Coronavirus Resources for Washington County Families
Virginia
Policies and Resources from Virginia State Agencies
Safer at Home
NEW - starting May 15, sports and entertainment venues in Virginia may begin to operate with expanded capacity and social gathering limits will increase. Recreational sporting events will be able to have more people in attendance and the midnight ban on alcohol sales will be lifted. The Governor cited the increase in vaccinated Virginians - half of all adults have at least one shot - as the reason for the easing of restrictions.
Details of current protocols are at Virginia.gov/coronavirus.

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Visitation
Families who have not been able to see their loved ones in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic may now be able to visit in person. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced in early March that health care facilities in Virginia can expand visitation practices for residents and their families.
Virginia Coronavirus Updates
Virginia state actions and support for citizens: economic, employment, utility, transportation/DMV, childcare, education, courts and jails, and other information, in addition to health updates.

The Virginia Open Data Portal offers current data about COVID-19 by locality and health district across Virginia. Data sets include, disease spread by Zip Code, hospitalizations and deaths by locality, by age, testing results, key hospital measures, and outbreaks.
Virginia Department of Health
Updates and maps the toll of Covid-19 across Virginia.
Offers up-to-date information about what to do & how. Here's the Va. Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Information Center. Here's the Va. Department of Health's COVID-19 Vaccine Progress Summary.

Local COVID-19 Testing Sites - Testing is available for everyone experiencing symptoms or anyone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19:
  • Visit this Department of Health web page for Coronavirus testing sites around Washington Co. and the region. Testing is available in Abingdon, Bristol, Meadowview, Saltville, Marion, and beyond. Testing is by appointment only at all sites. Click on the "More Info" link at each site listing for telephone numbers to make your appointment and testing hours.
  • Ballad Health Remote Testing Sites: Please call 833-822-5523 to be screened if you are concerned you may be ill with COVID-19. This Ballad Health Nurse Connect line is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • CVS Pharmacies - 801 E. Main St., Abingdon, 276-628-8119 and 31 East Valley Dr., Bristol, VA, 24201, 276-669-4640, offer drive-through testing.
  • Walgreens Pharmacies - 668 W Main St, Abingdon, VA 24210, (800) 925-4733, and their Bristol, TN, stores, offer drive through testing.

The Virginia Department of Health is Still Hiring Contact Tracers to conduct and oversee the COVID-19 contact tracing process. Interested applicants will find a listing of open positions (scroll all the way down the page to the orange box). With the virus caseload smaller, contract tracing has become far more effective again and Virginia has one of the most effective programs.

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) has a data dashboard to provide up-to-date statistics on the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the Commonwealth, ventilator usage, current hospital bed availability, and metrics on the number of hospitals experiencing challenges obtaining or replenishing critical inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other needed medical supplies.
COVIDWISE App from the Virginia Dept. of Health
The COVIDWISE app is available for Virginians.
  • This app provides updates, testing information, and other relevant knowledge regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It will help warn you if you have been exposed.
  • The app does not track user data, privacy is protected
Statewide requirement for wearing face coverings
Governor Northam's order requiring wearing face coverings is grounded in science and data, including recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Face coverings do not take the place of public health guidelines to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increased cleaning and sanitation, and washing hands regularly.

Face coverings have been found to protect others from virus transmission from the wearer, not the wearer from transmission from others. Wearing a mask, is part of a regimen that protects yourself and others. Conversely, others wearing face coverings serve to protect you. The CDC has new mask recommendations, regarding fit and recommending two-overlapping masks.

A face covering includes anything that covers your nose and mouth (a mask, scarf, or bandana). Medical-grade masks and personal protective equipment should be reserved for health care professionals. Under the Governor's executive order, any person age ten and older must wear a mask or face covering at all times while entering, exiting, traveling through, and spending time in the following public settings:
* Personal care and grooming businesses
* Essential and non-essential brick and mortar retail including grocery stores and pharmacies
* Food and beverage establishments
* Entertainment or public amusement establishments when permitted to open
* Train stations, bus stations, and on intrastate public transportation, including in waiting or congregating areas
* State and local government buildings and areas where the public accesses services
* Any indoor space shared by groups of people who may congregate within six feet of one another or who are in close proximity to each other for more than ten minutes

Exemptions to these guidelines include while eating and drinking at a food and beverage establishment; individuals who are exercising; children under the age of two; a person seeking to communicate with a hearing-impaired person, for which the mouth needs to be visible; and anyone with a health condition that keeps them from wearing a face covering. Children over the age of two are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering to the extent possible.

