Weekly Highlands COVID-19 Task Force Touchpoint

April 14, 2020 

1:00 p.m.

Krystal Onaitis, Covington City Manager, opened the conference call.  

Organizations/Representatives via phone conferencing: DSS, Carillion, VDH, Alleghany County, Town of Clifton Forge, Covington City, Iron Gate Town Clerk, Local Emergency Managers, Sheriff’s office & Regional jail, Commonwealth Attorney, Covington Police Dept & EMS, Covington and Alleghany County Schools, CSB, Salvation Army, Clifton Forge Police Dept, Dominion Energy, Area elected officials, WestRock, Ingevity 

  • VDH confirmed there are five COVID-19 cases in the Alleghany Highlands. All health providers are pulling together. They are keeping a log on the use of PPE, reaching out to Emergency Managers with information that they need. They are sharing posts with information. There is a lot of planning being prepared for the short and long term. They are working on guides for jails, long term and congregated living facilities. These facilities should have their own emergency plans for treatment and transport of anyone testing positive. These guides will be shared locally.  
  • The testing site is ready and on hold while waiting on enough tests. It can be started within a few hours.  
  • There was discussion about the possibility to get internal numbers of recovering patients. 
  • VDH has been doing a great job at getting information out to the public. 
  • The Area Emergency Managers participate on conference calls with VDEM. There is a reimbursement cost process, this is a new plan due to this being a nationwide event. Anyone can reach out to them to ask if something qualifies. Covington is sharing VDH updates with 911 dispatchers. There will be a check on local food banks to see what is needed. Alleghany County is continuing COOP, deep cleaning, employees that can telework are doing so.  They have received small shipments of PPE.  
  • The city schools were thanked for sharing their cleaning/sanitization supplies with First Responders. 
  • The Town of Clifton Forge Police dept are keeping public awareness. The Town continues to provide services to citizens even while the building is closed to the public. The county school system shared a disinfectant sprayer that has been used in police vehicles and also in ambulances. 
  • The Smokehouse in Iron Gate has food to go. The Diner plans to open back up soon. The Mountaineer Minuteman Militia (M3), Salvation Army and Chamber have delivered meals to those in need. There have been store runs, then deliveries, to Iron Gate residents. This is due to the fact they do not have anyone to do this for them.  
  • The AHEDC are working on a list of temporarily closed businesses. 
  • VDH continues to provide a weekly article in the local newspaper, have media releases and soon to have more local follow-up on cases.  
  • There are video Court sessions being held, this avoids transports.  
  • The Regional Jail continues to use the screening form, have received some PPE and are assisting with meal deliveries.  
  • Covington City Police worked with area churches over the Easter weekend. There was one drive up church service and the department continues to keep a presence in the area.  
  • Social Services have most of their staff working remotely. There has been an increased request of services in the pandemic. There was emergency SNAP on March 25 and will be on April 16 for allotments for household size. 
  •  Community Services Board have a resource center which includes PPE, some individuals can be helped via remote work however for mental health and prescriptions they are assisted in person. 
  • The Salvation Army continues to deliver food. They are having a difficult time finding large quantities of food to buy for the pantry. They expect that next month there will be a need for assistance on rent and utilities for residents. Anyone can call the Salvation Army to apply for assistance.  
  • Covington schools have been sending packets of school work and have on-line learning for those with internet access. They are feeding 250 a day at three site pickups and will do so until May 20. The staff and families have been wonderful and are appreciative. There was also a $25 gift card for students from the food bank in Roanoke.  
  • County schools are providing school work with some work being via Chromebook. They are feeding 1200 a day with bus delivery Monday-Thursday (with Thursday being a double food day). The state will determine if there will be an extended or summer feeding program. 
  • WestRock will begin checking temperatures for contractors this week and employees next week. Masks will also be required.  
  • Ingevity are re-evaluating their customer base and any downtime that is needed within the organization. 
  • Dominion Energy are screening employees and requiring social distancing with customers. They are responding as safe and quickly after a storm as possible. 
  •  Jon Lanford, Alleghany County Administrator, thanked everyone for their time and work then closed the meeting.