas, for example] often anyway, so we already had everything we needed to work from home,” Epps wrote in a Twitter direct message.

Epps has conducted all of his interviews over the phone or used Zoom to respect the social distancing guidelines.

Since sports ground to a halt, reporters have come up with creative stories and segments. Davis has covered sports angles in the coronavirus stories. When Home Team Grill in Richmond closed due to the pandemic, Davis used it as a way to show how the NCAA men’s basketball tournaments help drive local business.

“As a sports guy, you’ve got to be able to adjust and be flexible and show that you can do different things and different types of journalism,” Davis said.

Epps and the Richmond Times-Dispatch sports department have chronicled different sports rivalries in Virginia since there are no games occurring.

After returning to Richmond from Brooklyn, New York, where he was covering the Atlantic 10 men’s basketball tournament, Davis jumped in to help the news department with its coronavirus coverage.

Davis hadn’t covered non-sports news in years, but he used his experience as a news photographer from his first year in the television business.

“You’re dealing with different topics, different things, people who may be a little more sensitive to the topic you’re talking about,” Davis said. “There’s a lot we do in sports that can also apply to news as well.”

Davis made news packages for two weeks, helping with the coronavirus coverage. Then, he went back to making sports packages, but tied them back to the coronavirus, including how coronavirus has impacted a local gym.

Davis follows guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control, and conducts most interviews through video conferencing applications such as Zoom or FaceTime. Davis said he wasn’t fond of virtual interviews before the COVID-19 pandemic, opting to do his interviews in person.

Now, he leaves it up to the interview subject to decide if they want to do it online or in person.

“I will do whatever makes you comfortable,” Davis said. “It’s probably going to change the ways I have when it goes back to normal, being open [to virtual interviews].”

Davis said he conducted five interviews using video conferencing in a week alone.

Davis doesn’t know when things will return to normal and he can return back to his desk, but for now he’s working to balance work and home life.

“We work in a business that you never really turn off,” Davis said. “Stories are always happening, there’s always things to keep an eye on. You might get home, but you’re never really all the way off the clock.”

Some lawmakers view minimum wage delay as lesser of two evils

By Will Gonzalez, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va -- Labor advocates and Virginia legislators worried the recently passed bill to increase minimum wage might die during the reconvened General Assembly session Wednesday.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s amendment deferred the start date of the original bill by four months in response to the economic blow dealt to the state from the coronavirus pandemic. The recommendation was one of many made to trim the $135 billion, two-year budget passed in the spring. Republican lawmakers wanted to reject the amendment in order to stall the passage of the bill and have the governor amend it further.

During the relocated Senate floor session held at the Science Museum of Virginia, Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham, argued that now is a risky time to consider raising the minimum wage given the COVID-19 crisis. He said the legislature should reject the governor’s recommendation and send the bill back for reconsideration.

“Voting ‘no’ on this amendment keeps this issue alive,” Obenshain said. “It sends it back to the governor, and the governor has one more chance to do what’s right, not just for businesses, but for workers.”

Lawmakers who oppose minimum wage increases argued that those working minimum wage jobs in Virginia are young people entering the workforce, not people trying to support families. Other legislators pointed to the essential workers now serving the public from the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, many of whom make minimum wage. 

“Quite frankly I find it hard to believe we’ve got people in here who don’t think somebody working full time in any job should earn at least $19,600 a year,” said Senate majority leader Richard Saslaw, D-Fairfax. “There’s no one in here … that would work for that kind of wage. No one.”

There were impassioned pleas from several House members to accept the recommendation instead of risking the bill being vetoed, though one delegate voiced resentment at having to make the choice. Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, said the COVID-19 crisis has spotlit “one of the most glaring contradictions in our economy” -- that workers paid the least are often deemed most essential to society.

“We are saying to these people ‘you are not worth a pay raise come January,’” Carter said. “I’m not gonna fault anyone that votes ‘yes’ on this, for taking the sure thing four months later rather than taking the chance, but if that’s what we’re gonna do ... I can’t be any part of it.” Carter did not cast a vote on the amendment.

Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Prince William, said that some legislators’ notion that families don’t depend on minimum wage is a myth.

“I’m glad they acknowledge that there are people in Virginia who cannot live off minimum wage,” Guzman said. “Actually, what they do is they get a second job, or a third job in order to make ends meet.” Guzman immigrated to the U.S. from Peru at the age of 18 and worked three jobs to afford a one bedroom apartment.

The House of Delegates voted 49-45 to accept Northam’s amendment to their bill. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax made the tie-breaking Senate vote when its version ended in a 20-20 tie.

The identical bills, introduced by Sen. Saslaw and Del. Jeion Ward, D-Hampton, originally would have raised the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2021. The governor’s amendment pushes the start to May 1, 2021.

The wage will then increase to $11 in 2022, $12 in 2023 and by another $1.50 in 2025 and 2026. Every subsequent year the bill is to be re-amended to adjust the minimum wage to reflect the consumer price index.

Virginia’s cost of living index is very close to the national average, but it ranks in the top four among states where the minimum wage equals the federal rate of $7.25, according to an analysis of data from the Missouri Economic Research and Development Center.

Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia, said now is not the time for Virginia to turn its back on low wage workers.

“We have been fighting for a decade to push for people who are working hard to make ends meet, to support their families and to be able to do so with dignity,” Scholl said. “That’s what raising the minimum wage is about.”

Northam signs bill to regulate ‘Wild West’ CBD market

By Jeffrey Knight, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam recently signed a bill that would define hemp extract, such as CBD, as food and usher in state regulations on these products. 

Senate Bill 918, patroned by Sen. David Marsden, D-Fairfax, will help guide the budding industrial hemp industry in Virginia by regulating facility conditions and requirements for the production of hemp-derived products intended for human consumption. 

This bill also allows the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to regulate and enforce certain standards for hemp extract, including labeling requirements, identifying contaminants and batch testing.

Charlotte Wright, a hemp farmer based in Brunswick County and owner of the CBD business Hemp Queenz, said she feels encouraged by Marsden’s bill. 

“It gives validity to the CBD industry,” Wright said. “Right now, there is no testing required, no labeling, you have no idea what is in it. It’s like the Wild West.” 

