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Roanoke dispatchers receive range of coronavirus-related calls, complaints as state reopens

Virginia Department of Health to enforce guidelines

ROANOKE, Va. – In the first week of Phase One of the state’s reopening plan, Roanoke City 911 dispatchers received about a dozen calls from people concerned about coronavirus guidelines not being followed.

“Could you please send a couple of units to Hunt Manor Apartments," asked one caller. “Okay. What’s going on there,” the dispatcher responded.

The caller asks officers to break up a large group of people she says is gathered at an apartment complex.

“We have the elderly up here. They need to go home,” the caller tells the dispatcher emphatically.

Another caller was concerned about people at River's Edge Park.

“Hi. My understanding is gatherings of 10 or more people are still prohibited. There’s, like, quite a large soccer game, or practice I don’t know," said the caller.

Police in both Roanoke County and Roanoke say they do not want the public to call them to report COVID-19 violations.

Even the governor has said it’s up to the Virginia Department of Health to enforce the guidelines.

A spokesperson for Roanoke police said Tuesday the department was still working with the VDH to figure out how enforcement will work.

“We follow the police department’s protocol,” said Roanoke 911 operations manager Beth Stephens.

She does not want to discourage anyone, though, from calling 911 if they think there is a true emergency.

“I think we’re navigating the waters the best we can and I think all of us, including the public, are doing a really great job in working through this together," said Stephens.

You can call 855-949-8378 to report coronavirus concerns and complaints to the Virginia Department of Health.