COVID-19 – Information for Gate City Residents

In an effort to keep Town residents informed regarding the Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Town Staff will be providing updates on our website.

Please click here to subscribe to the town’s messaging system for up-to-the-minute emergency information.

How is Covid-19 transmitted?

The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.

Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

The following preventive actions will help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.
  • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The purpose of a face mask is to prevent droplets from sneezing and coughing from becoming airborne.

Preventative Check List

Click here to download 
Click here to download Corona Virus Symptoms
Click here to download Corona Virus Fact Sheet

Gate City Department of Health:  (276) 386-1312
Scott County Emergency Management: jbrickey@scottcountyva.com
Scott County non-emergency 911:  (276) 386-9111
Gate City Chief of Police:  jmiller@mygatecity.com
Gate City Town Manager:  townmanager@mygatecity.com

Ballad Health’s Nurse Connect at 1-833-822-5523
Virginia Department of Health Coronavirus/COVID-19 Call Center –  1-877-275-8343

State and Local Elected Officials –

We applaud State, local, and tribal leaders for implementing community mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). To keep the momentum going, today – Tuesday, March 31 – President Donald J. Trump announced the extension of the Coronavirus Guidelines for America for an additional 30 days through Friday, April 30th. The recommendations are simple to follow and will continue to have a resounding impact on public health.

30 Days to Slow the Spread (Español) 

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (WH IGA) will continue to share pertinent information as it becomes available. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office if we can be of assistance. As a reminder, WH IGA is the primary liaison between the White House and the country’s State and local elected officials and Tribal Governments.

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

William F. Crozer

Special Assistant to the President/Deputy Director

White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

COVID-19: Important Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Officials

  • Coronavirus Guidelines for America: On Monday, March 16, the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued guidelines to help protect Americans during the global coronavirus outbreak. To keep the momentum going in #StoppingTheSpread and #BendingtheCurve, on Tuesday, March 31, the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued revised guidelines – 30 Days to Slow the Spread (Español)– through Thursday, April 30 (an additional 30 days). Even if you are young and otherwise healthy, you are at risk, and your activities can increase the risk of contracting the Coronavirus for others. Everyone can do their part. The recommendations are simple to follow but will have a resounding impact on public health.
  • Up-To-Date Information: The most up-to-date, verified information and guidance can be found via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 website – www.coronavirus.gov. The Coronavirus Task Force holds frequent briefings, which can be viewed live here.
  • COVID-19 Response and Recovery Primer: Response and recovery efforts are locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. It is important that requests for assistance, including for critical supplies, get routed through the proper channels as soon as possible. Learn more about the response and recovery process via this important resource – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Response and Recovery Through Federal-State-Local-Tribal Partnership. FEMA’s public assistance guidance for COVID-19 response efforts can be found here. Guidance for Tribal Governments can be found here.
  • Critical Infrastructure Workforce Guidelines: On March 16th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued updated critical infrastructure guidance in response to the COVID-19 emergency. DHS issues revised guidance on March 28th (See Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response). The guidance, and accompanying list, is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. The list is advisory in nature and is not a federal directive or standard.
  • Coronavirus Fact vs. Myth: Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. FEMA setup a website to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Fraud & Scam Protection: The Department of Justice is remaining vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. Find out how you can protect yourself and helpful resources on DOJ’s Coronavirus Fraud Prevention website. The Federal Trade Commission has also established a website with helpful information to help consumers avoid coronavirus-related scams.
  • Social Media Resources: Download the Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool. Follow the White House on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow HHS (Twitter/Facebook) and CDC (Twitter/Facebook) You can also find informational videos from Coronavirus Task Force members on mitigation, social distancing, etc. on the White House’s YouTube page.
  • Mental Health Resources: Natural disasters – including such pandemics as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 (or text TalkWithUs to 66746) – provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.  Learn more about the Disaster Distress Helpline here.
  • Administration Actions and Federal Agency Resources: USA.gov is cataloging all U.S. government activities related to coronavirus. From actions on health and safety to travel, immigration, and transportation to education, find pertinent actions here. Each Federal Agency has also established a dedicated coronavirus website, where you can find important information and guidance. They include: Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Education (DoED), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of State (DOS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of the Treasury (USDT), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

Phase III Reopening Plan Effect July 1st, 2020

Executive Order:   frequently asked questions.

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE · March 19, 2020
Office of the Governor
Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Announces Additional Actions to Address COVID-19

 ~ Co-pays eliminated for all Medicaid-covered services, tax relief, small businesses can begin applying for low-interest federal disaster loans ~

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced further actions to protect public health and support Virginians impacted by the spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Video of today’s media briefing is available here.

Increased Access to Health Care

Working with the Department of Medicaid Assistance Services, Governor Northam is increasing access to health care for Virginia’s 1.5 million Medicaid members and thousands of low-income residents. These actions include:

  • Eliminating all co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment as well as other medical care.
  • Ensuring current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
  • Permitting Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
  • Waiving pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services, and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
  • Expanding access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.

Guidance for Child Care Providers

 Governor Northam has directed the Department of Social Services to modify Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy program, which is currently caring for 25,000 children, to increase support and flexibility for enrolled families and providers. These modifications include:

  • Expanding eligibility for school-aged children currently designated for part-day care to full-day care.
  • Increasing the number of paid absences from 36 to 76 days for both level 1 and level 2 providers.
  • Automatically extending eligibility for families due for eligibility redetermination in the near future by 2 months and temporarily suspending the requirement for face-to-face interviews.

As announced yesterday, the Northam administration has released guidance for child care providers to slow the spread of COVID-19, while ensuring continued support for essential personnel. These guidelines include:

  • Childcare providers should limit capacity to 10 total individuals per room and prioritize care for children of essential personnel.
  • Children should eat meals in their own classrooms and increase distance as much as possible, such as allowing only one classroom at a time to go outside and staggering exits and entrances to reduce contact.
  • Staff and children should focus on basic health precautions, including regular hand washing and cleaning frequently touched objects.

 Support for Impacted Businesses

 Following a request submitted by Governor Northam on March 18, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Virginia. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the Commonwealth affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis can now apply for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. To submit a loan application through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, please visit disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also request to defer the payment of state sales tax due tomorrow, March 20, 2020, for 30 days. When granted, businesses will be able to file no later than April 20, 2020 with a waiver of any penalties.

The Governor has requested that the Department of Taxation to extend the due date of payment of Virginia individuals and corporate income taxes. While filing deadlines remain the same, the due date for individual and corporate income tax will now be June 1, 2020. Please note that interest will still accrue, so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadlines should do so.

Justice-Involved Population

 Local, regional, and state public safety agencies are working in close coordination to ensure the safety of employees and residents in correctional facilities. The following information is issued jointly by the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC), the Virginia Sheriffs Association (VSA), the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys (VACA), the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission (IDC), and the Virginia Association of Regional Jails (VARJ).

The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) has suspended all in-person visitation to state correctional facilities and is complying with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control related to COVID-19. VADOC has also suspended all transfers from local and regional jails for the next 30 days to limit potential exposure to the virus.

Governor Northam is encouraging local criminal justice officials, including Commonwealth’s attorneys, defense attorneys, sheriffs, and other jail officials, to explore proactive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring public safety. These recommendations include:

  • Allowing sentence modifications that can reduce populations within the jails, as outlined in Va. Code § 19.2-303.
  • Diverting offenders from being admitted into jail prior to trial, including the use of summonses by law enforcement in lieu of arrest pursuant to Va. Code § 19.2-74, and use of local pretrial programs as available and with consideration to local capacity.
  • Considering ways to reduce low-risk offenders that are being held without bail in jails.
  • Utilizing alternative solutions to incarceration such as home electronic monitoring, pursuant to Va. Code § 53.1-131.2.

Motor Vehicle Inspections

Governor Northam has directed the Virginia Department of State Police to suspend the enforcement of Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections for 60 days.

 For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

Full Release

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Governor Northam Press Release
Governor Northam Executive Orders
Governor Northam Executive Directives

For Immediate Release:
April 3rd, 2020

Contact:
Greg Jones (276) 386-3831
Town Manager townmanager@mygatecity.com

Gate City Town Hall Temporarily Closed in Response to COVID-19

 

Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Gate City Town Hall will be temporarily closed effective Monday, April 7th, 2020.  In an effort to protect our employees a work from home plan has been implemented.  All calls to the Town Hall will be answered and directed to the appropriate department.  Residents and Customers are encouraged to pay their water bill online.  They will not be charged any service fees.  For the next 60 days, there will be no late fees assessed and water service will not be terminated due to non-payment. Payments will also be accepted at our dropbox locations at the Gate City Town Hall Lobby or Drive-Thru. Payments may also be mailed.  Our Public Works team will be reducing services.  Brush Pickup and new water tap services will be temporarily suspended.   Garbage Collection will continue as normal.  Our Police Department engagement will be for emergency matters only.  Our employees have been instructed to maintain social distancing and to wear personal protective equipment.  Grogan Park will remain open, but visitors should remain in groups less than ten (10) and practice social distancing.