However, Wright is worried about the federal law and said keeping to that level of THC makes it difficult to produce competitive CBD products. 

Hemp plants can not exceed THC levels of 0.3% or they must be destroyed, which complies with federal standards. THC is the intoxicating component in marijuana. CBD, also found in marijuana and hemp plants, does not cause a high and is used for a wide variety of treatments from anxiety to pain relief, according to a report from the World Health Organization.

The hemp plant produces significantly low THC levels and high CBD levels, according to the WHO report. Hemp, a relative of the marijuana plant, is used for a variety of things from making fibers to beauty products. CBD also has various applications; it can be used for edibles, oils and oral supplements. 

“If we go over the limit, we have wasted all of our time and money,” Wright said. “It is ridiculous to argue over seven-tenths of a percent when any hemp farmer can easily grow a crop that is under 1% total THC. You can’t easily grow a crop that is under 0.3%.”

Wright said the longer the hemp plant grows, the more CBD and THC it produces. A higher CBD percentage will make the product more valuable.

“To get those relevant CBD percentages up over 13% or 14%, you have to leave it in longer, the longer you leave the plant in the ground, that THC number creeps up,” Wright said. “After all is said and done, that seven-tenths of a percent isn’t going to impair anyone anyway.” 

Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has been removed from the definition of marijuana and taken out of the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp can currently be grown, processed and distributed by licensed individuals in most states. 

However, under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, it is illegal to add CBD or hemp products to food or market them as a dietary supplement. 

Currently, the only pharmaceutical drug containing CBD that has been approved by the FDA is Epidiolex, which treats two rare, severe forms of epilepsy in young children. There are no over-the-counter CBD products that are approved by the FDA. 

“If the FDA does not start approving CBD products people are going to take them without regulation,” said Kyle Shreve, executive director of the Virginia Agribusiness Council. “That’s what the bill says, we are going to treat them like they are approved by the FDA so we can start regulating them.”

Shreve said it’s important to add another viable cash crop for agribusiness in the state. 

“Right now we are losing tobacco and dairy farms in the commonwealth, so it is another opportunity for Virginia producers to diversify and grow something that would help sustain their business,” Shreve said. 

During the 2019 growing season, approximately 1,200 registered industrial hemp growers planted around 2,200 acres of hemp in Virginia, according to Erin Williams, VDACS senior policy analyst. As of April 10, there were 1,280 active industrial hemp grower registrations, 357 processor and 219 dealer registrations. 

“I think it has a strong future,” Marsden said about the hemp industry in Virginia. “We just need to regulate it and hold other states to our standards.”

Marsden said over-the-counter CBD products like those sold at gas stations or convenience stores might not have CBD in them at all and could contain harmful ingredients. 

“We can’t have inferior products coming in from other states,” Marsden said. “We are going to try to do a good job with this stuff and it is up to VDACS to make sure other states don’t ruin our market with crap.”

Three bills were signed by the governor recently regulating industrial hemp in Virginia. One of those bills, House Bill 962, introduced by Del. Daniel Marshall III, R-Danville, regulates smokable hemp products for those over 21 and allows the sale of these products in vending machines. 

The governor also approved SB 1015 which protects certain people involved with the state’s medical cannabis program expected to begin this year. SB 2 and HB 972 decriminalize possession of certain amounts of marijuana and allows for the expungement of a prior misdemeanor offense. Northam recommended changes to the decriminalization bill that would still need to be approved when lawmakers reconvene on April 22. One recommendation is to move the deadline for a legislation study back to 2021 and another proposes that a marijuana violation occurring during the operation of a commercial vehicle would be included on the driver’s Department of Motor Vehicles record.

Dorothy Parrish Moseley

August 19, 1942-April 16, 2020

Dorothy Parrish Moseley, 77, passed away on Thursday, April 16, 2020. She was born in Greensville County, VA, and was a retired employee of BB&T Bank. She was preceded in death by her father, Jesse Hubert Parrish, Sr. She is survived by her mother Lavinia N. Parrish, husband, Frank N. Moseley, brother, Jesse Hubert Parrish, Jr. (Patsy), Nieces, Christine P. Johnson (Mike), Michelle P. Crane (Ed), along with numerous great-nieces and nephews.

A private graveside service will be held Sunday, April 19, 2020 at Independence United Methodist Church Cemetery.

Online condolences may be made to www.echolsfuneralhome.com

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES OF GOVERNOR’S EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND DIRECTIVES

RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police encourages all Virginians to adhere to Virginia Governor Northam’s directives and do their part by staying home in order to best mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 within the Commonwealth. State troopers, for their personal protection and for the safety of the public, are minimizing their direct contact with the public. All Department recruitment events, public presentations, training, ceremonies, etc., have all been canceled or postponed through June 10, 2020.

Governor Northam has directed state and local law enforcement to initially address violations of the following Executive Order 53 and Executive Order 55 directives with education and warnings. Persistent violation of these Executive Order (EO) directives can result in an individual(s) or business being charged with a class one misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in jail and $2,500 fine:

  • Prohibition of all public and private in-person, indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 individuals – with the exception of the operation of businesses not required to close under EO 53 and the gathering of family members living in the same residence;
  • Closure of all dining and congregation areas in restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms and farmers markets;
  • Any brick and mortar retail business (not listed in paragraph 5 of EO 53) failing to limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.
  • Closure of all public access to recreational and entertainment businesses;
  • Closure of public beaches for all activity, except for exercising and fishing;
  • Cancellation of in-person classes and instruction at institutions of higher education;
  • Cessation of all reservations for overnight stays of less than 14 nights at all privately-owned campgrounds

 Virginia State Police have been and will continue to assess Virginia EO violations on a case-by-case basis.

 State police is required to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth and will continue to have a visible presence within our communities and on the roads for the safety of those living, working and traveling in Virginia. The law still requires law enforcement to have reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop on a vehicle. Virginia State Police will not be making random traffic stops on vehicles nor conducting checkpoints to determine if a driver is traveling for a permissible reason, as granted by EO 53 and EO 55.

