ROANOKE, Va – Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District officials said they have already had to remind several businesses in the region to follow the new COVID-19 restrictions.
The newly-amended executive order from Gov. Ralph Northam gives the Department of Health the power to enforce new restrictions in businesses.
Dr. Molly O’Dell with VDH said that despite having a lack of staffing has already happened several times in just the last two days.
“We ourselves have rearranged some workloads in order to be more effective, but our bandwidth is still strained,” explained O’Dell.
The tightened guidelines come as Southwest Virginia continues to be the worst region in the state when looking at percent positivity of coronavirus cases.
“Because we have so much substantial community spread now we have a larger and larger amount of people who have no idea where they got it,” said O’Dell.
She said the process of enforcement is new for her staff, but they are working with law enforcement to give out tickets to those who violate the rules.
“We actually have to go to the magistrate and do an affidavit and make an attestation after doing diligence of our investigation in order to initiate the citation,” explained O’Dell.
She said there is hope on the horizon as the health district is looking to hire new staff members to help prepare for the local distribution of a vaccine.