The protection of our employees and public is paramount.  We have been in communication with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), Ballad Health Emergency Operations Center, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and Virginia Risk Sharing Association (VRSA).

Gate City residents are urged to subscribe to our alerts messaging system online at:  MyGateCity.com.

The Mayor and Town Manager will keep Town staff and community members abreast of the latest information using:

  • Social media (Facebook and Twitter)
  • Coordinated Press Release(s) with the Virginia Star and Kingsport Times
  • MyGateCity.com messaging system (signup today)
  • SCTV Community Channel

The Town of Gate City remains committed to fighting the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread and we appreciate your patience as we work through these difficult times.

For Immediate Release:
March 18, 2020

Contact:
Greg Jones (276) 386-3831
Town Manager townmanager@mygatecity.com

GATE CITY, VA Gate City closes Town Hall to Walk-In Traffic in Response to COVID-19/Coronavirus

In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the Town Hall facilities will be closed to the walk-in traffic beginning March 19, 2020 through at least April 3rd, 2020. This schedule is subject to change, as the town will evaluate whether to reopen facilities to the public and resume normal operations after that time. Only Town employees will be allowed into the building. All employees will continue to work providing essential town functions and services to the public. The public will be able to reach all Town departments during this time by phone during normal business hours. All business should be conducted by email, mail, phone, internet, and via the Drop Box inside the Town Hall lobby and Drive-Thru. If the public wishes to use the Drive-Thru and are paying by check, please drop off the check in the drop box.

The Treasurer’s Office is promoting use of the Town’s on-line payment services available through the Town’s website at MyGateCity.com. Online fees for using this service have been suspended for the next sixty (60) days. In addition, water disconnection due to late payment for the month of March 2020 and associated late fees for the next sixty (60) days will also be suspended.

Grogan Park will remain open however groups of ten (10) or more shall not be permitted. Patrons are encouraged to maintain separation of a least six (6) feet. All Town-operated public restrooms shall be closed until further notice.

Our Public Works & Waterworks Team will operate as much as necessary, addressing essential functions such as streets, water, wastewater and refuse collection.

As we continue to be impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Town of Gate City wants you to know that we have experience as a community in coming together to provide the necessary communication, resources and services to assist one another. We will continue to provide you with updates through our website: MyGateCity.com

We encourage you to share the ability to receive these important updates with others.##

For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2020

Contact: 
Greg Jones:  (276) 386-3831
Town Manager: townmanager@mygatecity.com

Gate City Virginia

Gate City Responds to COVID-19 Virus

The Town of Gate City is closely monitoring the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and its potential impact on our community. While there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Gate City, now is the time to prepare – not panic.

COVID-19 (CORONaVIRUS)

Per the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread between people who are in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications. The public is encouraged to follow basic hygiene practices and social distancing.

Here are some key considerations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

  • Good handwashing (soap and water for at least 20 seconds)
  • Cover your cough and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Use tissue and hand sanitizer regularly
  • Stay at home if you or a family member are sick
  • Sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects regularly
  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices before making any international travel

POTENTIAL IMPACT ON COMMUNITY SERVICES AND EVENTS

  1. Community gathering places including the Scott County Schools, Public Administration Offices, restaurants, stores, Scott County Library, day care facilities, places of worship and other venues may  temporarily close during an outbreak.  Town events and public  meetings may also be cancelled.
  2. Public Works may temporarily suspend non-emergency services.
  3. Non-emergency calls for Police may be handled by telephone whenever feasible.
  4. Police response to medical calls may be affected in the following manner:
  • Police personnel likely will not respond on non-life-threatening medical calls unless requested by medical personnel.
  • Police personnel may be wearing protective masks and/or gloves during contacts.

RECOMMENDED COMMUNITY ACTIONS

 DO NOT leave your house if you are feeling ill or are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms

  1. Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan. Meet with household members, other relatives, and friends to discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak  occurs and what the needs of each person will be.
  2. Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications. There is limited information about who may be at risk for severe complications from COVID- 19 illness. From the data that are available for COVID-19 patients, and from data for related coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, it is possible that older adults and persons who have underlying chronic medical conditions may be at risk for more serious complications. Early data suggest older people are more likely to have serious    COVID-19 illness. If you or your household members are at increased risk for COVID-   19 complications, please consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. CDC will recommend actions to help keep people at high risk for complications healthy if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community.
  3. Get to know your neighbors. Talk with your neighbors about emergency planning. If your neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbors, information, and resources.
  4. Create an emergency contact list. Ensure your household has a current list of emergency contacts for family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.
  5. Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible. Plan to clean these rooms, as needed, when someone is sick. Learn how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home.
  6. Learn about your employer’s emergency operations plan. Discuss sick-leave policies and telework options for workers who are sick or who need to stay home to care for sick household members.
  7. Stay in touch with others by phone or email. If you live alone and become sick during a COVID-19 outbreak, you may need help. If you have a chronic medical condition and  live alone, ask family, friends, and health care providers to check on you during an outbreak. Stay in touch with family and friends with chronic medical conditions.
  8. Discourage children and teens from gathering in other public places while school is dismissed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
  9. Stockpile a two-week supply of food. Restaurants maybe closed.
  10. Store at least a 3-day supply of water for each person and each pet. Try to store a 2-week supply, if possible.
  11. Maintain adequate health and cleaning supplies, such as bleach, tissues, disposable gloves and soaps

TOWN STAFF ACTIONS

Town staff will regularly assess the state of Town affairs as well as the need for continued response actions.  If public health officials determine we are in a local pandemic situation, staff will:

  1. Follow the Scott County Emergency Operations Plan
  2. Provide assistance to the Scott County Emergency Services Coordinator
  3. Continue to follow emergency response protocols established by the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Emergency Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  4. Follow the Governor of Virginia’s Executive Directions and Actions.
  5. Evaluate short and long term economic and social impacts on the Gate City community;
  6. Assess losses to the Town of Gate City, both financial resources and personnel;
  7. Adjust services if needed due to staff and revenue constraints;
  8. Plan for handling back logs of normal business; and
  9. Evaluate handling of the outbreak and planning for future incidents.
  10. Suspend Water, Wastewater, Refuse Collection Late Fees for sixty (60) days
  11. Suspend Water disconnection due to late payment for the month of March 2020
  12. Suspend Online Payment Fees for 60 days. Online payment can be made here (hyper link            to our online payment)
  13. Encourage residents and customers to use the Night Deposit Box located beside the Town Hall Drive Thru and inside the Town Hall Lobby, mail services, and/or online payment system.

Designated Town staff will be prepared to telecommute if asked or required to stay at home for an extended period of time, whether because they are sick or to prevent the spread of illness. Town staff and members of the community should follow recommendations and guidelines provided by the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

MESSAGING

The Mayor and Town Manager will keep Town staff and community members abreast of the latest information using:

  • Social media (Facebook)
  • Coordinated Press Release(s) with the Virginia Star and Kingsport Times
  • com messaging system (signup today)
  • SCTV Community Channel

 

DEPARTMENT HEADS

Department Heads must prepare for functioning at reduced staffing levels, with clear succession and delegation of authority. Supervisory staff may be asked to prepare a schedule assuming a reduction in workforce for those essential personnel. Essential functions would include governance, law enforcement, water plant operators.

Updates will be released and posted to our webpage and social media as new information becomes available. Visit our website:  MyGateCity.com

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Scott County Public Schools

Click here for Covid Coronavirus March 2020

Scott County Information Updates

 Click here for Scott County EDA Small Business Resources

Please know that the Scott Co. EDA and Chamber of Commerce are diligently looking for new information to pass along that may be helpful to you.

*  The Food Pantry in Gate City is still open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9am to 2pm.  No one is allowed inside; however, they will bring the food out to your vehicle.

*  The Cove Ridge Foundation is making weekly updates to their website with a new topic each week for students.  The content is appropriate for every age level and has activities that cover several subjects.
http://coveridge.com/exploration-station/

*  Heritage TV if offering free of charge changes in church or qualifying non-profit changes or local announcements. Those can be emailed to htvintouch@gmailcom.

They are also offering buy one get one free on any of their advertising rates.  Rates vary depending on region selected.

Click here for Coronavirus Information
Scott County Virginia Sheriffs Office – March 23/2020

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  1. What is SARS-CoV-2? What is COVID-19?

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease associated with the virus. SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

  1. Where do coronaviruses come from?

Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals with some of them also known to infect humans.

Bats are considered as natural hosts of these viruses yet several other species of animals are also known to be a source. For instance, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is transmitted to humans from camels, and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-1 (SARS-CoV-1) is transmitted to humans from civet cats. More information on coronaviruses can be found on the ECDC factsheet.

  1. Is this virus comparable to SARS or to the seasonal flu?

The novel coronavirus detected in China is genetically closely related to the SARS-CoV-1 virus. SARS emerged at the end of 2002 in China, and it caused more than 8 000 cases in 33 countries over a period of eight months. Around one in ten of the people who developed SARS died.

The current COVID-19 outbreak caused around 7 000 reported cases in China during the first month after initial reports (January 2020), with a further 80 000 cases reported globally during the second month (February 2020). Of these first 87 000 cases, about 3 000 died. Cases are now being detected in Europe and across the globe. See the situation updates for the latest available information.

While the viruses that cause both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza are transmitted from person-to-person and may cause similar symptoms, the two viruses are very different and do not behave in the same way. ECDC estimates that between 15 000 and 75 000 people die prematurely due to causes associated with seasonal influenza each year in the EU, the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. This is approximately 1 in every 1 000 people who are infected. By comparison, the current estimated mortality rate for COVID-19 is 20-30 per 1 000 people.

Despite the relatively low mortality rate for seasonal influenza, many people die from the disease due to the large number of people who contract it each year. The concern about COVID-19 is that, unlike influenza, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for the disease. It also appears to be as transmissible as influenza if not more so. As it is a new virus, nobody has prior immunity which in theory means that the entire human population is potentially susceptible to COVID-19 infection.

  1. How severe is COVID-19 infection?

Preliminary findings indicate that the mortality rate for COVID-19 is 20-30 per thousand people diagnosed. This is significantly less than the 2003 SARS outbreak. However, it is much higher than the mortality rate for seasonal influenza.

  1. What is the mode of transmission? How (easily) does it spread?

While animals are the original source of the virus, it is now spreading from person to person (human-to-human transmission). There is not enough epidemiological information at this time to determine how easily and sustainably this virus spreads between people, but it is currently estimated that, on average, one infected person will infect between two and three more. The virus seems to be transmitted mainly via respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale. The virus can also survive for several hours on surfaces such as tables and door handles.

The incubation period for COVID-19 (i.e. the time between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms) is currently estimated at between two and 14 days. At this stage, we know that the virus can be transmitted when people who are infected show flu-like symptoms such as coughing.  There is evidence suggesting that transmission can occur from an infected person with no symptoms; however, uncertainties remain about the effect of transmission by non symptomatic persons on the epidemic.

Preparing for a pandemic can help lessen its impact on you and your family.

To prepare for a pandemic:

  • Store a supply of water and food. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters.
  • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
  • Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.
  • Get involved in your community as it works to prepare for an influenza pandemic.

To limit the spread of germs and prevent infection:

  • Teach your children to wash hands frequently with soap and water and model the correct behavior.
  • Teach your children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues and be sure to model that behavior.
  • Teach your children to stay away from others as much as possible if they are sick. Stay home from work and school if sick.
  • Practice social distancing out in public whenever practical.

Below are suggested items you may want to have on hand should you or a family member become sick. Many of the supplies on this checklist may be items you already have in your home disaster kit, so inventory the supplies you have on hand before obtaining additional supplies. Keep all your supplies together so they are in one place, as this makes it easy to inventory and rotate your stocks that expire. Keep in mind that a cold and flu virus can take 7-14 days to run its course. Having these items on hand will help you avoid having to go to the store should you become ill.

Healthcare Items

□  10-day supply of prescription medications

□  List of prescription medications

□  Cough and cold medicines

□  Fever reducer – acetaminophen

□  Throat lozenges

□  Thermometer

□  Vitamins

□  Other

Food While Ill

Choose easy to prepare food items that you and your family typically eat when ill, such as:

□  Clear broths and soups

□  Clear ice pops or sorbets

□  Crackers or bread for dry toast

□  Fluids with electrolytes, such as Pedialyte or Gatorade

□  Comfort foods

□  Other

Disinfectant and Cleaning Supplies

□  Disinfectant wipes

□  Hand sanitizer

□  Laundry detergent

□  Dish detergent

□  Bleach (non-scented)

□  Vinegar

□  Garbage bags

□  Cat litter

□  Other

Entertainment

□  Books, games, puzzles

□  Other activities for children

Additional Food Stocks (Non-Perishable)

□  Canned fruits and vegetables

□  Beans, legumes

□  Rice

□  Spices and bouillon

□  Baby food/formula

□  Pet food

□  Water (1gal/day/person)

□  Other

Personal Hygiene

□  Soap/shampoo/deodorant

□  Lip balm

□  Feminine hygiene products

□  Tissues

□  Toilet paper

□  Disposable diapers and wipes

6/22/2020

Ballad Health urges caution in COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizes the continued risks

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – More than three months ago, the first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was diagnosed in the Appalachian Highlands.

Since then, state health department data shows that number has ballooned to 774 COVID-19 cases in this region – 483 in Tennessee and 291 in Virginia. Nearly 100 of those cases have been diagnosed since June 10, and four patients are currently hospitalized at Ballad Health hospitals.

“Even though much of the nation has reopened, and we’re all striving to move forward in our new normal, please know: The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and being cautious and prevention-minded is still imperative,” said Alan Levine, Ballad Health’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“We are still in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans for reopening our communities and economies were developed with input from top health experts and scientists, and they rely on people still wearing masks and continuing physical distancing. Choosing to disregard these steps not only opens up your own risk of contracting COVID-19, but it puts everyone around you at increased risk, as well.”

Levine further said caution is especially warranted now, during vacation season and as the Fourth of July holiday approaches. More than half of the new COVID-19 cases at Ballad Health have been related to travel, and popular vacation spots such as Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Florida are reporting enormous spikes in COVID-19 cases.

“If you choose to travel, I implore you to do so safely. Research where you are going to assess the COVID-19 risk, wear your mask and avoid large groups of people. And when you return, monitor yourself for symptoms for at least 14 days, and do everything possible to limit your exposure to others, especially high-risk individuals,” Levine said.

“Even if you’re staying local this season, wear your mask any time you’re in public, even if it’s not technically required. Forgoing a mask doesn’t make you brave or subversive – it makes you reckless and a risk to everyone’s health.”

Large gatherings, including family events, parties and community functions, have an inherently higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. Ballad Health leaders emphasize an increased need for masking, hand hygiene and physical distancing in these instances.

While Ballad Health has resumed many of its normal business functions, including permitting elective and non-emergent surgeries and allowing limited visitation, Levine and other health system leaders caution that if local COVID-19 cases continue to increase, restrictions might be put back in place to protect patients and team members.

“Since March, some aspects of our lives and businesses have changed irreversibly. Those changes might have been challenging to adapt to, but they’re not all bad,” Levine said.

Levine noted one example of positive change brought on by the pandemic is the availability and accelerated growth of telehealth services. Ballad Health has expanded its virtual health program, Connected Care, giving patients access to more than 500 primary care and specialty providers.

This rapid growth was made possible because of temporary changes in the regulation of telehealth, through Congress’ passage of the CARES Act and other commercial policy changes.

“It is vital the flexibility afforded by the CARES Act and other policy changes be made permanent so Ballad Health and health systems across the country can continue to offer this essential service,” Levine said. “I believe telehealth will unquestionably play a major role in the future of healthcare delivery, especially for rural health systems like ours, by expanding access to care for our rural and elderly patients at a lower cost.

“I want to sincerely thank all our doctors, nurses and team members who stepped up to quickly learn this new technology and helped make Connected Care such a success.”

In addition to Connected Care, Ballad Health launched a public service campaign, dubbed #SafeWithUs, on Sunday, June 7, which raises awareness about the importance of routine healthcare visits, as well as the assurance that it is absolutely safe to visit a doctor’s office or hospital.

Fear surrounding the pandemic, among other reasons, has led many patients to delay care or avoid it altogether. Ballad Health has seen its emergency department, inpatient/outpatient surgery and diagnostic imaging volumes drop by nearly 50% during the pandemic.

If some conditions are left untreated, people increase their risk of needing a major surgery or a lengthy hospital stay down the road. Worst of all, some conditions could lead to death without proper treatment.

“Chronic conditions, heart attacks and strokes do not take a break during a pandemic. I urge you to keep scheduled doctor’s appointments and reschedule any appointments that might have been canceled during the pandemic,” Levine said.

“I know the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard, and some aspects of our lives may never return to the way they were. But I believe, truly and wholeheartedly, we have the ability to come through this stronger – but only if we all come together.”