The current Governor’s Executive Orders related to COVID-19:

  • Do not require an individual to carry documentation related to one’s purpose of travel;
  • Do not close Virginia roads/interstates to Virginia residents;
  • Do not restrict non-Virginia residents from traveling into and/or through Virginia;
  • Do not prevent Virginians from traveling out of the state. State police does encourage any Virginian(s) traveling out-of-state to check, in advance, the other state(s) for any travel restrictions in effect for that state(s). Governor Northam has advised Virginians returning from out-of-state and/or international travel to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.

For any additional questions related to the statewide “Stay at Home” order, please go to www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/faq.

Governor Northam Issues Statewide Stay at Home Order

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today issued a statewide Stay at Home order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The executive order 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 others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.

The executive order also directs all Virginia institutions of higher education to stop in-person classes and instruction. Private campgrounds must close for short-term stays, and beaches will be closed statewide except for fishing and exercise. 

“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” said Governor Northam. “Our message to Virginians is clear: stay home. We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing. I’m deeply grateful to everyone for their cooperation during this unprecedented and difficult time.”

The full text of Executive Order Fifty-Five can be found here.

Last week, Governor Northam issued Executive Order Fifty-Three closing certain non-essential businesses, prohibiting public gatherings of more than 10 people, and directing all K-12 schools to remain closed for the rest of the academic year. A Frequently Asked Questions guide about Executive Order Fifty-Three can be found here.

For the latest information about the COVID-19 outbreak, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus or CDC.gov/coronavirus.

Southside Health District Confirms Case of COVID-19 in Brunswick County

The Southside Health District announced today a case of COVID-19 in a Brunswick County resident in his 20s. He is isolating at home. To protect patient privacy, no further information will be provided about this case, and VDH does not provide specific information on an investigation.

“We continue to see new cases of COVID-19 throughout the Commonwealth, and it’s now in our area. This reminds us how very critical it is that people follow public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” said Southside Health District Director Dr. Scott Spillmann. “Staying home and social distancing are the most effective strategies in limiting the spread of COVID-19, and lessening the impact of this pandemic.”

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

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

  • Stay home as much as possible — especially 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.
  • Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public.

For more information visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/. Please consult www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia.

VCU Health CMH Visitation Changes

For our patients — your safety is our top concern.

(March 30, 2020) The health and safety of our patients, team members, and visitors are critical at all times. Our patient care philosophy depends greatly on engaging family and friends to be part of the healing process. We continue to identify public health practices that reduce the risks of transmitting COVID-19, including restricting visitation within VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital and clinics.

Effective Monday, March 30 at 5:00 p.m., we are instituting a temporary full visitor restriction policy to keep our team members, patients, and communities safe. In this difficult and unprecedented time, we know showing love and care is of the utmost importance, and our teams are committed to providing safe and compassionate care.  All who enter the hospital or the CARE Building will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

For inpatients this means: We are suspending all in-person visits to hospitalized patients for the duration of the pandemic. Exceptions include:

• Labor and Delivery unit: One (1) adult visitor, 18 years or older, permitted per patient
• Pediatric patients in all units: One (1) adult visitor, 18 years or older, permitted per patient
• Patients who are at the end of life: The number of visitors are determined by the patients’ care team.

To reach a patient, please dial (434) 584, followed by the four digits of the patient's room number.

For outpatients this means: For those with appointments, we are instituting the following temporary outpatient appointment policy:

• Only patients with verified appointments may enter our hospitals and clinics. Appointments will be verified at entry screening stations.
• For pediatric patients with verified appointments: Two (2) accompanying adults, 18 years or older, permitted per patient

The restrictions also apply to people entering the Emergency Department.

As of last Friday, March 27, 2020 virtual appointments are now possible with all VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital provider offices.

The patient should contact the practice using the telephone number of that practice to get the process started. This is for established patients only, no new patients can be added to this process unless they are requesting appointments directly related to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Once the appointment has been made, the patient should:

1. Check their email for a Zoom meeting invite.

2. Write down Meeting ID in case needed while joining meeting

3. To join meeting, click on the link below “Join Zoom Meeting”. The provider must have initiated meeting in order for patient to join in.  If not, the patient will not be able to join in until the provider starts meeting.  Patient may have to try and re-join after a couple of minutes.

4. Patient needs to select “Join with Video”

5. Then join with “Call using Internet Audio” or “Dial in” – will need Meeting ID if dialing in

6. Leave meeting by clicking “End Meeting”

Additional precautions:

- We ask everyone to take extra steps to ensure good handwashing.  Ten handwashing stations have been placed outside the entrances to the following locations and we ask that everyone please wash their hands before entering buildings:  main hospital, Emergency Department, C.A.R.E. Building, Leggett Center, Cancer Center – Medical and Radiation Oncology, Chase City Primary Care, Clarksville Primary Care and VCU Health at Tanglewood.

- Visitors who are required to wear a mask to enter a patient room will be provided with only one mask per day, to be used in the patient room.

We understand this is a difficult time for our patients and visitors, and we appreciate your help keeping our loved ones and our community safe. Working together, we are confident that these measures will help us succeed with managing the spread of COVID-19 within our facilities while balancing the visitation needs of our patients.

The Hundley Center

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken action to aggressively respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  In order to comply with CMS mandates, nursing homes nationwide implemented restrictions and The Hundley Center at VCU Health CMH complied by suspending all visitation.  Residents have access to a private phone in their rooms.  To reach a resident, please dial (434) 584, followed by the number 4 and the three digits of the resident’s room number.  Our goal of protecting the health of each resident is of the utmost importance during this unprecedented situation.

VCU Health CMH is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. For an official case count in Virginia (and locations of cases), please visit the Virginia Department of Health at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit:  vcuhealth.org/covid-19

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has a call line established for COVID-19 questions, the number is 877-ASK-VDH3.   (877-275-8343)

Barbara R. Finch

July 17, 1956 - March 29, 2020

Barbara R. Finch, 63, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, March 29, 2020. She was the daughter of the late Richard H. & Doris Christine Rawlings and was also preceded in death by her husband, William S. Finch and a son, Lynn Finch.

Barbara is survived by two sons, Anthony Finch (Devin) and Jordy T. Finch (Sarah) and daughter, Leigh Ann Lewis (Nick); grandchildren, Bryce and Camryn Finch and Steven and Evan Lewis and a brother, James J. “Opie” Rawlings.

Barbara was a Licensed Practical Nurse and had spent her entire career at what is now Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Emergency Department. She loved her co-workers and considered them her extended family. She also loved baseball, especially the Atlanta Braves and attended faithfully the ball games of her grandchildren.

Funeral services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made to Zion Baptist Church, c/o Missy Bullock, 2755 Rolling Acres Rd., Emporia, Virginia 23847 or to Greensville Memorial Foundation, P.O Box 1015, Emporia, Virginia 23847.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.




 

Virginia Legal Aid Society Remains Open During Outbreak

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Virginia Legal Aid Society is remaining open for business, using law to resolve problems affecting the basics of life for low-income families and individuals.  Lawline, our telephone intake and advice system, will remain open during its normal business hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at 866-534-5243 (866-LEGL-AID). VLAS urges everyone to call rather than visit, if possible, to help keep everyone safe.    

VLAS's five offices in Lynchburg, Danville, Martinsville, Farmville and Suffolk will remain open by appointment and during limited open business hours.  Visitors should contact their local office prior to visiting in order to confirm hours of public access. The Lynchburg office is open to the public from 9 a.m.-noon weekdays; the other offices are open from 9-11 a.m. These hours are subject to change.

VLAS’s mission is to resolve the serious legal problems of low-income people, promote economic and family stability, reduce poverty through effective legal assistance, and to champion equal justice.

From Fashion Design to Chemistry, Classes Adapt to Distance Learning

By Jimmy O’Keefe, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- Students and teachers at all levels of education are transitioning from classroom to computer as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise. Not every subject lends itself to a smooth transition to distance learning, as students and instructors have discovered. 

“I think we’re all really frustrated,” said Jordyn Wade, a fashion design major at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “But we know that our professors are doing what they can in a really unprecedented situation.” 

Wade said that she and her classmates are now meeting remotely through Zoom, a video conferencing platform. Zoom allows students to meet virtually during a time when people can’t meet physically, but distance learning poses challenges for courses that require more than a lecture, like art classes and lab components of science classes.

Students like Wade worked mostly with industrial grade equipment.

“We kind of rely heavily on the school for supplies like sewing machines and the industrial equipment that can cost thousands of dollars,” Wade said. “Now we just stare at each other and they ask us,‘What can you guys do? Can you hand sew an entire jacket before the end of the month?’”

Wade said that one of the most frustrating aspects of distance learning is not being able to receive direct feedback from professors.

“We can’t ask our professors what’s wrong with the garment that we’re making, we can just send them pictures and hope they can figure it out from afar,” Wade said. 

Chloe Pallak, a student in VCU’s art program said that many of her projects are being graded on whether or not they are complete. 

“To get a grade for an assignment, you just have to do it,” Pallak said. “It really takes away the motivation of wanting to make art and not just complete the assignment.” 

Courses that include lab components, such as classes in environmental science, also face challenges as classes move online. Griffin Erney, an environmental studies major at VCU, said that distance learning prevents students from accessing lab materials that are typically provided in the classroom. 

“Before the class was online we would just do different activities and be provided with the materials,” Erney said. “Having labs online is more challenging, on top of all the work that we already have.” 

On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam issued an order that closed down all K-12 schools in the state for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Davide D’Urbino, a chemistry and organic chemistry teacher at Clover Hill High School in Chesterfield County, said he plans on using computer applications to supplement labs that cannot be completed in the classroom. He said the school division requested that teachers hold off on introducing new learning material.

“The expectation was that you could teach new stuff, but then you have to go back in class and reteach it,” D’Urbino said.

D’Urbino said teachers aren’t allowed to teach new material online because some students may not have internet access. He said he understands why the school division has placed these restrictions but said it “feels weird.” 

Distance learning has also presented challenges to teachers trying to adapt to lecturing online. 

“Some people say teaching is 75 percent theater, you just go out there and do improv. You can’t really do that online,” D’Urbino said. “It’s very difficult to intervene and correct course if you realize something isn’t quite working out.”

Teachers have also scrambled for ways to continue instruction for students that lack access to the internet.

Janice Barton, a 5th grade science teacher at Honaker Elementary School in Russell County, said that about half of the 60 students she teaches have access to the internet. She said the school is using Google Classroom, a web platform that allows teachers to share files with students through the internet. For students without internet access, teachers create physical packets of learning content.

“We’re working as grade levels, we’re going in and working together to put the packets together,” Barton said. “We have pickup days and drop-off days, and that’s how we are working and dealing with this right now.”

Barton said the school uses phone calls, emails, and the app Remind, which allows teachers to send messages to students to keep in contact with parents and students. 

While local school divisions are tasked with making decisions on how to pursue distance learning, the Virginia Department of Education issued guidance to help divisions continue instruction. 

VDOE’s guidance to local school divisions includes offering instruction during the summer of 2020, extending the school term or adjusting the next, and adding learning modules to extended school calendars. 

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane issued guidance regarding eight high school senior graduation requirements and will be issuing further guidance for half of those, which can not be waived outright. 

Two other graduation requirements -- training in emergency first aid and the completion of a virtual course -- require action by the General Assembly in order to be waived.

Crater Health District Health Departments Reports its First COVID-19 Death and Confirmed Cases in Emporia and Greensville County

(Petersburg, Va.) – The Crater Health District today announced the death of a resident from complications associated with COVID-19.  To protect patient confidentiality, no further information about the patient will be provided.

“We are so sorry to hear of the loss of a Crater Health District resident.  Our sincere condolences go out to their family and friends,” said Crater Health District Director Alton Hart, Jr., MD, MPH. “It is especially important to remember elderly individuals and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, including death. These at-risk individuals are strongly advised to take steps to minimize contact with others who are ill, practice social distancing, and stay at home as much as possible.”

First Confirmed Case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Emporia

(Emporia, Virginia)- The Crater Health District (CHD) announced today a resident of the city of Emporia has tested positive for coronavirus 19 (COVID-19).   This marks the first positive COVID-19 case in the city of Emporia.  The individual is a male in his 30s and is self –isolating at home.

