Compliance with Governor Ralph Northam’s stay at home order issued this week is essential for limiting the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19, Delegate Keith Hodges (R-98) said in a statement today, imploring the community to take that order a step further and remaining only in their primary residences.
“We are sure the number of people with COVID-19 at this time is much higher than we know because the virus causes a wide range of symptoms from no symptoms at all to mild cold to severe pneumonia,” Hodges said. “Our rural medical system is not equipped to handle a large influx of people getting sick while in our District and for their best interest they should remain close to their primary homes.”
That includes second homeowners, campers, visitors, Airbnb renters, and more.
By staying in your primary residence, Hodges said, “we have a fighting chance to deny the virus the opportunity to spread from person to person.”
Each time a person leaves their home, or travels to another locality, they open up the chance to spread the disease even further, even if they don’t realize it.
More than 30,000 residents on the Middle Peninsula work outside of the region each day, accounting for the highest out-commute rate in the state, and while many have been able to convert to telework during this time, many have also had to maintain leaving the region each day for their jobs.
For those residents, Hodges urges them to practice strict social distancing (at least six feet away from others), frequent washing of hands and sanitizing all surfaces.
“We still have a chance to limit the impact of this virus on our lives here in rural Virginia,” said Richard Williams, M.D., MPH, Director of the Virginia Department of Health’s Three Rivers Heath District. “If we fail to take this seriously, if we allow the virus more chances to spread, it will do so and more lives will be lost. Each of us has a duty to act right now to try to save ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.”
The impact to businesses in the district has already been felt, Hodges said, as has the impact to many families across our region.
Businesses have been ordered to close, furlough employees, change operations and become innovative in this time of crisis, Hodges said.
“We can’t begin to rebuild our local economy and reopen businesses until we stop the spread of this illness,” Hodges said. “Together we – rural strong Virginians – will get through this all.”