At Ballad Health, you are #SafeWithUs.

All Ballad Health facilities are taking crucial safety precautions, including enhanced physical distancing measures, increased infection control and new processes and systems to safeguard patients’ care journeys.

Anyone who is experiencing symptoms and believes they might have been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call Ballad Health Nurse Connect at 833-822-5523.

For additional information regarding Ballad Health’s COVID-19 efforts, please visit www.balladhealth.org/COVID19.

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TO: Appalachian Highlands community and civic leaders

FROM: Ballad Health Corporate Emergency Operations Center

DATE: May 4, 2020

TITLE: Daily COVID-19 briefing – May 4, 2020

ACTION: Please share with your communities. NOTE: This will be the final Daily Briefing. We will move to a weekly briefing cadence that will release on Wednesdays.

 

Updated travel guidelines

Even as businesses and public venues across the United States begin reopening, we must remain diligent with protection measures against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

To that end, we would like to remind the community of a few important tips should you choose to travel outside of the Appalachian Highlands, please note:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has not ended. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing, especially if you have a pre-existing condition or are at higher risk of severe illness.
  • COVID-19 in the United States and abroad is a rapidly-evolving situation. The status of the disease’s spread varies by location, and state and local authorities are updating their guidance frequently, per the White House’s Opening Up America Again plan.
  • If you travel, check with state and local authorities along your route, as well as at your destination, to learn about local circumstances and restrictions.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has numerous resources and recommendations for travel, from essential errands and tasks to long-distance flights and hotel stays.
    • While traveling, maintain the same protection and hygiene measures you take while out in the community, such as wearing a face covering, observing physical distancing, covering your cough and performing frequent hand hygiene.
    • Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant services or stores. Do not dine-in at restaurants if that is prohibited by state or local guidance.
    • DO NOT TRAVEL if you are sick or with someone who is sick.
    • Consider the risks of your travel:
      • Air travel: Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights. However, there might be a risk of getting COVID-19 on crowded flights if there are other travelers on board with COVID-19.
      • Bus or train travel: Sitting or standing within 6 feet of others for a prolonged period of time can put you at risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
      • Car travel: The stops you need to make along the way could put you and others in the car with you in close contact with others who could be infected.
      • RV travel: Traveling by RV means you might have to stop less often for food or bathrooms, but RV travelers typically have to stop at RV parks overnight and other public places to get gas and supplies. These stops might put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others who could be infected.
    • If you stay in a hotel, motel or rental property:
      • When you get to your room or rental property, clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, remote controls, toilets and faucets.
      • Bring an EPA-registered disinfectant and other personal cleaning supplies.
      • Wash any plates, cups or silverware (other than pre-wrapped plastic) before using.
    • Anticipate your needs before you travel:
      • Prepare food and water for the road. Pack non-perishables in case restaurants and stores are closed.
      • Bring any medicines (prescription and over the counter) you might need.
      • Pack a sufficient amount of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it in a place that is readily available.
      • Book accommodations in advance if you must stay somewhere overnight.
      • Plan to make as few stops as possible, but make sure you rest when you feel drowsy or sleepy.
      • Bring an EPA-registered disinfectant and other personal cleaning supplies.

 

Mission Moment: An act of kindness

As we continue focusing much of our energy on COVID-19, we still want to recognize and celebrate the many moments, actions and people that make Ballad Health so special.

Casey Evans, a cardiovascular, vascular and thoracic surgery clinical supervisor, always provides exemplary patient care. Recently, her kindness touched a special patient in our community who was unable to get their medication.

This patients has survived extracorporeal membrane oxygen (ECMO), which is an advanced life support technique used for patients with life-threatening heart and/or lung problems. Therefore, the patients is considered high risk, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help protect her patient, Casey personally delivered their medication to their front door, so they would not have to get out.

Casey showed her dedication to patient care and safety in this small act of kindness – we’re beyond grateful to have nurses like her!

Do you have a story or team member you’d like to recognize? Let us know by sending an email to MyStory@balladhealth.org.

 

Additional points to note

  • Please review the three educational flyers attached to this document. They may be printed and posted within the community:
    • What to do when wearing a mask
    • Probability of contagion
    • COVID-19 response
  • Ballad Health has now resumed elective surgeries and diagnostic imaging. We will gradually increase these procedures over the coming weeks, ensuring our personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies remain adequate, we have enough staffing and our hospitals remain capable of performing procedures while also being well-prepared in case of a COVID-19 patient surge.
  • The next livestreamed media update will be Wednesday, May 6, at 11:30 a.m. You can watch live on Ballad Health’s Facebook page, and a link will be available that afternoon.
  • COVID-19 testing costs $52. Ballad Health will charge patients’ insurance, and if a patient qualifies for our financial assistance policy, that cost may be written off. Community members who would like to be tested should call our Nurse Connect hotline at 833-822-5523.
  • COVID-19 updates, testing information and news continues to be posted to www.balladhealth.org/COVID19.

Total positive COVID-19 case count by county:

Tennessee – 13,571 total (13,177 on May 3)

County Total Recovered New cases
Carter 14 10 2
Cocke 19 16 3
Greene 43 35
Hamblen 22 14 4
Hawkins 31 27 1
Johnson 5 3 2
Sullivan 57 47 8
Unicoi 2 1 1
Washington 57 50 3
Totals 250 203 24

Virginia – 19,492 total (18,671 on May 3)

County Total New cases
Buchanan 16
City of Bristol 2 1
Grayson 4 2
Lee 10
City of Norton 2
Russell 5 1
Scott 7
Smyth 13
Tazewell 6
Washington 39 1
Wise 22
Wythe 12 1
Totals 138 6

COVID-19 case counts are provided by the states’ health departments. Data on recovered COVID-19 patients is not available for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  

 

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COVID-19-Daily-briefing-to-civic-leaders-5.4.20
WEARING A MASK
PROBABILITY OF CONTAGION
COVID-19 RESPONSE

 TO: Appalachian Highlands community and civic leaders

FROM: Ballad Health Corporate Emergency Operations Center

DATE: April 30, 2020

TITLE: Daily COVID-19 briefing – April 30, 2020

ACTION: Please share with your communities

 Ballad Health expands COVID-19 testing locations

With the expansion of COVID-19 testing throughout the Appalachian Highlands, Ballad Health has also added new locations for drive-thru testing:

  • Ballad Health Medical Associates Urgent Care in Johnson City will be used for community testing. The urgent care center is located at 378 Marketplace Blvd.
  • Ballad Health Medical Associates Urgent Care in Kingsport will be used for pre-surgical testing. The urgent care center is located at 111 W. Stone Drive.
  • Franklin Woods Community Hospital in Johnson City will be designated for pre-surgical testing.
  • Indian Path Community Hospital will remain the community testing site in Kingsport.

Community members who would like to be tested should call our Nurse Connect hotline at 833-822-5523.

COVID-19 testing costs $52. Ballad Health will charge patients’ insurance, and if a patient qualifies for our financial assistance policy, that cost may be written off. Tests might become limited, due to increased testing we will begin on patients who are scheduled for elective surgeries.

Current Ballad Health visitation policies

Ballad Health facilities have restricted all visitors, except rare exceptions:

  • Labor and delivery units will allow one visitor per room.
  • The neonatal intensive care unit at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, as well as rooms with pediatric patients, will allow a visitor, but they must be parents/guardians.
  • Ballad Health Medical Associates patients may be granted one visitor, with provider approval, and they must be screened upon arrival to the clinic.
  • Those with extenuating circumstances, to be determined by team members on a case-by-case basis (for example, end of life).
  • One visitor may accompany surgical patients and they must remain in the surgery waiting area for the duration of the patient’s procedure.

All authorized visitors must wear a cloth face covering provided by themselves.

Additional points to note

Total positive COVID-19 case count by county:

Please note: The process that compiles COVID-19 case information for the state of Tennessee has experienced an error that caused complete case information to be unavailable today – the below data reflects totals from April 29. Updated information should be available in tomorrow’s daily briefing.

Tennessee – 10,366 total; 224 in Appalachian Highlands

County Total Recovered
Carter 12 6
Cocke 16 14
Greene 43 28
Hamblen 17 10
Hawkins 30 26
Johnson 3 2
Sullivan 48 43
Unicoi 1 1
Washington 54 46

Virginia – 15,846 total; 128 in Appalachian Highlands

County Total
Buchanan 16
City of Bristol 1
Grayson 2
Lee 9
City of Norton 2
Russell 3
Scott 7
Smyth 13
Tazewell 6
Washington 36
Wise 22
Wythe 11

COVID-19 case counts are provided by the states’ health departments. Data on recovered COVID-19 patients is not available for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  

TO: Appalachian Highlands community and civic leaders

FROM: Ballad Health Corporate Emergency Operations Center

DATE: April 17, 2020

TITLE: Daily COVID-19 briefing – April 17, 2020

ACTION:  Please share with your communities.