“As testing availability increases in our localities and across the Commonwealth, we expect to continue to have confirmed cases,” said Crater Health District Director Alton Hart, Jr., MD, MPH.  We continue to recommend effective measures to keep Crater Health District residents safe and well. It is important for everyone to continue practicing personal public health precautions, especially social distancing and hand and surface hygiene. These are the most effective ways to minimize the spread of illness and keep yourself and those around you healthy.”

“People at higher risk of infection with COVID-19 include: people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19, for example healthcare workers, or household members. Others at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19,”said Epidemiologist Senior E. Katrina Saphrey, MPH

Crater Health District Confirms First Case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Greensville County

(Greensville County, Virginia)- The Crater Health District announced that a resident has tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Greensville County.  The female is in her 70’s and hospitalized. This is the seventh case in the district and the first case in Greensville County.

“With each confirmed case, we identify possible contacts, evaluate their risk of exposure and recommend appropriate public health and medical measures,” said Crater Health District Director, Alton Hart, Jr., MD, MPH  “The Virginia Department of Health’s Crater Health District and our healthcare partners continue to work together to identify cases of COVID-19 in our communities across the Commonwealth.”

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days after exposure to an infectious person.

We all can take steps to protect our health and the health of our loved ones.

  • Stay home if possible.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Practice social distancing by staying six feet or more away from others.
  • Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying condition or if you are sick.

The Crater Health District has activated a coronavirus call center, which is staffed Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. to address questions from residents. Community members may call 804-862-8989.  The Virginia Department of Health has also activated a public information line, 877-ASK-VDH3, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Crater Health District serves the cities and counties of Dinwiddie, Emporia, Greensville, Hopewell, Petersburg, Prince George, Surry and Sussex.

First Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Southampton County

A male in his 60’s from Southampton County has tested positive for COVID-19. While the patients address is in Southampton County, the patient currently resides at an assisted living facility in Northampton County, North Carolina. The patient was transported to a local hospital, for an unrelated medical emergency.

The Western Tidewater Health District (WTHD) is working a full contact investigation collaboratively with the Northampton County Health Department.  WTHD will notify those with contact exposures and advise those persons of the precautions they should take.

“This case is a great example of the collaborative public health effort that occurs when we have patients that cross state borders,” said Dr. Todd Wagner, director of the Western Tidewater Health District.

Note: This case is not included in the totals posted today on the VDH website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus.

To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
  • Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public.
  • Avoid crowds of more than ten people.

This is a rapidly changing situation, and information is shared as it becomes available on the following websites: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.vdh.virgina.gov/coronavirus/. Please consult www.vdh.virgina.gov/coronavirus for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia.

Residents should contact the information call center at (757) 683-2745 with questions about the COVID-19 situation.

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Up-to-Date Information on the Coronavirus/COVID-19

For the most accurate information available please visit any of the following sites:

Remember to Keep Your Social Distance -

  • Remain About 6 Feet Apart
  • No Gatherings of More Than 10 People

Shelter in Place, Leaving Your Home Only for:

  • Groceries
  • Pharmacy
  • Medical Care
  • Exercise/Walking the Dog

Wash Your Hands Thouroughly and Often with Soap and Water for at Least Twenty Seconds (Sing Happy Birthday Twice).

If you are unable to wash your hands, Use Hand Sanitizer with an Alcohol Content of at Least 60%

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Governor Northam Orders Statewide Closure of Certain Non-Essential Businesses, K-12 Schools Bans public gatherings of more than 10 people

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today issued a statewide order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Executive Order Fifty-Three orders the closure of certain non-essential businesses, bans all gatherings of more than 10 people, and closes all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. Governor Northam is also urging all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside the home, if and when possible.

This order goes into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

“This is an unprecedented situation, and it requires unprecedented actions to protect public health and save lives,” said Governor Northam. “I know the next several weeks will be difficult. These restrictions on non-essential businesses will create hardships on the businesses and employees affected. But they are necessary, and we do not undertake them lightly. I am calling on Virginians to sacrifice now, so that we can get through this together.”

In addition, Virginia is launching a statewide media campaign to ensure Virginians fully understand their risk and do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Commonwealth’s “Health in Your Hands” campaign will include radio and television spots as well as statewide billboards and highway signs.

Public Gatherings

All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide, beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. This does not include gatherings that involve the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.

K-12 Schools

All schools will remain closed through the end of this academic year. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will issue guidance to help divisions execute plans to continue instruction, while ensuring students are served equitably, regardless of income level, access to technology, English learner status, or special needs. This includes options for additional instruction through summer programming, integrating instruction into coursework next year, and allowing students to make up content. VDOE will submit a waiver to the federal government to lift end-of-year testing requirements and is exploring options to waive state mandated tests.

Recreation and Entertainment Businesses

The following recreation and entertainment businesses are considered non-essential and must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

  • 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.

Dining and On-Site Alcohol Establishments

All dining and congregation areas in the following establishments must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. These establishments may continue to offer delivery and/or takeout services. Establishments include:

  • Restaurants;
  • Dining establishments;
  • Food courts;
  • Farmers markets;
  • Breweries;
  • Microbreweries;
  • Distilleries;
  • Wineries; and
  • Tasting rooms.

Retail Businesses

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.

Additional Guidance

Professional businesses not listed above must utilize telework as much as possible. Where telework is not feasible, such businesses must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing procedures, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities, including CDC, OSHA, and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

Businesses in violation of this order may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Nothing in Executive Order Fifty-Three limits the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; the operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.

The full text of Executive Order Fifty-Three can be found here. Additional guidance and a Frequently Asked Questions guide can be found here.

Watch the video of today’s announcement here.

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Virginia State Trooper struck by passing motorist

SUSSEX COUNTY: On Wednesday, March 25 at approximately 8:00 this morning, a Virginia State Trooper was on the closed median of southbound Interstate 95, south of Route 602,  observing traffic, when he was struck by another vehicle. The driver of a 2004 Chevrolet pick-up truck, Jerry Lee Vick, lost control of his vehicle, ran off the roadway, and struck the troopers vehicle in the rear. (See attached photos.) The trooper and Mr. Vick suffered minor, non-life threatening injuries. Vick, of Fort Washington, Maryland, was charged with reckless driving.

