News Journal

Saturday, May 9, 2020 • USPS 387-780 • • 75 cents Drive-thru COVID-19 testing continues next week in Radford, Blacksburg CHRISTIANSBURG -- The New River Valley Public Health Task Force will hold ongoing drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites on Wednesday, May 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Radford Recreation Center, 200 George St. in Radford, and on Friday, May 15, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Blacksburg High School, 3401 Bruin Lane in Blacksburg. These sites are closed to the public. Only those in- dividuals with a letter of au- thorization from the Virgin- ia Department of Health’s New River Health District will be allowed access to the sites, and only by appoint- ment. “Testing is important epi- demiologically and helps us determine the prevalence of disease in our community,” said Noelle Bissell, M.D., director of the New River Health District, “but be- cause capacity is limited we screen for those at highest risk. As we continue to test, we expect to have more posi- tive cases.” To ask questions about COVID-19 or to request an appointment for testing at these sites, call the New River Health District’s CO- VID-19 public health call center at 540-267-8240. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat- urday, 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Af- ter hours, leave a message. “In the vast majority of cases, testing does not in- form our recommendations for your medical care,” Dr. Bissell said. “The best pro- tection for each of us comes from personal precautions, including hygiene and social distancing. That’s how you stay well, and how you pro- tect those around you today, and those you will be with tomorrow.” “These sites take the pres- sure off our hospital systems and first responders so that they can provide essential medical and public safety services, around the clock," said Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson. “Instead of being tasked with assess- ment and transport, they can concentrate on true life- threatening medical emer- gencies.” To lower the risk of spreading respiratory in- fections, including CO- VID-19, the Virginia Department of Health en- courages everyone to stay home except for essential travel; if you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;stay home when you are sick; avoid contact with sick people; cover your mouth and nose with a tis- sue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sani- tizer if soap and water are not available; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; clean and disinfect frequent- ly touched objects and sur- faces; if you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor; practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public; and avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 10 people. For the most accurate and up-to-date information online, visit www.vdh.vir-, www., navirus and coronavirus. About a quarter of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Class of 2020 had wedding plans between April and June. Here is how three of the impacted couples adapted. Left: Lena Turkheimer and Mark Owen (Photo credit: Sarah Cramer Shields). Middle: Quinn Weinberg and Stephen Owen (Photo credit: Pat Cori Photography). Right: Cody Roberts and Abby Winn (Photo credit: Pat Cori Photography). The unwelcome guest at the wedding: COVID-19 At the VirginiaTech Carilion School of Medicine, the time between Match Day – when graduating medical stu- dents find out where they are headed for residency – and the start of those residencies is typically filled with cel- ebration. Beyond the academic-related milestones of Match Day and gradu- ation that begin the graduate’s profes- sional future, many advance their per- sonal future, too, with marriage. “Basically, we had a wedding with someone from the med school planned almost every weekend between April and May,” said Lena Turkheimer, a member of the VTCSOM Class of 2020. “I had been looking forward to these upcoming months. I don’t think anyone could have imagined that this would be happening right now.” Instead, Match Day and graduation are now virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many weddings are follow- ing suit. “I was supposed to go to three other weddings besides my own within my class in the next month-and-a-half. And none of those are happening now,” said Abby Winn, a member of the VTC- SOMClass of 2020. “I think there at least six weddings that were supposed to happen in my class in May and June and all of them are impacted,” added Stephen Owen, also in the VTCSOMClass of 2020. Almost a quarter of the graduating class had weddings scheduled from April to June. Many are postponing because of the pandemic, while others – like Stephen, Lena, and Abby – have opted for an elopement or virtual cere- mony this year with a larger celebration postponed until 2021. While not all of the class is marry- ing a fellowVTC student, Abby tied the knot with fellow soon-to-be graduate Cody Roberts, Stephen married Class of 2022 member Quinn Weinberg, and Lena married classmate and fellow See Unwelcome guest , page 3 RADFORD UNIVERSITY PHOTO Pictured (Left to right): Lauren Snelson, senior operations manager for University Services; Adrean Harris, director of Radford University Dining; Chris Blackburn, Compassion Church; Jason Green, Compassion Church; and Mary Beth Sutherland, assistant director of Radford University Dining. University Services supports the Radford community with donations RADFORD - The mission of University Services is to provide essential business services to the Radford University community by supporting areas like confer- ences, dining, laundry, parking, postal, vending, the bookstore and more. That support recently has extended beyond the borders of the campus and into the Rad- ford community. This month, University Ser- vices donated prepackaged snack food to the ROCK (Reaching Our Community’s Kids) Club, a church-based organization in the City of Radford that supports the family structure by provid- ing quality, individualized care in Eric Parlette ran both cross country and track for the Hokies before joining the Navy after his 1994 graduation. VT alum answers call to COVID-19 front lines in New York City harbor Eric Parlette quickly responded when summoned to the front lines of the battle against the COV- ID-19 pandemic. “I got the call on a Saturday night. They said, ‘Hey would you be willing to go,’ and I said, ‘abso- lutely,’ and four days later I was on a ship to go help strangers,” said Cmdr. Parlette, a Navy reservist and doctor in the Medical Opera- tions Center on the USNS Com- fort. Parlette ’94 and the other crew members of the Comfort sailed into Manhattan on March 30 to aid the city’s hospitals, which were overwhelmed with patients related to the coronavirus outbreak. They spent the next month treating a combination of very sick people with and without the virus. “Medical is typically ancillary support for military operations for when things go bad. But in this case, health care is the tip of the spear to take on this attack, an at- tack on American soil no less,” said See NewYork , page 5 See Donations , page 5 SUBMITTED PHOTO Game on! Karie Geiss with New River Valley Radio Group will host a Facebook live event (https://www. at noon on May 15 to announce the winners of the Virtual Scrabble Tournament — Home Edition, sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley. Winners will also be announced at . Annual Scrabble Tournament to benefit literacy takes new form amidst pandemic Who’s ready to Scrabble? Seize the “play” and Scrab- ble together, yet apart, May 8-12 during the Literacy Vol- unteers of the NewRiver Val- ley’s Virtual ScrabbleTourna- ment —Home Edition. The Virtual Scrabble Tournament — Home Edi- tion is being held in lieu of the local adult literacy orga- nization’s annual Scrabble fundraising event, which cannot happen this spring due to COVID-19 restric- tions. The tournament is free to all who want to play, but Lit- eracy Volunteers of the NRV hopes participants will con- sider a donation to support their mission to help local adults learn to read. All com- petitors will be entered into a drawing to win restaurant gift certificates generously donated by Roots Natural Kitchen (coming to Blacks- burg during the summer of 2020) and McAlister’s Deli in Blacksburg. Tournament rules and awards are posted at www. The tournament takes place over five days -- May 8 to May 12. During those five days, everyone plays two games. Competitors can use any version of online Scrab- ble they choose (Words with Friends, Scrabble Go, etc.) or they can use a board to play against individuals in their household. Competitors can play as an individual (against a friend, random person, or computer) or can form a team of three (and come up with a creative team name!) to enter the team category. After completing two games, each player submits his or her game scores (win or lose!) using an online form available at scrabble. Players are encour- aged to submit photos of themselves and their teams (in costume, if they’re brave!) as well as their game boards. All games must be com- pleted and scores reported by Tuesday, May 12. On Wednesday, May 13, voting will take place for “Best Cos- tume,” “Most Creative Team Name,” and “Most Spell- binding Play.” Tournament Champi- ons and award winners will be announced on Friday, See Scrabble , page 2