Update from Director of Communicable Disease Dr. Molly O’Dell

Our community has been facing the COVID-19 pandemic for several weeks now. We have all had to adapt and find ways to cope with the changes caused by COVID-19. As we continue to adhere to the Governor’s Stay at Home order, it is very important to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. We also understand the importance of practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene. As we continue to do our very best to stay home and prevent the spread of COVID-19, I want to also focus on additional ways you can stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

First and foremost, let’s reframe the Stay at Home order from feeling “stuck at home” to feeling “safe at home.” This is one way we can help do our part to make the community safer. With this new mindset, let’s take it one step further and challenge ourselves to find something to be thankful for every day.

Finding the foods you typically eat may have become more difficult, whether they are from a grocery store, farmer’s market, or food pantry. In addition, getting out and making a trip to these places has also become more difficult and involves more preparation. One suggestion to continue eating well is to start your own garden where you can plant herbs and vegetables! When grocery shopping, make a plan ahead of time to get what you need for one to two weeks. Think about finding ingredients that last longer or can be prepared and saved in the fridge or freezer. Your go-to ingredients may be hard to find, but now is a great time to try new flavors and recipes.

For exercise, we have to get creative while staying safe at home. There are plenty of ways to break a sweat, including activities like chair yoga, meditation, or different workouts at home that you can do such as lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks, and going for walks. Now is a great time to dive into a new hobby. Writing, hiking, gardening, and reading are ways I love to spend my time. Even while staying at home, I can still sit outside, get some Vitamin D, and enjoy our beautiful community!

COVID-19 has impacted each and every one of us. For some, it is harder to adapt to. We have amazing resources available to us to help us get through. You may already have a family member or friend who can help be your support system. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call! Hearing their voice can help you feel connected.

There are also professional resources available to help. The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) has a helpline available Monday through Friday between 10AM to 6PM. Call (800) 950-NAMI (6264). You can also text “NAMI’ to 741741 to chat with a trained crisis counselor. For assistance with food, financial assistance, employment, or other resources, call 2-1-1 to be connected with local referrals.

Your primary care physician is there to help give medical advice should you experience symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath). The local Health Department Call Center is available to answer questions about COVID-19, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and can be reached at 1-855-949-8378.

Virginia’s health is in your hands. Do your part, stop the spread.

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