Real ID deadline extended until 2021 amid coronavirus outbreak

By Hannah Eason, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- The deadline for Real IDs has been extended until October 2021. The move was prompted by widespread Department of Motor Vehicle customer service center closures during the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security said Thursday.

The deadline for the IDs was Oct. 1. After the deadline, the licences will be required to access federal facilities, board domestic flights and enter nuclear power plants.

The application process must be completed in person, but Virginia has closed DMV customer service centers until April 2 to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. DMV closures and restricted access nationwide will prevent people from receiving Real IDs. Gov. Ralph Northam added a 60-day extension to any license or registration expiring before May 15.

“The federal, state and local response to the spread of the Coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline,” acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said in a news release. “Our state and local partners are working tirelessly with the Administration to flatten the curve and, therefore, we want to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts.”

A regular driver’s license can still be used for driving, voting and verifying identity. Real IDs are marked by a black or gold star symbol in the top-right corner of the license.

The Real ID application process requires multiple forms of identity, such as:

  • U.S. passport or birth certificate

  • Social security card or W-2 form displaying social security number

  • Two of the following: valid Virginia driver’s license, recent utility bills, mortgage statements or leasing agreements

  • Proof of name changes if applicable

Non-U.S. citizens must show proof of identification and legal presence, such as an unexpired passport and visa, permanent resident card or employment authorization document. Virginians who do not have a Real ID must have federally accepted identification, such as a passport, to board a domestic flight or enter a secured federal facility.

Farmville resident Ethan Bowman, who was left unemployed by the coronavirus outbreak when he was unable to start a new political marketing job, has not received a Real ID but said an extension will help him.

“I don't have a copy of my birth certificate,” Bowman said. “So I would have to get that somehow before the deadline.”

Right now, there are other things on Bowman’s mind. He said his two roommates are out of work due to the pandemic, and the two grocery stores in the town of 8,000 were low on food Wednesday.

“We sent my cousin out for food and he just sent a bunch of pictures back to our little group chat, and it was just empty shelves, everywhere,” Bowman said of the Walmart Supercenter in Farmville.

Casey Tharpe, a respiratory therapy major at Radford University Carilion, received a Real ID in January after an eight-hour day of computer issues at the DMV in South Boston.

“You just had to check this box for Real ID, but honestly I really have no use whatsoever for Real ID,” Tharpe said. “I've been on a plane once in my life.”

Wolf stated that extending the deadline would also allow the Department of Homeland Security to work with Congress and implement the “needed changes to expedite the issuance of Real IDs.”

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for February 2020

(Left to Right) W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Nickey Powell, RN in ICU, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for February.  There to congratulate Nickey was Mellissa Black, Acute Care Nursing Director and Mary Hardin, Vice President of Patient Care Services.

If you are sick or injured, you want someone fighting for you and that’s what you have in Nickey Powell, RN in the Intensive Care Unit.  Nickey was named the VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Star Service Team Member of the Month for February.

Mellisa Black DNP, RN, MS, CCRN, NE-BC, and Director of Acute Care Services, described Nickey as “a wonderful nurse, who is never afraid to say something to benefit the patient.”

Nickey was nominated by the husband of one of her patients.  He said, “Nickey had such a pleasant attitude and genuine concern for my wife’s health and she went above and beyond to make my wife and I as comfortable as could be. She’s truly a blessing!”

Mellisa said, “The patient and her husband came by my office to express their gratitude for the excellent care they received from Nickey.  Nickey is a wonderful example of great relationship-based care.

Nickey has a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from East Carolina University and is originally from Elizabeth City, NC and now resides in Norlina, NC.

She’s been with VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital for the past five years and likes CMH because “it just feels like home.”  “We are such a family in the unit. I feel like I know everyone who works here.”

Nickey and husband, Tony, have three daughters, Claire, 7, Harper, 5, and Ella who turns three in March.

BA First Semester All As Breakfast

On February 20, 2020, Brunswick Academy honored high school students who obtained all As for the First Semester.  Mrs. Courtney Roberts Nickels (BA Class of 2004) was guest speaker. Mrs. Nickels gave an inspirational speech to our students and parents. She stated that “the process of learning is ultimately the lesson.” She also encouraged students to step out of their comfort zone and to enjoy where you are in life right now and keep up the good work.” Congratulations to all of these students!

Virginia schools closed remainder of term; some businesses ordered shut

By Zobia Nayyar, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia will close public and private schools for the remainder of the academic year, Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday during a press conference. He also outlined stricter guidelines for which businesses can remain open.

The move, which applies to K-12 schools, is part of an executive order that goes into effect March 24 at 11:59 p.m. until April 23. 

"We have a health crisis and we have an economic crisis but the sooner that we can get this health crisis under control, the sooner that our economy can recover," Northam said. 

Currently, the state’s 1.3 million public school students are in the middle of a two-week break due to the coronavirus. With 254 positive cases in Virginia and seven confirmed deaths, the governor finds it best to practice social distancing because “social distancing matters everywhere,” he said. Northam encourages schools to use online tools to finish students’ education for the rest of the academic year.

“School closures are necessary to minimize the speed at which COVID-19 spreads and protect the capacity of our healthcare system,” Northam said.

Northam said school division leaders will officially decide how students will learn the information they were meant to cover for the remainder of the year. The Virginia Department of Education will issue guidance to help school divisions think through those decisions and ensure every student is served fairly, Northam said. VDOE will submit a waiver to the federal government to lift end-of-year testing requirements and is exploring options to waive state mandated tests, he said.

The governor also placed additional restrictions on businesses. Restaurants must close their dining rooms but can remain open for carry-out and delivery. Recreational and entertainment facilities—including racetracks and historic horse racing facilities, bowling alleys and theaters—must close. Beauty salons, spas, massage parlors and other non-essential establishments that can’t keep people more than 6 feet apart must close. Essential businesses such as grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies, pet and feed stores, electronic and hardware retailers, and banks can remain open.

Autumn Carter, who has owned Red Salon Organics in Richmond for 20 years, said she has a loyal clientele. However, she is concerned about making lease payments and managing other business-related bills, with no new revenue. Her salon made the decision to close last week for two weeks, but did not anticipate shuttering business for this long.

