Schools Closed Statewide, Now What?

Since Governor Northam ordered the closure of Commonwealth schools for the rest of the year its meant a lot of changes for local families. What do to for your child’s education and entertainment is near the top of the list for most parents. Remember that Northam has also requested all Commonwealth citizens to refrain from travel at this time in an effort to reduce the transmission of the Coronavirus.
Keep in mind that while public gatherings of more than ten people is banned throughout the state; this ban does not apply to health care or medical services, food banks, media, law enforcement etc. In an emergency you will still be able to access vital services should you need them.
For education the rest of this year, the Virginia Department of Education is providing guidance to help ensure students are served equally, regardless of access to technology, learning status, or special needs. Some of this will be provided thru summer programming, integrating instruction into coursework next year, and allowing students to make up content. VDOE intends to submit a waiver to temporarily lift the end of year testing cycle, and will also look into options for waiving state mandated testing.
Lonesome Pine Regional Library is continuing to offer services while buildings are closed to the public. All library branches will now offer porch or foyer pick up services during normal operating hours. Adults and children can check out reading materials via email to their local library or through the regional library website at www.lprlibrary.org. No fines will be charged during this time.
The popular Books By Mail service has now been extended to everyone in the community. For details or to receive books please phone 276-328-4806 or 276-328-8325. Anyone will a valid library card may access audiobooks, children’s programs, ebooks, magazines, movies, and videos and more online at www.lprlibrary.org. There is also an option to register for a library card online in case you need one.

Health Call Centers Available 24/7

Across the Commonwealth, public health districts have created health call centers to answer questions and provide informed information concerning COVID-19 and other associated issues. Some of the information available is symptoms, how to minimize your risk of exposure to yourself and others, regional conditions, testing resources and also how they are being used, along with what to do if you think you may be ill or might have been exposed.
Available Monday thru Friday from 8am-4:30pm.
Lee County 276-346-2011
Scott County 276-386-1312
Wise County & Norton 276-328-8000

MEOC Waives Transit Fees for Public

Along with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, the Mountain Empire Older Citizens Transit will offer free transportation to the general public until the end of April. Serving Lee, Scott and Wise Counties, as well as the city of Norton, regular rates are anywhere from .75 to $1.50. MEOC operates a demand and response service and is maintaining its normal operating schedule for now, but has increased their sanitization routines greatly. MEOC Transportation is available Monday through Friday from 7am until 5pm, with services open to all ages. To schedule a ride, please phone ahead at least twenty-four hours in advance to 276-523-7433.

Health Wagon Health Nurse Connect Line 833-822-5523

There is still a limited supply of COVID-19 test kits available at the Health Wagon. Officials continue to advise that testing for COVID-19 may become more readily available at a later time. At this time, if you feel symptomatic and need to be tested, please contact Ballad Health at 833-822-5523.
This Health Nurse Connect line is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For information on symptoms, state mandates, and resources, please visit the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) at www.vdh.gov/coronavirus or visit the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Health Wagon Health Nurse Connect Line

There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 test kits available at the Health Wagon. Officials have advised that testing for COVID-19 may become more readily available at a later time. At this time, however, if you feel symptomatic and need to be tested, please contact Ballad Health at 1-833-822-5523.
This Health Nurse Connect line is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For additional information on COVID-19 symptoms, state mandates, and resources, please visit the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) at www.vdh.gov/coronavirus or you may visit the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Press Release Yuma & Snowflake Drug Busts

As a result of citizen complaints concerning drug activity in the Yuma and Snowflake community and a lengthy investigation by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police Tactical Team and the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force, two search warrants were served on two separate residences.
The search warrant in Yuma yielded more than fifty grams of Crystal Methamphetamine with a street value of $1600, three handguns, one sawed-off shotgun, and U.S. currency. Two people were arrested during the execution of the search warrant.
The search warrant in the Snowflake community resulted in over half a pound of processed high grade marijuana with a street value of $4,000, 30 Oxycodone, with a street value of $900, and U.S. currency. Two people were arrested during the execution of that search warrant.
Sheriff Edds would like to thank everyone for their hard work and would encourage the public to continue to report suspicious activity.

New Adoption Fee Possible at Scott County Animal Shelter

Those looking for a new furry friend are always encouraged to adopt an animal from their local shelter. Over in Gate City, anyone adopting an animal from the Scott County Animal Shelter may soon need to pay an adoption fee.
This proposal was submitted by Jake Dougherty of the Scott County Animal Shelter at the most recent Wise County Board of Supervisor’s meeting. Although shelter animals can currently be adopted free of charge, this new proposal would establish a thirty dollar adoption fee for each animal, along with fees for rescue groups and others that take animals from the shelter.
According to Dougherty, the adoption fee was submitted as part of their new wellness program at the shelter in which animals are vaccinated by the staff for serious diseases such as Parvo and Distemper as they are admitted to the shelter. Currently these vaccinations and their cost has been absorbed by the shelter, but staff believe the proposed Adoption Fee would help to alleviate the burden of at least a portion of these vaccinations and other necessary veterinarian care that is sometimes required. This would save potential animal adopters money on the vaccines that they would otherwise need to pay for at a veterinarian’s office.
Also submitted was a proposed fee for owners that have lost an animal which ends up at the shelter, the Return to Owner Fee is currently $3 a day, but because of the new Wellness Policy and Vaccines that the animal receives, staff have suggested raising the fee to $13 for the first day and $3 for each additional day.
There has also been a $10 fee for the Scott County Humane Society, which takes some animals from the shelter and puts them with rescue groups. Currently the Humane Society takes animals free of charge, but has to pay for their vaccines.
County Attorney Sally Kegley related that the Board of Supervisors would need to hold a Public Hearing to be able to change the Animal Control Ordinance to reflect the Adoption Fee, which will take place next month.

