Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China named Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Chinese health officials have reported tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases in the People's Republic of China, with widespread person-to-person transmission
in many parts of that country. Infections have been reported in China outside of the Hubei province and internationally including Japan, Italy, South Korea, and Iran with either sustained or widespread
transmission of COVID-19, with the first case in the United States detected on January 21, 2020. The United States reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on
January 30, 2020. The World Health Organization declared this outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020. On February 7, 2020, the State Health Commissioner
declared COVID-19 a Communicable Disease of Public Health Threat for Virginia. On March 7, 2020, Virginia reported the first case of COVID-19 within the Commonwealth.
Preparedness planning is a shared responsibility that is necessary at all levels of government, including state, regional and local levels, as well as in all communities. Local jurisdictions must also be
prepared to respond in the context of uncertain availability of external resources and support. Further, because the government will not be able to provide all preparedness, response and recovery needs,
individual citizens, businesses, non-profit groups, and others should integrate pandemic planning activities into their efforts.
Virginia’s local health districts (LHDs) work closely with the localities that they support and include local health departments for those jurisdictions. In addition to serving as stand-alone plans, local health
district emergency preparedness, response and recovery plans support their local Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) and the VDH Emergency Preparedness Response and Recovery Plan
and its annexes.
Within the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) has the lead role for Emergency Management. The Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operation Plan
(COVEOP) is the overarching emergency response plan for the Commonwealth. Under the COVEOP, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has the lead role for Emergency Support Function-8
(ESF-8): Health & Medical and maintains a robust family of plans within the VDH Emergency Response Plan (EPR) that compliments the COVOEP.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Plan consists of preparedness and response components that are consistent with the 2017 Health and Human Services (HHS) Pandemic Influenza
Plan. The plan includes the adoption of the CDC’s pandemic intervals as a framework for the response. These intervals follow the anticipated progression of an outbreak and may be applied regardless
of its severity. Within each interval there are domains, as appropriate, which contain a decision awareness structure, designed to encourage timely action based on information available. This plan reflects
an end-to-end systems approach to improving the way preparedness and response are integrated across sectors and disciplines while remaining flexible for the conditions surrounding a specific pandemic. The Virginia plan is meant to be dynamic and components will be revised and updated as new information is obtained.