“I agree with the governor’s decision but he has given us no debt relief and no guidance,” Carter said. “He has put us in a terrifying situation with no support.”

Public and private gatherings of more than 10 people are banned. Northam explained that local law enforcement could approach people gathering, say at beaches or the river, but that the goal isn’t to penalize people, “but to encourage people to do the right thing.” 

The governor noted that the commonwealth is moving into a period of sacrifice. Virginia had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, but Northam said that last week around 40,000 people filed for unemployment.

“We must put aside what we want and replace it with what we need,” he said.” It will require everyone to sacrifice.”

Cow Snarls Traffic on Interstate 64

Currently the Virginia State Police has the eastbound lanes of 64 at Greenbriar shutdown due to a cow on the interstate.At approximately 1:04PM the VSP received a call of a cow running down the interstate. Troopers have secured the cow, and are awaiting on animal control at this time. Further details to follow.

Update - Cow has been taken into custody. 
 
Earlier this afternoon, the owner of  a 98 GMC pick-up truck was pulling a trailer with livestock, on Interstate 64, in the city of Chesapeake. At some point, the livestock, a cow, was able to get loose from the trailer, and jump off the trailer uninjured. The cow continued down the interstate for over a mile causing a backup in both the eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 64. With the assistance of Chesapeake Police Department, VDOT, and some helpful citizens, the cow is safely back with its owner.

VSU Cooperative Extension Programs Go Virtual

Specialty crop Extension specialist Dr. Reza Rafie conducts research on more than 39 varieties of blueberry bushes at Virginia State University's Randolph Farm in Ettrick. He shares the information he gathers with the public through events like this Thursday's virtual Blueberry Field Walk through Facebook Live

Annual Blueberry Field Walk at university’s Randolph Farm to be delivered through Facebook Live this Thursday, March 26, at 4 p.m. New format allows Extension faculty to reach global audiences, while practicing necessary social-distancing COVID-19 precautions.

To continue providing the public with research-based information that keeps them safe, healthy and informed, Virginia Cooperative Extension is turning to digital methods for public outreach.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is managed through the Commonwealth’s two land-grant universities, Virginia State University (VSU) and Virginia Tech.

VSU Extension faculty are offering their first on-line-only public program this Thursday, March 26, at 4 p.m. through Facebook Live. The annual Blueberry Field Walk will be conducted by specialty crop Extension specialist Dr. Reza Rafie. Facebook Live was selected as the digital platform to conduct this program because: it is accessible to anyone with a smartphone or a computer; participants do not need to have a Facebook account; the public can ask questions in real-time by typing them into the session; and the live program can be recorded, close-captioned and posted on the VSU Cooperative Extension website (ext.vsu.edu) with additional resources on the subject.

During the Facebook Live event Rafie will walk through VSU's Randolph Farm blueberry fields and high tunnel, where a collection of 39 different cultivars are under study. All are different in terms of productivity, time of maturity, plant structure, fruit size, bush size, vigor, etc. This program provides an excellent opportunity to learn about these cultivars and ask questions in real time to help growers decide which ones may be best for their needs.

Blueberry is the fastest growing berry crop in many states including North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Market demand for blueberry continues to grow, and profit potential for growing locally grown blueberry is considerable. One major issue for blueberry growers is the planting of the new blueberry cultivars (varieties) that are becoming available with superior fruit size, taste, color, and pest and disease tolerance.

For more information, or if you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, contact Mark Klingman from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (804) 524-5493 / TDD (800) 828-1120 or mjklingman@vsu.edu 48 hours before the start of the program. A recorded version of the program with close captioning will be available on Rafie’s webpage (https://www.ext.vsu.edu/horticulture) by the end of the following week.

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

 

 

 

VCU Health CMH Update For our patients — your safety is our top concern

(March 20, 2020) “We are an acute care hospital and dealing with infectious diseases is something we are prepared to do every day,” said Scott Burnette, CEO of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

Because of the magnitude of this world-wide pandemic, we are taking extra precautions with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  Our staff is fully prepared to care for patients at all times and have expertise in dealing with illnesses of all kinds.

At VCU Health CMH patients are screened and those who meet the appropriate criteria for testing are then tested for the Coronavirus.  Once the swabs are collected they sent to either the Virginia Department of Health or Lab Corp, which are the only two labs approved in Virginia to run the tests.  Work is currently under way for hospital labs to get approved for analyzing the samples collected.

“I want everyone to know that we are taking all the necessary precautions to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus, but we also want people to understand that with proper precautions most people have a low risk of contracting COVID-19,” he added.

He continued, “We are asking people to practice social distancing – as in do not interact with others closely unless absolutely necessary. It is recommended that people keep at least six feet of distance from others to provide additional safeguards against the Corona (COVID) virus. Washing your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds is also vital in combating the virus.”

Burnette said many precautions have been implemented to make sure VCU Health CMH is doing everything possible to confront the challenges the Corona virus presents. Among those changes are a large number of temporary restrictions and closures, all done to prevent the spread of the virus, not because the virus is rampant in Southside Virginia and Northern North Carolina.

Among those changes are:

All non-urgent appointments that were scheduled with CMH providers will be rescheduled with consultation with our patients. CMH Family Care, Chase City Primary Care and Clarksville Primary Care will continue to be open as a resource of primary care physicians that can be contacted for guidance on appropriate care for people that are having symptoms related to COVID-19 or other serious illnesses.  The Emergency Department is open as usual for emergency cases.  In addition, elective surgeries that can be postponed will be, again in consultation with the patients.

Routine visitation is suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, visitors and team members.  For everyone’s safety, no visitors will be allowed who:

  1. Have any symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing
  2. Have returned from any of the COVID-19 high-risk countries or regions within the last 14 days
  3. Have been exposed to COVID-19
  4. Are children under 16 years of age

Other visitor restrictions: We recognize that there are times when having a visitor present is crucial. In these cases, visitors will be allowed based on the exceptions listed below provided they are not already excluded by the symptoms, age or exposure restrictions identified above. In general, visitors should limit visits to common waiting areas and maintain social distance to prevent sick individuals from coming in close contact with healthy individuals, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

1.       Visitation is between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. effective Saturday, March 21st.   

2.       Adult patients: Only one visitor per day.  All others will be asked to wait for updates outside of the medical facility. Patients at the end of life may have two visitors after discussion with the patient care team.

