Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services’ Division Director Recognized by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health as Virginia’s 2020 “Community Star” Award Winner

Tim Perkins Headshot
Tim Perkins, Division Director, Community Health and Technical Resources

Tim Perkins, division director for Community Health and Technical Resources with the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) was recently honored with the prestigious “Community Star” award from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH).

Every year, the NOSORH leads National Rural Health Day, an annual celebration that recognizes those who serve the vital health needs of an estimated 57 million people living in rural America, and celebrates Community Star award winners across the nation.

The Community Star Recognition Program’s nominees are selected by their state’s coalition to recognize individuals and organizations that make a positive impact in rural communities. This year, nominations were received from 48 states, a record for this annual awards program.

In Virginia, Tim Perkins was selected as this year’s Community Star award winner. As the Division Director for the OEMS’ Community Health and Technical Resources Division, he is responsible for working with rural EMS agencies, rescue squads and Regional EMS Councils throughout the commonwealth to provide a range of education, resources and technical assistance. He advocates for various agencies at the state level and oversees multiple initiatives, including mobile integrated healthcare/community paramedicine, disease management and preventative health care services.

During Perkins’ 14 years at the OEMS, there have been many changes in the provision of emergency care, which have put a strain on rural areas, including agencies that heavily rely on volunteers, an aging workforce, and recruitment and retention challenges. However, Perkins continues to be a leader in this field and has met those challenges by focusing his efforts on response and increased telehealth services in rural Virginia.

Perkins is an asset to Virginia’s EMS System and his contributions to rural health and the provision of emergency care is commended. The OEMS is proud to congratulate and recognize Perkins for his outstanding achievements and commitment to protect the health of all people in the commonwealth.

For more information about the Community Star award, please visit: https://www.powerofrural.org/community-stars/. ​​On November 19, Tim Perkins will appear in the 2020 edition of the book of Community Stars, published on the official National Rural Health Day website, powerofrural.org.

Governor Northam Announces New Statewide Measures to Contain COVID-19

Includes limit of 25 individuals for in-person gatherings, expanded mask mandate, on-site alcohol curfew, and increased enforcement

RICHMOND—As COVID-19 surges in states across the country, Governor Ralph Northam today announced new actions to mitigate the spread of the virus in Virginia. While the Commonwealth’s case count per capita and positivity rate remain comparatively low, all five health regions are experiencing increases in new COVID-19 cases, positive tests, and hospitalizations.

“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are. We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse,” said Governor Northam. “Everyone is tired of this pandemic and restrictions on our lives. I’m tired, and I know you are tired too. But as we saw earlier this year, these mitigation measures work. I am confident that we can come together as one Commonwealth to get this virus under control and save lives.”

Governor Northam shared a new video to update Virginians on the additional steps the Commonwealth is taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which is available here.

The following measures will take effect at midnight on Sunday, November 15:

  • Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.
  • Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals aged 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.
  • Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.
  • On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10:00 p.m. must be served as in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart.

Virginia is averaging 1,500 newly-reported COVID-19 cases per day, up from a statewide peak of approximately 1,200 in May. While Southwest Virginia has experienced a spike in the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases, all five of the Commonwealth’s health regions are currently reporting a positivity rate over five percent. Although hospital capacity remains stable, hospitalizations have increased statewide by more than 35 percent in the last four weeks.

On Tuesday, Governor Northam announced new contracts with three laboratories as part of the Commonwealth’s OneLabNetwork, which will significantly increase Virginia’s public health testing capacity. Contracts with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, and Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk will directly support high-priority outbreak investigations, community testing events, and testing in congregate settings, with a goal of being able to perform 7,000 per day by the end of the year.

The full text of amended Executive Order Sixty-Three and Order of Public Health Emergency Five and sixth amended Executive Order Sixty-Seven and Order of Public Health Emergency Seven will be made available here.

For information about COVID-19 in Virginia, visit vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus. Link to press release.

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Maintaining & Achieving Your Healthy Weight

With the arrival of the holiday season comes delicious meals, sweets, excess calories, and the potential for unwanted weight gain. Maintaining your healthy weight is vital to feeling and operating at your best. The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about short-term dietary changes. It’s about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the calories you consume with the calories your body uses. Click here to check out this month’s Health and Safety Infographic for tips about managing and achieving your healthy weight!

Click here to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to learn more about maintaining and achieving a healthy weight.

COVID-19 Transmission Risks, Infection Prevention & Control

The Virginia Department of Health’s Office of EMS is proud to present Dr. Brooke Rossheim, MD, MPH, a Public Health Physician Specialist on the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-19 Testing Team guidance for COVID-19 Transmission Risks, Infection Prevention & Control for licensed Virginia EMS agencies.  This asynchronous training program is not eligible for continuing education credit.

View the training here: COVID-19 Transmission Risks, Infection Prevention & Control 

Earthquake Preparedness

Are you ready when things start to shake? International ShakeOut Day is always the third Thursday of October (this year: October 15, 2020). While COVID-19 has brought uncertainties and challenges, one thing is for sure: emergencies and disasters are still happening. Planning for emergencies such as earthquakes allows us to understand the steps necessary to prepare for the potential impacts. The more prepared you are before an earthquake, the more resilient you will be after an earthquake.

Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are an opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes: “Drop, Cover and Hold On”. They also encourage you, your community, your school or your organization to update emergency plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries.

For more information and to register to participate in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill on October 15, 2020, visit:

https://www.shakeout.org/register/

https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes