The Alleghany Highlands COVID-19 Task Force has provided its latest update on efforts, resources, testing and vaccinations.
As health officials warned, positive case counts — and unfortunately deaths — have increased exponentially since the start of the holiday season.
The Highlands COVID-19 Task Force wants to remind those who live, work and play in the Highlands to continue to follow guidelines established by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and VDH (Virginia Department of Health) relating to COVID mitigation,” said Covington City Manager Krystal Onaitis. “This remains a trying time for all in the Highlands, impacting our way of life, school-aged children, mental health, local economy, etc.
“We must also recognize that at this point in the pandemic we all have known personally or felt directly the impact of COVID and what it can mean for a person and their family,” she added.
Below are some reminders and informational updates that the Task Force wishes to share.
“That being said, there are things we can all do to help slow the spread and/or stop COVID,” Onaitis added. “Please remember that we can only get through this together, as we are #HighlandsStrong and #WeAreAllInThisTogether.”
Ways to Minimize the Spread of COVID
• Wear a face covering when outside of your home, especially if you are around others outside of your household.
• Maintain social distance of six feet or more, as much as possible with those outside of your household.
• Limit time indoors with those outside of your household.
• Increase your handwashing (doing so for 20 seconds), or use hand sanitizer if water and soap are not readily available.
• Disinfect communal/ high touch surfaces in your household as well as workspace.
• If you feel sick, or have COVID symptoms (even mild), stay home and avoid contact with others. Please contact your physician or the VDH local office for guidance on next steps.
• If you are COVID positive, awaiting test results, or had a confirmed exposure, it is very important to follow the established guidelines on how to quarantine and/or self-isolate if needed.
This means limiting contact and outings.
Information on how to quarantine and self-isolate based on medical guidance can be found here: https://www.vdh.virginia. gov/coronavirus/frequently-asked-questions/isolation-quarantine-movement-restrictions-public-health-monitoring/ .
Update on Response Efforts
The regional VDH office, Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, has begun making vaccines available to the Highlands, namely first responders and other essential frontline employees that fall under 1a and 1b category per the commonwealth’s vaccination plan. Information can be found on the Vaccination Plan at:
• RCAHD Vaccine Website: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/roanoke/covid-19-rcahd-local-data-resources/;
• VDH Vaccine Website: https://www.vdh.virginia. gov/covid-19-vaccine/.
Within the Highlands, it is also important to note that private providers have ramped up their efforts as well with testing and treating those affected by COVID. As of Jan. 4,?Lewis-Gale Hospital-Alleghany has reopened its ICU to care for both COVID and non-COVID patients. Testing events continue to be held by the RCAHD and local VDH offices throughout the region. Pre-registration is not required, but testing is based on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Drive-thru testing is scheduled for Feb. 2 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College and on Feb. 9 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Eagle Rock Library.
Testing is also scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. on March 2 at DSLCC.
For more information on COVID-19, the following online resources are recommended, CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/, or the VDH website: http://www. vdh.virginia.gov/. For those without internet, VDH has a regional hotline 1-855-949-8378, as well as a state hotline, 1-877-ASK-VDH3.
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