A study, comparing nations mandating use of face masks, undertaken by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, indicates that face coverings dramatically lower COVID-19 death rates.
NEW-Virginia Crisis Counseling Program (VA C.O.P.E.S)
The Virginia Crisis Counseling Program is called Virginia C.O.P.E.S. which stands for compassionate, optimistic, person-centered, empowering support. The program is part of the federal and state behavioral health response to the current state of emergency. The program's main focus is supporting the mental and emotional well-being of those impacted by the pandemic as well as directing callers to community resources.
VA C.O.P.E.S can be reached by phone or text at 877-349-6428.
Crisis Counselors are available during the following times to take calls:
Monday-Friday 9am-9pm
Saturday-Sunday 5pm-9pm
Spanish speaking counselors and other translation services are available.
Highlands Community Services
Offering current clients tele-health mental health counseling. HCS offices are closed, but Crisis Services are always available; call 276 525-1557 and press 7, 8:30 am-5:00 pm. After hours, call 1 866 589-0269. Access points to additional mental health services are listed here.

Community Services Boards (like Highlands Community Services) across Virginia have transitioned from some in-person strategies to working remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local Community Service Boards.

On-line national mental health/counseling resources from the Virginia Dept. of Health.
Virginia Income Taxes
Filing without penalties with an extension ended November 1st.
Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS) - Washington County
Gov. Northam has relaxed requirements, ended co-payments, and extended services for Medicaid and FAMIS healthcare services and more. The DSS office is currently closed to the public. Access information on programs and benefits online. Call (855) 635-4370 for medical assistance only. Washington Co. DSS has installed an agency drop box outside the building where people can drop off paperwork. It will be checked several times throughout the day.

The $600/week additional federal unemployment assistance does not count as part of your income for eligibility for Medicaid and FAMIS services.

If you need replacement EBT SNAP benefits, call your DSS worker first, leaving a message if necessary. If you can't connect with your worker, call 1-866-281-2448. (More about SNAP benefits under "Food & Utilities")

The state DSS has a new website, which makes it easier to find the information you need to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency. It covers a variety of subjects including resources for food, domestic violence, feeling sick and more.

Increased access to health care for Virginia's Medicaid members and thousands of low-income residents:
  • Eliminate 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.
  • Ensure current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
  • Permit Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
  • Waive pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services, and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
  • Expand access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.
  • Medicaid/FAMIS information can be found here.
Child Care

Governor Northam directed the Department of Social Services to modify Virginia's Child Care Subsidy program, to increase support and flexibility for enrolled families and providers. The modifications:
  • 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 predetermination in the near future by 2 months and temporarily suspending the requirement for face-to-face interviews.
NEW - Expansion of the Child Care Subsidy Program establishes a new short-term eligibility category for parents seeking financial assistance for child care while they are looking for employment and temporarily expands income eligibility guidelines for families with young children. The new income eligibility levels allow families with a household income of up to 85 percent of the state median income to apply if they have a child under age five, or not yet in kindergarten, to qualify. Additional federal funding will support families and child care providers by:
* Waiving co-payments for families in April, May, and June.
* Increasing absence days so providers and families can manage occurrences where child care providers may temporarily need to close or children may need to quarantine.
* Building the foundation for a statewide mental health consultation program to assist child care providers in helping children through this difficult time.
* Issuing a fourth round of child care stabilization grants to eligible open providers.
* Providing funding for grants and contracts to support increased access to child care in underserved communities.
* Supplementing the state's innovative child care educator incentive program so that eligible educators in child care centers and family day homes receiving public funding such as the Child Care Subsidy Program are now eligible for up to $2,000 this year to strengthen quality and reduce turnover.

Visit ChildCareVA.com. Families can learn more about expanded eligibility and how to apply here.
Virginia Employment Commission
DMV
The Abingdon DMV is open. The office will be open by appointment only to focus on services needed in person. Residents are encouraged to utilize online and mail services when available.

DMV is offering most current 8-yr credential holders who are required to renew in person between Sept 2020 and Dec 2021 the option to obtain a new 2-yr driver's license or ID online, temporarily suspending the requirement for them to visit.

Real ID deadline enforcement deadline has been extended from Oct 1, 2020 to Oct 1, 2021. That means that starting October 1, 2021, Virginians who wish to use their state-issued driver's license or identification card to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility must present a REAL ID compliant version. Otherwise, they'll have to present another federally acceptable form of ID, such as a valid U.S. passport. Real ID compliant driver's licenses can be obtained from DMV by presenting the proper identification.
Virginia Department of Corrections
State Employee Memo from Governor Northam
Read here.
Voter Information
You can register to vote, apply for an absentee ballot, or vote "absentee-in-person" with assistance from the Washington County Voter Registrar.
Read the values WIN stands for in Washington County. Join 600 WIN members here. Membership is FREE.
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