Public Comments for 09/17/2020 Health, Welfare and Institutions
The VA Press Association (VPA) supports SB 50981 (Barker), the companion bill to Chairman Sickles HB 5048 and thank both patrons for working with us and introducing these bills. The VPA believes it’s in the public interest for the community at large to know exactly where outbreaks are occurring and how big they are. This bill doesn’t change who has to report to VDH; rather it clarifies what information VDH must post about where the outbreak occurs- the name of the location, number of active cases and number of deaths. It’s important for the public to know where the outbreak is because it potentially affects a much wider swath of people at a variety of settings- schools, universities, correctional facilities, and nursing homes. It’s critical information for the community at large to have when assessing the potential risk of interacting with anyone associated with the location, such as a school or even going to a business close to a university campus. Finally, this transparency is in necessary for the managing of the public health crisis: identifying specific facilities and locations where outbreaks have occurred puts real “faces” (even if just places) on the outbreak. People can relate and can better understand the severity of the public health emergency and take the appropriate precautions. We are also very appreciative of the addition of the emergency clause so this will be in effect as soon as possible during this pandemic. We also support conforming the Senate version to the House bill to include the clarifying amendment adding "to subsection B" on line 15 of the engrossed version of HB5048. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, My name is Elizabeth Cushing and I am representing AARP Virginia. We support the following bills: SB5042 SB5081 SB5090 SB5109 Thank you.