 

Updated mask guidelines for Ballad Health patients and visitors

Following the April 13 recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that Americans should where a cloth face covering protecting their mouth and nose in public situations where physical/social distancing is not possible, Ballad Health is providing expectations for all patients and approved visitors.

  • Patients coming to Ballad Health entities for hospitalization, procedures and/or visitation should wear a cloth face covering provided by themselves.
  • Team members screening patients/visitors at the entry point to Ballad Health facilities will ensure all individuals have a cloth face covering prior to entering the building. If patients/visitors do not present with a cloth face covering, and care in the facility is necessary, the patient/visitor may be provided a cloth covering, if available.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Wash your hands before applying the mask and any time after the mask is touched. Apply the mask and wear continuously when physical/social distancing is not possible. Wash hands each time after removing mask. Cloth masks are reusable and should be washed daily in hot water after it is worn.

 

Ballad Health releases latest physical distancing scorecard

Ballad Health has released a new Physical Distancing Scorecard for the Appalachian Highlands, and the results show a lack of cutting back on non-essential trips by residents.

Every county in the region has shown success in reducing the amount of total distance traveled by citizens over a seven-day period – most counties in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia have cut back on total distance traveled by 51-74% when compared to travel before the COVID-19 pandemic caused new procedures to be implemented.

However, reduction in non-essential visits has not been prevalent in the region. No county had reduced non-essential visits by more than 45%, severely hurting the region’s ability to practice physical distancing.

View the full scorecard here.

Mission Moment: A team goes above and beyond 

Dr. Steven Baumrucker of Holston Valley Medical Center (HVMC) Palliative Care identified the need for virtual visitation for our patients and their families, especially our patients under suspicion/confirmed positive with COVID-19, and for a facsimile of a face-to-face conversation with loved ones when a decision about the patient’s care is necessary.

The care team worked together to create standard work and a process for hosting virtual visitations for our patients with their loved ones and for care decisions between the provider and loved ones.

The first patient to use this service was COVID-19-positive, and the need was escalated by Dr. Baumrucker just two days after the initial conversation regarding the need. HVMC’s Assistant Administrator worked with the patient’s sister-in-law to coordinate a virtual visit with the patient’s brother, sister-in-law, two of his sisters that live outside of the region, and his daughter. The patient unfortunately passed away the following day, but his immediate family members were able to see him and speak to him before his passing. His nurses, Julie-anna Perkins, RN, Tristan Shell, RN, and the nurse manager, Susan Oler, all helped to host the virtual visits for the patient using FaceTime and Google Duo on an iPad that was temporarily donated for this use by Mike Skiscim, Security Officer at Indian Path Community Hospital.

This was TRULY a team effort from front-line nursing all the way to administration. This patient’s sister-in-law was very emotional and repeatedly expressed her thanks to the team for working so hard to make sure she and her husband were able to see the patient one last time and say their goodbyes. She spent over two hours working with HVMC’s Assistant Administrator to trouble-shoot the software and come up with a solution when her original plan for a video chat was unsuccessful due to technological challenges. After lots of time and work, she was able to give her husband the opportunity to speak to his brother; she was so very appreciative of this team for making that happen!

A special thanks to the team involved as well as Cheryl Perkins, Adnan Brka, Janessa Sokol and Jordan Harrington.

 

Do you have a story or team member you’d like to recognize? Let us know by sending an email to MyStory@balladhealth.org.

 

Additional points to note

  • We are in desperate need of handmade cloth mask donations for patients to wear as they enter Ballad Health facilities. Click here to view sewing and drop-of instructions. Donations are welcome at Ballad Health Medical Associates Urgent Care Centers in Bristol (W. State St.), Colonial Heights, Greeneville, Johnson City, Kingsport, Piney Flats and Rogersville, Tenn., and in Abingdon, Lebanon, Norton and Pennington Gap, Va.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has extended his stay-at-home order, mandating non-essential businesses remain closed until April 30. Additionally, he is recommending schools remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. Additionally, Virginia stay-at-home orders remain in place, with an anticipated expiration of June 10, and non-essential businesses in the Commonwealth must remain closed until May 8.
  • Physical distancing remains the most important step for most of us to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

Total positive COVID-19 case count by county:

Tennessee – 6,589 total; 174 in Appalachian Highlands

County Total Recovered
Carter 5 3
Cocke 11 3
Greene 30 22
Hamblen 7 4
Hawkins 27 23
Johnson 2 2
Sullivan 45 35
Unicoi 1 1
Washington 46 37

Virginia – 7,491 total; 93 in Appalachian Highlands

County Total
Buchanan 12
City of Bristol 1
Lee 7
Russell 2
Scott 3
Smyth 11
Tazewell 4
Washington 28
Wise 17
Wythe 8

COVID-19 case counts are provided by the states’ health departments. Data on recovered COVID-19 patients is not available for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

In case you missed it, follow the links below to learn more…

TO: Appalachian Highlands community and civic leaders

FROM: Ballad Health Corporate Emergency Operations Center

DATE: April 7, 2020

TITLE: Daily COVID-19 briefing – April 7, 2020

ACTION: Please share with your communities

Code Airway

Ballad Health has implemented a new code for patients with suspected COVID-19. Code Airway will be used by emergency medical services (EMS) and emergency departments when caring for potential COVID-19 patients.

Code Airway is a two-way communication between Ballad Health and EMS that is designed to ensure either our team or EMS is aware the patient might have COVID-19 so that they can properly prepare for the patient’s arrival.

We created Code Airway to protect our team members, emergency medical providers and communities. Early and rapid identification of potential COVID-19 patients will help caregivers take extra precautions and necessary actions, thereby reducing the spread of infection.

Updated visitation guidelines

Effective Wednesday, April 8, Ballad Health will adhere to a restricted visitation policy in all emergency departments and outpatient areas. Visitation restrictions are as follows:

  • Visitors are not permitted in the emergency department or outpatient facilities, such as cancer centers or sleep labs.
  • Ballad Health Medical Associates (BHMA) patients may be granted one visitor with provider approval and they must be screened upon arrival to the clinic.
  • Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis for hospice and end-of-life care.

 

Watch today’s livestreamed press conference

We continue to host Facebook LIVE videos every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:30 a.m. for local media and our communities. This is your chance to hear updated communication and information about COVID-19. Miss today’s video? You can watch it here.

 

Additional points to note

  • If a community member is awaiting COVID-19 test results, and more than four calendar days have passed, please call 423-547-5214.
  • All COVID-19 updates and information will continue to be shared to www.balladhealth.org/COVID19.

 

Total positive COVID-19 case count by county:

  • Tennessee – 4,138 total; 99 in Appalachian Highlands (per health department data)
    • Carter – 3
    • Cocke – 2
    • Greene – 18
    • Hamblen – 4
    • Hawkins – 16
    • Johnson – 2
    • Sullivan – 26
    • Unicoi – 1
    • Washington – 27
  • Virginia – 3,333; 28 in Appalachian Highlands (per health department data)
    • Buchanan – 1
    • City of Bristol – 1
    • Lee – 2
    • Russell – 1
    • Smyth – 3
    • Tazewell – 4
    • Washington – 10
    • Wise – 3
    • Wythe – 3

 

In case you missed it, follow the links below to learn more…

Techniques to manage COVID-19 stress and anxiety

Physical distancing is the single most important factor in preventing our hospitals from being overwhelmed by COVID-19.

Thank you for the leadership you are providing to our region during the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging our citizens to stay safer at home.

As you may be aware, resources are now available to quantify success in physical distancing, primarily by examining travel patterns from de-identified cellphone data. Ballad Health has been examining this data to help us understand the potential for the further spread of the disease in the region, and the demand on the supply of hospitals beds and limited resources such as ventilators.

Our modeling shows that physical distancing is the single most important factor in preventing our hospitals from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. For this reason, we will be producing a regular report on the effectiveness of physical distancing efforts in the Appalachian Highlands.

The attached maps and tables are our analysis of data from two sources: Descartes Labs, whom we have been able to work directly with to understand their methods and request modifications, and Google, which is now analyzing and publishing aggregated data from Google Maps.

• The top map using Descartes data reports changes in total distance travelled in each county relative to a three-week average period prior to the start of physical distancing efforts.
• The bottom map using Google data describes changes in number of visits and time spent at locations Google has categorized as “Retail & Recreation”, which includes locations such as restaurants, cafes, shopping, libraries and movie theaters. We chose this category as our basis for changes in non-essential activity.
Our analysis of other communities which are successfully stopping the spread of the disease suggests we must target a goal of reducing our travel and physical contacts by 75 percent for multiple weeks.

