On Monday, March 16, at their regular meeting, the Appomattox County board of supervisors signed a declaration of local emergency in light of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

This comes on the heels of the World Health Organization declaring coronavirus a pandemic March 11; the governor of Virginia declaring a state of emergency March 12; and U.S. President Donald Trump declaring the outbreak a national emergency March 13.

Per the county’s document, “this declaration shall activate the County’s local emergency operations plan and authorize the furnishing of aid and assistance thereunder.”

As of Tuesday, there are no cases of coronavirus in Appomattox County; however, it was deemed in the county’s best interest to declare a local emergency to enable necessary preparations should the outbreak come to Appomattox County.

Prior to the declaration, Appomattox County Public Safety Director, Bobby Wingfield said he recommended the practice of social distancing. He shared that he was meeting with Emergency Medical Services and the Sheriff’s Office on a regular basis. 

Wingfield invited Susan Walton, captain of the Appomattox County Rescue Squad, to provide an update for the board of supervisors. 

Walton reported that a COVID-19 task force has been established by the rescue squad in hopes of reducing the spread of the virus. The task force is trained, prepped and designated to deal with COVID-19 calls. Citizens are urged to use 911 only for emergency situations. 

Precautions are being taken to ensure there is no cross-contamination. 

In the case of mild bouts, they’ll encourage citizens to contact their local care center. As of the March 16 meeting, Appomattox Medical Center was the only place in the county equipped to provide COVID-19 testing.

The elderly are encouraged to not come out during this time, said Walton. Some pharmacies are waiving prescription deliveries, she added.

Wingfield said he was pleased by Walton and her team’s efforts to prepare to respond to COVID-19 cases. 

Sheriff Donald Simpson also addressed the board of supervisors.

“We’re committed to keeping the deputies healthy. We’ve taken measures to minimize our exposure, risk,” said Simpson.

He’s working to provide the proper equipment and education for his deputies to remain safe and healthy.

Simpson said the courthouse will remain open but it’s up to the judge to determine which cases are the most serious, requiring immediate attention. All other cases will be postponed for another date.

“The court function will be very limited,” said Simpson. 

Wingfield said the Emergency Medical Dispatch certification that was recently acquired by his dispatch staff will aid citizens and emergency personnel.

“I think we have a long road ahead,” said Wingfield of the COVID-19 situation.

Library Director Diana Harvey also addressed the board of supervisors. She said all library programs have been canceled except for the one-on-one tutoring sessions. The rooms are set up so that individuals involved in the tutoring sessions remain 10 feet away from one another.

The toys have been sterilized and removed until the Center for Disease Control determines they may be put out again. All library surfaces, including books, are being wiped down multiple times a day.

Computer terminals are marked out of service so that people maintain a safe distance from one another while using technology.

The Story Time program has been moved to Facebook. 

Should the library need to close to the public, Harvey said she has two weeks’ worth of work for library staff to tackle.

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