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Take precautions against coronavirus

This past week has been one for the history books.

Tommy Wright

I was in Richmond Thursday to finish the 2020 General Assembly session and vote on the state budget (which I will provide a full report on next week), but the public focus that day and since has been on the coronavirus and how it will affect our local communities.

As you know, the situation has been rapidly changing. As of Sunday morning, March 15, there were 45 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Virginia, including one death.

The president has declared a national emergency to speed the response to the virus. Virginia’s governor has declared a state of emergency and laid out steps that our state agencies are taking to limit the spread of the virus.

He has ordered all of Virginia’s schools — public and private — shut down for a minimum of two weeks. Most of our higher education institutions have made announcements in recent days that they are suspending classes and going to online or distance learning for the immediate future.

Throughout our district, we are all closely monitoring the novel coronavirus in step with the Virginia Department of Health. Our top priority as friends and neighbors is to make sure people stay safe and healthy. We all must take precautions to safeguard ourselves and prevent the potential spread of this illness. That is the goal at this time — preventing the spread of the illness, especially to our most vulnerable populations like older adults and those who are chronically ill.

So, what can you do?

First and foremost, don’t panic. All of the preventative measures that are being recommended right now are intended to keep people healthy and not overwhelm our medical system. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, stay home. When you can, avoid being in large groups of people. Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then wash or sanitize your hands. Get plenty of rest, and drink lots of fluids.

Contact local churches to see if there is anything the congregation is doing to help people, and most importantly, be aware of what our community needs as we continue to work our way through this time.

The Virginia Department of Health is a wonderful resource for all the latest information at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/

My legislative assistant, Tammy Mulchi, and I will remain available to assist constituents with matters concerning state government. We are monitoring the situation in Virginia closely and will keep you advised as we learn more. We are also receiving information regularly on resources for assistance and hope you will reach out with any questions or concerns.

Our thoughts and prayers are with each and every person in the 61st District during this trying time.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.