We have had a small advantage in that our geography has protected us from early spread of the disease, but that advantage has rapidly evaporated. We are lagging behind other parts of the US in our physical distancing efforts – especially in reducing the number of visits and time spent at non-essential locations. While we are decreasing our total distance travelled, no county in our region has decreased non-essential visit activity by more than 45 percent, and most counties have reduced non-essential visit activity by less than 25 percent.

We encourage you in your leadership roles to continue to advocate and implement policies to further decrease travel and physical contacts. Recent stay at home orders by the governors in Tennessee and Virginia should help in this regard, but local efforts are critical. The more aggressively we stop the spread, the sooner we should be on the path to recovery.

Please reach out to us with any questions you may have regarding this data. Additional data is coming out rapidly and we will monitor it for helpful information and communicate it to you.

Best regards,

Tony Keck
Chief Population Health Officer
Ballad Health

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR COVID-19 DAILY  BRIEFING FROM 3.31.20 

TO: Appalachian Highlands community and civic leaders

FROM: Ballad Health Corporate Emergency Operations Center

DATE: March 25, 2020

TITLE: Daily COVID-19 briefing – March 25, 2020 

ACTION: Please share with your communities

Lonesome Pine Hospital designated as Wise Co. regional COVID-19 hospital

In an abundance of caution, in anticipation of potential community need, and due to the positive COVID-19 case reported at the Heritage Hall nursing home in Big Stone Gap, Va., we have decided to implement a regional COVID-19 surge plan for Wise County, Virginia.

Lonesome Pine Hospital will be designated as the Wise County COVID-19 treatment and quarantine facility. This move will ensure acute care patients who can be treated in a community hospital will be served in a facility focused on their needs, while other patients with health care needs not related to COVID-19 will be treated at Norton Community Hospital.

The emergency room at Lonesome Pine Hospital will remain open, however, all non-COVID-19, acute care, surgical and obstetric services currently provided by Lonesome Pine Hospital will immediately be moved to Norton Community Hospital to ensure proper focus on local resources. Patients needing surgery and labor/delivery services will receive their care at Norton Community Hospital.

Ballad Health supports Safer at Home initiative

Government and health leaders from the Appalachian Highlands are urging residents to stay at home as much as possible. We believe that by supporting this initiative we can help to keep our team members, and community, safe.

But, we know many community members work in healthcare, government, grocery, pharmacy and other services that are considered essential. We also have some non-essential businesses that are still open, and citizens are working. We challenge those businesses to get creative about how to serve our region while still minimizing public interaction and the potential spread of COVID-19. We are grateful to those of you who have already done this.

Health officials urge you to also assume others are infectious, whether they show symptoms of COVID-19. 

Additional points to note

  • We’re impressed and honored to have received numerous handmade face masks, since putting out a call for donations yesterday. Please remember: These masks are not for team member use. They are intended for patients who present to our facilities with respiratory ailments.
  • To date, eight patients have tested positive for COVID-19 at either a Ballad Health facility or drive through testing site, though we have not had any inpatients test positive for the disease. Six of those eight were under age 30. The highest COVID-19 infection rates in Tennessee are happening in the 21-40 age group; college students, young professionals and their peers need to remain vigilant about social distancing guidelines.
  • Weekend drive-through testing will be available starting this weekend. All 12 hospital sites will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Testing is coordinated through Nurse Connect referrals – anyone who thinks they might be at-risk for COVID-19 should call 833-822-5523 to be screened.
  • All COVID-19 updates and information will continue to be shared to www.balladhealth.org/COVID19.

Total positive COVID-19 case count:

  • Tennessee – 784
  • Virginia – 391

In case you missed it, follow the links below to learn more…

COVID-19 Daily Briefing to Civic Leaders – 3.23.20

Dear community member,

Since the Appalachian Highlands has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, we know you likely have questions and concerns about how Ballad Health is preparing to manage potential cases of the virus in our communities.

The first thing we want you to know is we are prepared to care for patients who show symptoms of COVID-19. We are also committed to keep our team members, nurses, physicians and patients safe.

Here’s what else we want you to know:

You should have peace of mind.

Most people who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and will make a full recovery. The majority of infants, children and adolescents with COVID-19, who traditionally are more susceptible to severe respiratory infections, have had more mild cases of the infection and recovered within one to two weeks.

Ballad Health has activated its Corporate Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) to coordinate response efforts across the system and diverse geographic service area. The CEOC is composed of key leaders who will oversee essential functions of the health system.

We have activated a call center to answer your questions.

Ballad Health has officially established a call center for individuals to contact if they are experiencing mild symptoms and wish to speak to a healthcare professional. If you believe you are experiencing mild symptoms, please stay at home and call Ballad Health’s Nurse Connect at 1-833-822-5523. A Ballad Health team member will provide a screening over the telephone. This phone line is active 24 hours a day, and the service is free.

Anticipating the need for more COVID-19 testing in the region, we are also in the process of creating multiple access points for testing. We have ceased all visitation for long-term care facilities and will also begin implementing restricted entrances to our hospitals, with screenings for those who enter the facilities, beginning Monday, March 16. Visitation guidelines are as follows:

  • Limited public entry points
  • Screening protocols, including temperature checks, for all visitors
  • Prohibit visitors under age 18
  • Limit visitation to one guest per patient. Patients in birthing centers or pediatric units may have two visitors.

Washing your hands is the best defense.

Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent the COVID-19 virus, but the best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure by frequently washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. An alcohol-based sanitizer can be used as an alternative, but hand washing is your best defense. Also, please try not to touch your face.

We understand this may be a troubling time for many, and a time that raises questions and fears, but we are in this field to make a difference. We ask that our neighbors remain calm and understand the steps we are taking are intended to stop the spread of the virus and protect the health and wellbeing of our community and healthcare workforce.

Community members can learn more about Ballad Health’s response to COVID-19 by visiting www.balladhealth.org/COVID19. You can also learn more about the COVID-19 situation by visiting the CDC website, the WHO website, the Tennessee Department of Health website and the Virginia Department of Health website.

Andy Hall

VP Community & Government Relations

Ballad Health

1 Medical Blvd

Bristol TN 37620

SCOTT COUNTY BRIDGING THE GAP COVID-19 LOAN PROGRAM

PRESS RELEASE

CONTACT: John H. Kilgore, Jr. PHONE: 276-386-2525

SCOTT COUNTY – April 17, 2020 – The Scott County Economic Development Authority (EDA) strongly supports the small businesses in the county and desires to assist in the effort through partnering with the LENOWSCO Planning District Commission, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, and the county on a new program called Bridging the Gap, resources for the COVID-19 crisis.

The Scott County EDA will administer a loan based on the number of applications received. The loan will be distributed based on an application process at a maximum amount of $5,000 per applicant with a 0% interest rate and a deferred payment for six months. The term of the loan will be a maximum of five (5) years.

To obtain an application, please contact the Scott Co. EDA office at 276-386-2525 or email jkilgore@scottcountyva.com.

COVID-19 Business Support Initiative

From Aleta Spicer with SW VA Workforce Development Board………

The Governor has authorized $1.5 million in rapid response funding to be used by Workforce Development Boards to support small employers who are eligible to remain open during this emergency.

The allocations have been made to localities based on their working age population.  This means our allocation was very, very small – $24,305.  I have secured a few more matching dollars that will allow us to spend $5000 in each county.  I realize this is hardly even a drop in the bucket, but perhaps we can help a couple of folks save a few jobs.  And, of course, now every job counts.  Also, because the funds are so limited, we need to limit the applications to one business per family.

Small businesses who might use this money would be using it to minimize job losses. Their proposal would need to outline something their business needs in order to not close its doors.  NON-ALLOWABLE COSTS ARE:  Equipment, payroll, or materials for production (because they’re considered economic development). Here are some examples that would be okay:

  • A small business needs its employees to be at work on site but cannot afford frequent deep cleaning. THESE FUNDS COULD BE USED TO PAY FOR CLEANING/SANITIZATION SERVICE.
  • A small business whose employees use specific software or computer applications needs folks to work remotely from home. THESE FUNDS COULD BE USED TO PURCHASE THE SOFTWARE OR LAPTOPS OR SMART PHONES THAT EMPLOYEES WOULD NEED TO WORK FROM HOME.

Other ideas might be discussed on a case-by-case basis before an application is made.

Attached is the application form for a business to complete and return to the Scott County EDA by 10:00pm Tuesday, April 14 at phorton@scottcountyva.com.  The applications will be reviewed by a committee.  The funds are reimbursable, but will be turned around immediately upon receipt of invoice with supporting information.

