ROANOKE, Va. – Governor Northam is expected to unveil a facemask policy later today. He said Friday his team would be working throughout the weekend on some type of policy to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This comes as the Governor took heat over the weekend when he was in Virginia Beach posing for pictures without a face covering. His staff said he wasn’t expecting to be around people, but should have brought a face covering in case plans changed. Starting today he will give updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As always, we’ll carry those live at 2 p.m. right here and on air on WSLS 10 News.
The New River Valley Public Health Task Force will hold drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the New River Valley Fairgrounds from noon to 2 p.m. You much have a letter from the health department and an appointment to get a test. They've given more than 2-thousand tests in the last two months. If you have questions about COVID-19 or wish to request an appointment for testing, call the New River Health District's COVID-19 public health call center at 540-267-8240. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. After hours, leave a message.
Lynchburg City Council meets several times today. On the agenda is continued discussion on the school budget. The Lynchburg Education Association president says between monies taken from the school system for the task force and having funds returned to the city from this year's budget, LCS has already returned more than $2.5 million to the city. In its latest budget, the school board agreed to cut an additional $1 million from its pre-COVID-19 request of level funding. He says asking the division to cut an additional $1.2 million would be a devastating blow during a critical time in the history of this city.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia will appear via videoconference before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals at 9:30 a.m. for arguments on behalf of Gavin Grimm who sued the Gloucester County School Board in 2015 for adopting a discriminatory bathroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers. In August of 2019, two years after Grimm graduated high school, a federal district court ruled in his favor. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to review this decision by the Gloucester County School Board.
Five more DMV offices open today, joining nine others that opened last week. Lynchburg and Tazewell will be open Monday through Saturday for appointments only. Thousands of people have made appointments online for things like driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, and disabled parking permits. To make an appointment visit www.dmvNOW.com/appt
The Salem VA Medical Center will begin expanding some services. Each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) selects facilities as Lead Sites to be the first to implement a phased approach to reopening. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) developed a risk-based framework to prioritize non-urgent procedures, in addition to the urgent procedures currently being performed. Evaluation of factors such as patient health, staff safety and resource considerations will guide expansions and scheduling decisions. Salem will continue to use virtual care options like VA Video Connect, telehealth, phone consults and wellness checks. The Salem VA Medical Center will share best practices with facilities across the country.
Senator Tim Kaine starts a series of virtual discussions to address the health and economic effects from COVID-19. Today he's talking about rural broadband in Western Virginia and efforts to expand access to internet connectivity as many children had to learn from home without internet. Then later, he'll hold a video conference with drug court teams in Southwest Virginia to learn how they're faring under current challenges and suggestions for future federal support.
The coronavirus won't keep Opera Roanoke from singing! They will perform for the residents of Hermitage Nursing Home in Northwest Roanoke. They can open their windows to hear everything from opera to folk, Broadway, and Americana.
The Bedford County Board of Supervisors meets tonight. On the agenda is adopting the county and school budgets... And a need for more money to support a large increase of children coming into foster care. Staff says this year 40 children were taken into care and there are not enough foster parents so children have to be placed in more expensive facilities. They're requesting more than $2.4 million dollars to cover the increase but 70-percent is expected to come from the state.
Martinsville city council meets tonight. On the agenda is an update on the proposed city budget. Budget work sessions are scheduled with the schools for Wednesday. The budget is expected to be adopted next month.
The Roanoke area census office will re-open this week after being closed due to COVID19. The U.S. Census Bureau is beginning a phased restart of some field operations in ten more states, including Virginia.