Formal Request from Virginia Senators Warner and Kaine to FNS

US Senators of Virginia Warner and Kaine, sent a formal request to the Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service the (FNS) at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging for swift approval of Virginia’s request to operate a Disaster Household Distribution Program. This designation by the Food and Nutrition Service would allow food banks to distribute USDA foods directly to Virginia’s neediest families while limiting the interactions between food bank staff, volunteers, and recipients during the coronavirus outbreak. The request read in part as follows;
“We write today in support of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) request to operate a Disaster Household Distribution Program in Virginia due to the ongoing public health emergency caused by the spread of COVID-19. Timely approval of this request is needed to ensure families in Virginia have access to healthy foods during this crisis.
In Virginia, many households are out of work due to the ongoing public health emergency. This has created an unprecedented increase in need for food services across the Commonwealth. With little time to prepare, many families have found themselves without the finances to maintain a healthy diet. Unfortunately, congregate food distribution is not an option at this time due to the potential spread of COVID-19. A household distribution program is required to ensure the safe and efficient distribution of food to families in need.
The Virginia Federation of Foodbanks-working in conjunction with VDACS-will operate the Disaster Household Distribution Program in the Commonwealth. Virginia Foodbanks will utilize their existing inventories of USDA foods and donated foods to help supplement families’ nutritional needs. Participants in the program will not be required to complete long and burdensome application forms. The goal will be to limit interaction between staff, volunteers, and recipients to ensure the safe and expeditious delivery of food to families.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and all you do to ensure Americans have access to healthy foods.

LENOWISCO Confirms COVID-19 in Lee County

Last week saw the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 locally as reported by LENOWISCO. In Lee County, two residents of our district tested positive for the Coronavirus. In the first case were a male and female pair in their fifties, and the second case is a contact for their household.
LENOWISCO assures everyone that none of them have had any contact with the community prior to the arrival of their first symptoms, after which, they have all maintained the strictest of isolation. No community contact has taken place.
Sue Cantrell, MD Director, LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau Health Districts states, “As we see new cases of COVID-19 throughout the Commonwealth, and going forward in our communities. It is critical that people follow the public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene. Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies in lessening the impact of this pandemic.”
People are reminded to avoid social gatherings of more than ten people. Individuals aged sixty-five or older, or those with chronic medical conditions are strongly encouraged to stay at home during this time. Additional information may be had by calling the 1-877-ASK-VDH3 Hotline. (1-877-275-8343)
In the meantime, everyone is reminded to wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of twenty seconds. If soap is unavailable use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve instead of your hand. Disinfect objects and surfaces frequently.
Avoid contact with sick people, and if you are sick please self-quarantine. If you have symptoms, contact your health professional by phone. As time goes on these directives may expand, but at this time these are the best known measures to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Health Wagon President and CEO Dr. Teresa Tyson, FNP

Before the time that the COVID-19 virus was deemed pandemic, the Health Wagon was hastily implementing new policies and procedures to keep patients, employees and partners safe. The Health Wagon has implemented increased sanitizing and disinfecting of stationary and mobile clinics this continues to be a top priority. In addition, they are practicing crucial social distancing while seeing patients via many different modalities including telehealth access at their website (www.thehealthwagon.org).
The Health Wagon is skilled with virtual telehealth as they have been practicing it for twenty-seven years. If you have a smart phone or computer, you can connect to their providers Monday through Friday from 9a-5p. If you don’t have a smart phone or computer the Smiddy Clinic in Wise at 5626 Patriot Drive and Clintwood Clinic in Clintwood at 233 Chase Street is open with iPads for you to connect to a provider from the lobby area. Please call ahead to discuss your health care needs. Do not take along guests or guest riders in your vehicle as it may be necessary to facilitate a visit in your vehicle. For minors, one guardian may accompany during the visit.
At this time the Health Wagon has needs. They have financial needs. They are low on personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically N95 masks, face shields, disinfectant sprays and sanitizing wipes. They are actively engaged with patients to ensure they have necessary food, medications, and access to medical and mental health services at this time.
There is a limited supply of COVID-19 test kits available at the Health Wagon. Officials have advised that testing for COVID-19 may become more readily available at a later time. At this time, if you feel symptomatic and need to be tested, please contact Ballad Health at 833-822-5523.
This Health Nurse Connect line is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For information on symptoms, state mandates, and resources, please visit the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) at www.vdh.gov/coronavirus or visit the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.