3.       Pediatric patients: 2 visitors per day.

4.       Obstetrical patients: 1 visitor per day.

5.       Patients undergoing surgery, procedures, or other testing: 1 visitor per day.

6.       ER patients are limited to one visitor.

7.       Visitation to patients with suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 will be through telecommunication.

Additional precautions:

  1. We ask everyone to take extra steps to ensure good handwashing.  Ten handwashing stations have been placed outside the entrances to the following locations and we ask that everyone please wash their hands before entering buildings:  main hospital, Emergency Department, C.A.R.E. Building, Leggett Center, Cancer Center – Medical and Radiation Oncology, Chase City Primary Care, Clarksville Primary Care and VCU Health at Tanglewood.
  2. Visitors who are required to wear a mask to enter a patient room will be provided with only one mask per day, to be used in the patient room.

“We understand this is a difficult time for our patients and visitors, and we appreciate your help keeping our loved ones and our community safe. Working together, we are confident that these measures will help us succeed with managing the spread of COVID-19 while balancing the visitation needs of our patients,” Burnette continued.

The Hundley Center

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken action to aggressively respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  In order to comply with CMS mandates, nursing homes nationwide implemented restrictions and The Hundley Center at VCU Health CMH complied by suspending all visitation.  Residents have access to a private phone in their rooms.  To reach a resident, please dial (434) 584, followed by the number 4 and the three digits of the resident’s room number.  Our goal of protecting the health of each resident is of the utmost importance during this unprecedented situation.

Programs/Services Closure Updates:

CMH Family Dental Clinic, CMH Medical Fitness Center, Screenings & Support Groups

The CMH Family Dental Clinic closed March 18 and will tentatively reopen on March 30 for urgent and emergency visits only.

The CMH Medical Fitness Center will close Saturday, March 21 at 11 a.m. and a determination on when it reopens will be made at a later date.  Services affected by this closing include both aquatic and land-based fitness classes (The Matter of Balance Classes have been rescheduled beginning in August 2020). The cancer rehab services that operate within the center have been suspended.  Outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services will remain open at this time, but with restrictions.  The cardiac rehab and pulmonary rehab programs that operate within the C.A.R.E. Building are still open, but also with restrictions.

All blood pressure clinic screenings, support groups, and scheduled public education events have been cancelled until further notice.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  As of today (March 20, 2020) there is one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County.  For an official case count in Virginia (and locations of cases), please visit the Virginia Department of Health at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.

For more information on our preparations, please visit:  vcuhealth.org/covid-19

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has a call line established for COVID-19 questions, the number is 877-ASK-VDH3.   (877-275-8343)

Immediate action needed to protect our communities

Vidant Health and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University are calling on all of eastern North Carolina to do their part to flatten the curve. We need to act quickly and definitively. When you watch what is happening in other communities and are scared about what you see, you should ask yourself a few questions: Will it hit my own community? Why can’t we stop this? What should we do? These are difficult questions, but the answers are clear.  

This pandemic has turned into a wave that is rolling across our country, hitting our state and threatening eastern North Carolina. The data are clear: it has started to impact our region and the problem continues to grow.

We can’t stop this wave from hitting us. However, we can lessen its impact here and now in eastern North Carolina. The question is whether we will take the necessary actions to reduce the spread of the virus. When you see the disasters affecting communities around the world, you are seeing the towns, cities, regions or countries that did not take action to slow or stop the wave. What you don’t see are the ones that are not suffering as much. The ones whose health care system is able to respond to the demand. The ones whose economies are already recovering. These are the stories of the communities who took the actions to slow the wave. What we do now will determine our story.

The fact is we have a short window of opportunity, as the virus is moving much faster than we normally make decisions. We know the story and outcome if we do nothing more – we see it on the news and on social media every day. We know from history that bold and definitive actions can change the course for the better.

Hospitals throughout North Carolina have and continue to take measures to respond to the COVID-19 wave. This includes all nine Vidant hospitals serving eastern North Carolina. It is time for communities to make similar definitive and decisive decisions to protect our region.  

Each of us has a responsibility to act immediately and to take action to help our communities respond to this crisis. Now, more than ever, we need every person, organization and government agency working together to protect our loved ones.

Practice social distancing, stay home as much as possible, call before visiting a health care facility if you have a fever, respectfully encourage others through social media to do their part. These actions, combined with every day hygiene habits like proper handwashing, coughing and sneezing into the crook of your arm and cleaning surfaces, will help us flatten the curve and keep our loved ones healthy. 

We are calling on local officials throughout eastern North Carolina and the state to take more decisive action in response to this crisis to include making the bold and right decision to ask North Carolinians to shelter in place. This means staying close to home as much as possible and only going out if absolutely necessary, such as buying groceries or picking up medications. This is the right thing to do to save lives and is the right thing for our long-term economic interests. Community members must encourage the political bodies to be decisive, take action now and then support them. 

We would also like to thank all health care workers and every person on the front lines for their tireless efforts to care for those in need. This is a difficult time for doctors, nurses and care teams. We stand ready to care for those in our region, but we need local communities to do their part.

We are confident we can flatten the curve. However, we must all stand up together, as one community, to get through this crisis.

Michael Waldrum, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Vidant Health

Mark Stacy, MD, Dean, Brody School of Medicine, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, East Carolina University

Riparian Woman’s Club Scholarship Applications

The Riparian Woman’s Club is pleased to present two scholarships to qualifying seniors. The club has participated in the scholarship program for many years.

Applications are available via email. Please email news@emporianews.com to have your contanct information forwarded.

To be eligible for consideration, the applicant must:

  • Be a High School Senior;
  • Be a resident of Greensville County, the City of Emporia or the Town of Jarratt, Virginia;
  • Submit a completed Scholarship Application to the Riparian Woman’s Club Scholarship Committee no later than the deadline date specified; Monday, April 27th, 2020 ;
  • Submit a signed Teacher Recommendation Form;
  • Submit a High School Transcript, to include SAT Scores, as well as Class Rank.

Applications may be turned in to guidance counselors by no later than Monday, April 27, 2020.

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