While there had been no reported cases of the coronavirus in Virginia as of Wednesday afternoon, Loudoun County officials announced the Board of Supervisors will receive a public briefing on the global outbreak and the county’s preparedness at the county government center March 11.
Information about Loudoun's meeting was released the same day Gov. Ralph Northam (D) led a press conference and briefing in Richmond.
“While the risk is still low here in Virginia, state agencies are focused on preparation efforts, and we are encouraging Virginians to practice good hygiene measures and continue following updates from state and federal health officials,” Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey said in a prepared statement.
Members of the public are welcome at the March 11 meeting in Leesburg, or they can watch the briefing on Comcast Government TV Channel 23, Open Band Channel 40, Verizon FiOS Channel 40 or online at loudoun.gov/webcast. The session begins at 5 p.m.
Dr. David Goodfriend, the county's health director, will brief the board on the novel coronavirus that causes the disease known as COVID-19 and the measures the county is taking to mitigate the infection’s impact in the community. The health department is engaged with its regional, state and federal partners to address COVID-19, some of whom will be on hand for the briefing, according to a county announcement.
As outlined in the county’s Pandemic Response Plan, the efforts include monitoring travelers, educating the public, collaborating with health care providers and working with schools on appropriate protocols.
The health department recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:
-Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
-Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
-Stay home when you are sick.
-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; or cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your shirt.
-Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.
-Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for using a facemask; the CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
As of this week, according to state officials, potential cases of COVID-19 will be tested at Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services rather than at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Virginia-based testing is expected to generate results within a few hours, allowing for faster responses.
Experts also urge the public to be cautious against misinformation and the stigmatization of certain populations – particularly Asian Americans and individuals of Asian descent.
CORONAVIRUS BY THE NUMBERS
-0 confirmed cases in Virginia
-95,097 cases worldwide
-137 cases in the U.S.
-3,252 deaths worldwide
-11 deaths in the U.S.
*Stats as of afternoon of March 4