Over the last few months our hearts and prayers have been with those affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus around the world. The high death toll and medical challenges in China and Italy have been particularly heartbreaking to see in the news.
But now this dreaded coronavirus is in the U.S. Not just in big cities like Seattle, which has seen double digit-deaths, but also here where I live in James City County, located in the Tidewater region of Virginia.
On Friday our county declared a state of emergency after 7 cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed, including a teacher’s assistant in one of our elementary schools.
On Saturday a gentleman in James City County died from COVID-19 related respiratory distress, the first coronavirus death in the state of Virginia (may his soul R.I.P.) His case was from “unknown sources” which means there is community spread here. As of Tuesday there are 12 confirmed cases in our county – one of the highest numbers in our state tied with Fairfax, a county of 1 million+ in Northern Virginia.
We are a smallish county of 76,000 compared to Fairfax and populous municipalities in our state. Virginians in big cities are wondering why our county has been hit so hard by the COVID-19 coronavirus.
James City County may be small, but we are part of a hospitable tourist town that hosts over 1 million visitors every year. Folks come from all over the world to visit Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown (site of the 1st English settlement in 1607), Busch Gardens, and a host of nearby touristy places.
The College of William and Mary, one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the U.S. (Thomas Jefferson went there back in the day), hosts a wide array of vibrant activities and international visitors.
This area is also highly sought after for retirement with a plethora of gated residential communities and 15 senior living communities. Lots of these well-heeled retirees enjoy international travel.
The emergency response from our state, district and county authorities has been swift.
Universities, schools, libraries, museums, tourist areas, churches, and businesses – most everything here is closed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
But, some folks are complaining and not taking the threat seriously.
This is not the flu. It spreads exponentially, that’s why large gatherings across every sector in the U.S. have been cancelled at the cost of billions. While most of us will survive COVID-19 without much difficulty, the vulnerable in our community will not.
The vulnerable include young and old with autoimmune challenges, asthma, and the precious elderly in our midst. Staying in and not allowing this coronavirus to spread protects them.
Missing my precious Mama and Papa, it hurts my heart to hear folks disrespecting the elderly. But it’s not just the elderly who are vulnerable. There are young people on ventilators in Italy right now gasping for their lives.
That’s why we must do our part not just by washing our hands, but also helping calloused hearts wash away prejudice and indifference to the vulnerable.
There’s never been a time when what we do – or not do – can so affect others.
“Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done for Me.” Jesus
So what can we do?
+Follow public health guidelines from state and local leaders. While I disagree with one or two political policies of Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, for such times as these it is reassuring to have an accomplished medical doctor as our leader.
+ Practice social distancing. Avoid groups of 10 or more. Stay in as much as possible. Work from home. Order takeout from restaurants (avoid dining out.) Sanitize hands with 60%+ alcohol based sanitizer or (even better) 20 seconds with soap and water. Clean counters, doorknobs and high use objects with Clorox wipes and disinfectant sprays.
+Stock up on supplies like love, hope, peace and compassion.
+Open pocketbooks to help those who can’t get to daily wage jobs, children without school lunches, local foodbanks, and groups that help the vulnerable.
+Pick up groceries and supplies for elderly and vulnerable friends and neighbors.
+Reach out to friends who may feel isolated and alone stuck at home.
+Support small businesses by ordering things online.
+Support local health workers and medical professionals in every way possible.
+Support scientists and medical researchers seeking a cure and vaccine.
+Wash our hands (once again.)
+PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! & LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!
“Care is being with, crying out with, suffering with, feeling with. Care is compassion. It is claiming the truth that the other person is my brother or sister, human, mortal, vulnerable, like I am.” Henri Nouwen
grace, peace & compassionate LOVE
Oh wow Virginia! I am truly sorry to hear of the death and so many cases in your town. I believe it is the tourists who pass it on. I would have thought your town would be safe. Praying for all to stay safe and Covid free. Wash hands and practise good personal hygiene. Much love to you and stay Covid free💕🙏🙏🙏
Hope you and your parents are staying safe, GH! We’ve had more cases here, but most places are shut down to encourage staying @ 🏠! Much love to you, GH! 🧼🤗🧼
That is so very well said Virginia! I admit that sometimes I get tired of hearing people say this virus isn’t as bad as the flu. I’m in the high risk group because my immune system is not good and I’m thankful for all that is being done right now, even though it makes things hard for awhile. We should be willing to help others as Christians and be willing to put up with a little inconvenience for a while. And pray much. Have a wonderful day Virginia!🙂😺🌞
Steve, please be careful! This coronavirus for some may not be so bad, but is totally deadly for many others. Jesus told us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” That means doing our part to stop the spread, even if it requires hardship & hibernating @ 🏠. Lots of prayers & blessings to you. Stay safe!! 🧼🤗🧼
I’m staying home and only going out to get food when I need it. Stay safe Virginia, God bless!
A well-written post, Virginia. I remember Colonial Williamsburg from a conference I attended many moons ago — such a gorgeous area! I was there in the Fall, and the colors were amazing. I’m so sorry to hear the virus has claimed a life nearby. Yes, we ALL must do our part — practicing good hygiene, social distancing, self-isolation, and praying can go a long way to getting rid of this thing.
Glad you had the chance to visit Williamsburg, Debbie. The fall here is amazing, but spring is colorful, too. Yesterday I went for a walk downtown. It felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone. Duke of Gloucester street was deserted (minus a few walkers like me.) Usually spring fills our streets & outdoor cafes with crowds of visitors, students & folks from here. Everything is shut down to stop the spread… Praying it will!! Blessings, ✨💜🤗💜✨🙏✨
It’s so crazy how fast this thing spreads. I ordered my groceries online this morning and the next available pickup time is not until Saturday! Some stores are closing early and some are closing altogether. It has been crazy. My prayers are with everyone!
Michelle, our grocery stores & pharmacies are still open. We’re trying to stay @ home as much as possible. Just quick dashes out to re-supply. My prayers are with you – pls be safe!! 🧼🤗🧼🙏🧼
Just marvelous. My lungs aren’t right after open heart surgery yet and I would be very vulnerable if I got it. The way you read things elders like me at 65 with underlying conditions are disposable. Scary.
Mary, pls be safe!! You are in our prayers (& were in our prayers, especially during your surgery & recovery!) YOU ARE SO VERY VALUABLE, not just to Dave, but to all of us! The disrespect disregarding the vulnerable (including cancer patients & survivors that includes all ages) is so upsetting. But so many companies, sports, organizations have shut down (@ costs of billions) to stop COVID-19 spread. That’s hopeful! Lots of love & prayers. Be careful! ✨🧼🤗🧼✨
Just marvelous. My lungs aren’t right after surgery yet and I would be very vulnerable if I got it. The way you read things elders like me at 65 with underlying conditions are disposable.
We were actually scheduled to head your way on the 20th but because circumstances are as they are, we postponed our trip and rescheduled all our reservations for the Fall.
Sending hugs & prayers
Oh Laura, so sorry you missed a chance to visit. Walking downtown yesterday was like a Twilight Zone episode- everything is closed. Although spring is lovely here (especially when the dogwood bloom), the fall is often even more spectacular. Pls be safe! Prayers & hugs to you & yours! ✨🧼🤗🧼✨
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