Weekly Highlands COVID-19 Task Force Touchpoint

April 21, 2020 

1:00 p.m.

Jon Lanford, Alleghany County Administrator, 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, Alleghany County Schools, CSB, Salvation Army, Clifton Forge Police Dept, area elected officials, WestRock, Ingevity, Dominion Energy,  Chamber of Commerce, YMCA 

  • LewisGale Alleghany Hospital have temporarily closed the ICU. Patients are being discharged or transferred to nearby facilities. They are prepared for a surge, hospital staff have been cross-trained.   
  • VDH is waiting for Virginia Tech to receive approval for emergency rapid testing. If this is approved, Roanoke and the Alleghany Highlands will be eligible for rapid testing. There will be a limit of 40 tests a day and will be completed 2 days a week at Alleghany High School.  
  • Alleghany Emergency Manager noted that there are no changes, they continue to partnering with planning. There are six positive cases in the area with one death.  
  • Covington Emergency Manager is finalizing COOP plan, working on deeper planning with minimal staff.  
  • The Virginia Supreme Court working under emergency orders through April 26. It may be extended 21 days, if not, court will be back to regular docket after April 26. 
  •  Sherriff’s office are ok with PPE.  
  • Social Services, Community Services Board and County Schools continue to be doing ok.  
  • Covington City are continue services with some teleworking. They are looking at having one employee in each office beginning May 4, and rotating employees. The offices will remain closed to the public. 
  • The Town of Clifton Forge continues working to provide services to residents. There was a firefighter that had been in contact with an individual that had been around a positive case. The firefighter is staying home 14 days.   
  • The Town of Iron Gate continues working and provide services.  
  • Alleghany County’s staff are teleworking where possible. All are providing services.  
  • The YMCA executive committee has meet and discussed possible emergency child care. It was asked if anyone on the task force has strong feelings on this to contact Jennifer Unroe and she will get this to the committee for further consideration.  
  • WestRock is working on the process to check temperatures for contractors and employees. They have provided masks and are encouraging them be used.  
  • Ingevity has called back some furloughed staff to begin April 27. They are working on temperature monitoring and providing masks. 
  • LewisGale Alleghany Hospital are doing okay with PPE and watching supplies closely. The Governor will be part of phone calls this week and they will keep everyone informed.  
  • The Chamber of Commerce has received a grant from the Alleghany Foundation to help organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Mountaineer Minuteman Militia (M3). This will aid those that need food and supplies in the area. The chamber has been connecting small businesses with information on loans, preparing & promoting reopening and how to safely reopen.   
  • The Salvation Army has received masks and have phone numbers of where they can be ordered. They have a box of 50 they can share. 
  • The possible 40 rapid tests would be done at Alleghany High School, the school officials will be notified a week in advance. The testing would preferably be on back-to-back days. The tests will be for those that have been in contact with someone that has tested positive.   
  • The new VDH reporting, via their website, includes the total tested and deaths with a breakdown by localities. The information has a drag time with input on website.  
  • The hospital staff are doing limited testing. There is a 2 day turnaround time for results.  
  • Covington City is considering a face covering policy for staff. The CSB has a policy they will share. The Town of Clifton Forge Police and Public Works departments are using face masks while near the public. 
  • VDH recommends a cloth face covering.  
  • Krystal Onaitis, Covington City Manager, thanked everyone for their time, to be safe and well.