For questions, please contact Aleta Spicer at a.spicer@swvaworks.com or 276 944-3590.

Rapid Response COVID-19 Business Support Initiative

Employer Application and Agreement

The Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board has been awarded a very small grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia to assist small businesses with certain costs related to the COVID-19 crisis that might help them meet certain needs and/or divert expenses in other areas as a form of assistance. The source of funding is the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Title I. Examples of uses include paying for cleaning services so companies can stay open, paying for cleaning supplies, or purchasing items that can assist employees in teleworking. (Note that “equipment” with a per unit value over $5,000 is not allowed; nor are wage reimbursements for employees). Another condition is that these funds are only available on a reimbursement basis, meaning the business must first incur the cost and present proof of payment to get reimbursed. Reimbursement is available for allowable costs incurred March 1, 2020 – August 31. 2020.

Our region includes Tazewell, Buchanan, Russell, Dickenson, Wise, Lee, Scott Counties and the City of Norton.  Applications may be submitted to Scott County EDA at phorton@scottcountyva.com by 10:00pm on Tuesday, April 14. 

 

Business Name

 

Business Address

 

Business Contact Information

Phone and Email

Projected Start and End Date

 

Locality Name

 

Scott County
Industry Sector (2 Digit NAICS)
Number of Employees Impacted

 

Brief Project Description

 

Description of Leveraged Resources if applicable
Total Budget Request

Signature and Certification

BY MY SIGNATURE I VERIFY: (1) THAT THE INFORMATION IN THIS APPLICATION IS ACCURATE TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND FURTHER, THAT ONLY COSTS INCURRED AFTER MARCH 1, 2020 WILL BE SUBMITTED FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR ACTIVITES APPROVED IN THIS APPLICATION (2) THAT I HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO SUBMIT THIS APPLICATION ON BEHALF OF THE NAMED BUSINESS AND (3) I CERTIFY THAT THE BUSINESS (CONTRACTOR) IS AWARE OF AND WILL COMPLY WITH THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE INNOVATION AND OPPORTUNITY ACT ASSURANCES AND CERTIFICATIONS THAT ARE POSTED AT THIS SITE, http://vcwsouthwest.com/s/assurances.pdf

]

AND INCORPORATED HEREIN BY REFERENCE.

Typed Name
Signature
Title
Date

For the Southwest Workforce Partnership:

Approved:

_______________________________________________________       __________________________

Aleta Spicer, Executive Director                                                            Date

Attachment A – Line Item Budget

LINE ITEMS Amount Provide a detailed explanation and the basis for the budget amount requested
     
   
GRAND TOTAL    

SBA Coronavirus Loans (Paycheck Protections Program/Loans)

 Who is Eligible?

  • Businesses of 500 employees or fewer, businesses within the SBA small business size threshold, self-employed individuals (sole-proprietors and independent contractors), and accommodation and food services businesses (NAICS Code 72) with 500 or fewer employees per location and less than $500 million in gross annual receipts in 2019, any business assigned a franchise operator code from , and any business that receives assistance under the Small Business Investment Act.
  • If you had employees, you had to have been in business on 2/15/2020 and paid taxes on your employees or paid independent contractors.
  • All applications must certify the following:
    • The uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the loan request to support the ongoing operations of the eligible recipient. Acknowledging that funds will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments, and utility payments.

What Can You Use the Loan On?

  • Payroll costs – Which include salary or wages, family and sick leave, allowance for dismissal or separation, health care benefits, retirement benefits, payment of state and local tax assessed on the compensation of an employee, the sum of payments to an independent contractor. Salaries in excess of 100k are not covered, compensation of employees outside of the US are not covered, and sick or family leave where a payroll tax credit is already taken are not covered.
  • Payments on a mortgage obligation
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before 2/15/2020.
  • The loan can only be used on these expenses incurred between 2/15/2020 and June 30, 2020

Where Do You Get the Loan?

 Loans would be available immediately through more than 800 existing SBA-certified lenders, including banks, credit unions and other financial institutions, and SBA would be required to streamline the process to bring additional lenders into the program.

  • The Treasury Secretary would be authorized to expedite the addition of new lenders and make further enhancements to quickly expedite delivery of capital to small employers.

 Maximum Size of the Loan

  • Multiply the average total monthly payments for payroll costs incurred during the one-year period before the date the loan was made by 2.5 or $10,000,000. The recipient shall receive the lesser of the two.
  • In the case of seasonal employers the average total employees shall be calculated for the period between 2/15/19 and 6/30/19.

 Payment Deferments

  • Payments on principal, interest, and fees will be deferred for at least six months and up to one year after the loan is issued.

Interest Rates

  • Shall not exceed 4%

Loan Maturity

  • 10 years

Collateral

  • There is no personal/individual guarantee on the loan. The SBA guarantees 100% of the loan.

Prepayment Penalty

  • None, all prepayment penalties are waived.

Loan Forgiveness

  • The following costs will be forgiven during the eight-week period starting the day the loan is issued and ending in eight weeks.
    • Payroll costs (including everything listed above)
    • Payments on interest of any mortgage obligation
    • Rent
    • Utilities
    • *Forgiveness amount may not exceed principal amount of the loan
  • The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year and reduced by the reduction in pay of any employee beyond 25 percent of their prior year compensation. To encourage employers to rehire any employees who have already been laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis, borrowers that re-hire workers previously laid off will not be penalized for having a reduced payroll at the beginning of the period.

 Grants

  • All those applying for a loan will be eligible for a $10,000 emergency grant to be issued within three days of the application being received.
  • Applicants must certify under threat of perjury that they believe they are eligible for the loan.
  • The emergency EIDL grant award of up to $10,000 would be subtracted from the amount forgiven under the Paycheck Protection Program.

Interaction With Previous SBA Loans

  • The SBA Administrator has the authority to purchase loans made before the date of enactment of this act and cover payments for up to six months for the borrower.
  • If an applicant has an SBA loan taken out on or after 1/31/20 they have the option to refinance the loan in to a PPL loan.

COVID-19 Small Business Financial Support Options

SBA COVID-19 Small Business Guidance Loan Resources

Facebook Grant – $100M Assist Small Businesses Dealing With COVID-19 Impact

SBA – Diaster Loan Assistance

Scott Co. Economic Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce:  Information and Resources to Assist Small Businesses

We all still need essential things such as groceries. What can you do to stay safer when going to the grocery store? Here are some helpful tips to be aware of when making your next shopping trip or having your groceries delivered.

Other helpful tips include:

-Cleaning off your counter tops and anywhere that bags or groceries have touched

-Disinfect reusable shopping bags

-If you can, use a virtual payment system or use a wipe to hold the pen and touch the keypad

-Do not wash fruits and veggies with soap or disinfectants. Only use running water.

-Be sure to wash your hands after handling all food and other products

How often have you picked up an item, changed your mind, and then put it back? Now more than ever, it is important to take key steps to #flattenthecurve and help to keep yourself, your family, and others protected.

Researchers have found that viruses similar to COVID-19 have been able to thrive in environments such as those found inside the typical refrigerator. So whether you shop, pick-up, or have your groceries delivered, take a few minutes to disinfect your items before you put them into the fridge or pantry.

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH LAUNCHES NEW “COVID-19 & YOU” WEB PAGE TOOL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 27, 2020
For More Information, Contact: Maria Reppas, Director of Communications, maria.reppas@vdh.virginia.gov

Virginia Department of Health Launches New “COVID-19 & You” Web Page Tool

(RICHMOND, Virginia) – The Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 web page has added a new consumer education and information topics toolbar that offers website visitors a more interactive and personalized experience.

“This COVID-19 & You tool serves to answer questions for the public regarding health concerns and issues by providing interactive experiences,” said Suresh Soundararajan, VDH chief information officer. “The intent is to make the user experience better and more targeted for people looking for information regarding COVID-19.”

The platform uses software from declared data company Jebbit.

Users are able to click through a list of topics and subtopics that are based on information consumers most frequently search for on the VDH COVID-19 website. Links go to pages that have more graphics and photos, shorter blocks of text, and larger text. Some links direct users to other websites, primarily the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. VDH subject matter experts review the information for accuracy and readability.

“Covid-19 & You allows the public an innovative way of accessing information by customizing the experience through channels,” Mr. Soundararajan said. “It addresses frequently asked questions regarding health concerns and issues. It offers an interactive way to disseminate information and create transparency and awareness for the public.”

VDH’s website team began working on the project on April 8.

“We will add additional experiences and edit the current experiences based on the analytics on these pages. Ideally, we could create user experiences for any health information VDH wants our citizens to know about,” Mr. Soundararajan said.

For the latest information on the COVID-19 situation in Virginia, go to the VDH coronavirus webpage at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.

GATE CITY, VA – Update from Dr. Sue Cantrell, Regional Director of the Virginia Department of Health.  Reposted with permission from the Virginia Star

 We have an update from Dr. Sue Cantrell of the LENOWISCO Health District regarding cases in the district.

The entire state of Virginia, including the Lenowisco Health District, is experiencing widespread community transmission of COVID-19. Residents should assume the risk of exposure is everywhere and behave accordingly, regardless of the details of specific numbers and locations of cases. Accordingly, we are no longer providing details of individual case updates.

More importantly, everyone should understand that staying safe depends on your individual behavior. The most effective ways to protect yourself and those around you, and limiting the spread of illness, are personal precautions. This is how we all work together, to save lives.

  • Stay home as much as possible, except for essential travel;
  • If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;
  • 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;
  • Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public; and
  • Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 10 people.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                      May 7, 2020

For More Information Contact

Michelle McPheron, nurse manager senior, LENOWISCO Health District, 276-328-8000

LENOWISCO HEALTH DISTRICT OFFERS DRIVE-UP TESTING FOR COVID-19 AT LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS IN LEE, SCOTT AND WISE COUNTIES

— Testing is by appointment only; must meet VDH priority criteria. —

(WISE, Virginia) – Testing capacity at commercial, private and hospital laboratories performing SARS-CoV-2 testing continues to increase in Virginia. As a result, in May, Virginia’s state laboratory, the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, will transition its services to support public health testing.

The LENOWISCO Health District has activated drive-up testing sites for COVID-19 at each local health department in Lee, Scott and Wise counties. Testing is being conducted in the parking lot of each health department Monday through Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. by appointment only, after being screened on the phone by a nurse.

Must meet VDH priority COVID-19 testing criteria:

  • Outbreak investigations;
  • Selected contact investigations;
  • Un- or underinsured persons with COVID-19 symptoms; or
  • Workers of congregate settings with COVID-19 symptoms (long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, prisons, jails, group homes).

In order to be approved for testing, you must call in advance for a screening interview. Those that are approved for testing will receive an appointment time. You must bring a valid ID to the testing site. To avoid lengthy wait times, please come to the site at your appointed time and bring your documentation with you.

To request a screening, please call:

  • Lee County Health Department – 276-346-2011
  • Scott County Health Department – 276-386-1312
  • Wise County/City of Norton Health Department – 276-328-8000

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:

  • Stay home, except for essential travel;
  • If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;
  • Stay home if 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; and
  • Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 10 people.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information online, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/lenowisco, www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                          April 21, 2020

For More Information, Contact:

Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, robert.parker@vdh.virginia.gov

 Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts Hold Drive-Thru Testing

for COVID-19 in Dickenson, Scott and Russell Counties

— Testing is by appointment only; sites are closed to the public. —

(WISE, Virginia) — The Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts have activated drive-thru testing sites for COVID-19 at locations in Dickenson, Scott and Russell counties.

These sites are closed to the public. Testing resources are limited, and only those who are pre-screened and approved for testing will be admitted, and only by appointment.

In order to be approved for testing, you must call in advance for a screening interview. Those that are approved for testing will receive an appointment time, a testing number and/or an emailed authorization letter. If you do not have access to email, you must bring a valid ID to the testing site. To avoid lengthy wait times, please come to the site at your appointed time and bring your documentation with you.

The Dickenson County Health Department will hold a site at Valley View Baptist Church, West Main St. in Clintwood on Wednesday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All available testing appointments are filled for this site.

 

The Scott County Health Department will hold a site at the Gate City Middle and High School parking lot on Harry Fry Drive in Gate City on Thursday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All available testing appointments are filled for this site.

The Russell County Health Department will hold a site at the Russell County Government Center, 139 Highlands Drive in Lebanon on Friday, April 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To be screened for testing at this site, call 276-889-7621 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Additional testing sites and dates are being planned.

“Testing is important epidemiologically and helps us determine the prevalence of disease in our community,” said Sue Cantrell, M.D., director of the Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts, “but because capacity is limited we will screen for those at highest risk. As we continue to test, we expect to have more positive cases.”

“In the vast majority of cases, testing does not inform our recommendations for your medical care,” Dr. Cantrell continued. “The best protection for each of us comes from taking personal precautions, including staying at home, practicing good hygiene and social distancing. That’s how YOU stay well, and how you protect those around you today, your family and friends, and our communities.”

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:

  • Stay home, except for essential travel;
  • If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;
  • Stay home if 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; and
  • Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 10 people.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information online, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/lenowisco www.vdh.virginia.gov/cumberlandplateau, www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

#     #     #

MEDIA NOTE:

News media access to these sites is limited, and is only for the purposes of photography and videography from a distance. These measures are necessary to ensure patient privacy and operational security.

 

For Immediate Release:

April 20, 2020

Contact:
Greg Jones
(276) 386-3831
Town Manager
townmanager@mygatecity.com

GATE CITY, VA LENOWISCO Health Districts are activating drive-thru testing sites for COVID-19.

 The Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts are activating drive-thru testing sites for COVID-19.

These sites are closed to the public. Testing resources are limited, and only those who are pre-screened and approved for testing will be admitted, and only by appointment.  Call the Scott County Health Department at 276-386-1312 for an appointment.

In order to be approved for testing, you must call in advance for a screening interview. Those that are approved for testing will receive an appointment time, a testing number and/or an emailed authorization letter. If you do not have access to email, you must bring a valid I.D. to the testing site. To avoid lengthy wait times, please come to the site at your appointed time and bring your documentation with you.

The Scott County Health Department will hold a site at Gat City Middle/High School on Thursday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Additional testing sites and dates are being planned.

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:

  • Stay home, except for essential travel;
  • If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;
  • Stay home if 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; and
  • Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 10 people.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information online, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/lenowisco www.vdh.virginia.gov/cumberlandplateau, www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                          April 17, 2020

For More Information, Contact:

Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, robert.parker@vdh.virginia.gov

 Please Note Phone Number Correction In The 4th Paragraph:

Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts Activate Drive-Thru Testing for COVID-19

— Screening expanded; location change; site added. Testing is by appointment only; sites are closed to the public. —

(WISE, Virginia) — The Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts are activating drive-thru testing sites for COVID-19 at locations in Buchanan, Lee and Dickenson counties. Testing will occur next week.

These sites are closed to the public. Testing resources are limited, and only those who are pre-screened and approved for testing will be admitted, and only by appointment.

In order to be approved for testing, you must call in advance for a screening interview. Those that are approved for testing will receive an appointment time, a testing number and/or an emailed authorization letter. If you do not have access to email, you must bring a valid I.D. to the testing site. To avoid lengthy wait times, please come to the site at your appointed time and bring your documentation with you.

The Buchanan County Health Department will hold a site in the lower parking lot of the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, 1060 Dragon Road in Oakwood on Monday, April 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To be screened for testing at this site, call 276-244-3126 on Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments will be available until all the slots are filled.

The Lee County Health Department will hold a site at the Lee County High School parking lot, 200 Generals Lane in Jonesville on Tuesday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To be screened for testing at this site, call 276-346-2011 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Dickenson County Health Department will hold a site at Valley View Baptist Church, West Main St. in Clintwood on Wednesday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To be screened for testing at this site, call 276-926-4979 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Additional testing sites and dates are being planned.

“Testing is important epidemiologically and helps us determine the prevalence of disease in our community,” said Sue Cantrell, M.D., director of the Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts, “but because capacity is limited we will screen for those at highest risk. As we continue to test, we expect to have more positive cases.”

“In the vast majority of cases, testing does not inform our recommendations for your medical care,” Dr. Cantrell continued. “The best protection for each of us comes from taking personal precautions, including staying at home, practicing good hygiene and social distancing. That’s how YOU stay well, and how you protect those around you today, your family and friends, and our communities.”

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:

  • Stay home, except for essential travel;
  • If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;
  • Stay home if 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; and
  • Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 10 people.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information online, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/lenowisco www.vdh.virginia.gov/cumberlandplateau, www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Now, more than ever, it is important to shop, eat and stay local.  One way that you can support our community is by using our local businesses to safely supply your everyday needs, now and when the pandemic is over.  This will help your friends, neighbors, family and community to remain connected and supported during a financially difficult time.

We have several restaurants here in town that are ready and able to provide you and your family with a delicious meal; breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Our shops have the perfect gifts for upcoming holidays and unique products that will provide little pick me ups for yourself!  Our hair salons are currently closed, but will be back and better than ever to keep your hair healthy and stylish!  Our local dentist’s and doctor’s offices are practicing standards to keep you and your family as safe as possible.  During this time, we must remember that we are all in this together.  The people and places that have become staples in our lives are counting on our business.  Support local, you’ll be glad that you did!

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