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Staunton, Augusta County, Waynesboro launch community wellness campaign

coronavirus researcher
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Stay Well SAW is pushing an important message: follow public health guidance and do the simple things that protect us all from the spread of COVID-19.

“Now is the time for our entire community to buckle down and follow the public health guidance that is proven to be effective in reducing the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19,” said Laura Kornegay, director of the Central Shenandoah Health District. “We all want to return back to normal, but it is more important than ever that we protect each other by doing things like wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing our hands, staying at home as much as possible and limiting our in-person holiday celebrations to the family members we live with. We need to ‘flatten the curve’ of our large increase in cases to avoid overwhelming our health care systems in the coming weeks.”

To this point, even with the sharp recent increase in COVID-19 positive tests locally and statewide, hospitals have been able to maintain normal census levels for what is normally a busy time of year.

The statewide hospital census is just over 80 percent of overall adult in-patient bed capacity, and recent reports from Augusta Health suggest the local hospital has been steady in the 60-65 percent capacity range.

Kornegay highlighted the need to continue to follow public health guidance while we wait for a vaccine to be available and accessible.

“Help is on the way with vaccines,” Kornegay said, “and we all need to work together to reduce the enormous increase in cases that have followed the Thanksgiving holiday. Stay home, stay safe and stay hopeful. Vaccines have been successful in ending epidemics and pandemics of multiple diseases, and our COVID vaccine efforts will get us to the other side of this pandemic.”

The Stay Well SAW Community Commitments and related messaging are available for viewing and download at the United Way SAW website,

The campaign is produced by the SAW COVID-19 Public Private Partnership, a coalition of local agencies, including the Central Shenandoah Health District (Virginia Department of Health), Augusta Health, the City of Staunton, the City of Waynesboro, Augusta County, the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, Shenandoah Valley Social Services, the Community Foundation, United Way SAW, Community Action Partnership, Mary Baldwin University and Blue Ridge Community College.

augusta free press
augusta free press