By Erin Creighton, Adult Services Department Head, Porter Branch; Joy O'Toole, Adult Services Programmer, Howell Branch; and Babak Zarin, Access Services Librarian, Library Administration Center
Update 2/17/2021: Since the writing of this post, the Commonwealth of Virginia has launched a centralized website- vaccinate.virginia.gov, opens a new window -as well as a call center- reachable by phone at 877-829-4682 for Virginia residents to sign up and get in line for the vaccine. The call center is open 8:00 am-8:00 pm weekdays, and its representatives speak English, Spanish, and other languages. For more information and for other contact information for specific localities, see the latest Fredericksburg Area Vaccination Schedule, opens a new window article in the Free Lance-Star.
COVID-19 has grown into a global pandemic with millions suffering and dying worldwide. It took most of 2020 for doctors around the world to develop a vaccine, and many others treated those who fell sick. Yet information for people with assistive or adaptive needs remains somewhat limited, while the need to learn more about the virus and the vaccine remains high. What follows is a list of places information can be found.
Note: If you believe you may have contracted COVID-19, please call your doctor to see if you should come in for medical help. If you are told to stay at home, immediately isolate yourself from others, including your household, and do not share beds, towels, cups, or kitchen utensils with anyone.
Local, State, and Federal Government
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is considered the most authoritative source of information on COVID-19. They list additional precautions that those with disabilities may want to take until they are able to be vaccinated, which can be viewed by clicking here. Those who are Deaf may also want to visit this playlist the CDC established of informational videos in American Sign Language (ASL). Topics include “10 Things You Can Do to Manage COVID-19 at Home” and “What Older Adults Need to Know about COVID-19,” among others.
At a more local level, the Virginia Department of Health is also tracking and providing information about COVID-19. Mary Washington Hospital has established information pages both about COVID-19 in general (available by clicking here) and how to be tested for it (available here). The Rappahannock Area Health Department has also provided similar information online, which can be found by clicking here.
Outside of government sources, the National Federation of the Blind is providing up-to-date information for subscribers to its free audio news service, NFB-Newsline. You can learn more about NFB-Newsline, including how to apply and access it via phone, email, app, AI, or portable player, by going online to its website or calling 866-504-7300. The American Foundation for the Blind is also providing a list of resources and blog postings (found here) related to COVID-19.
For those who are Deaf, the National Deaf Center, the Helen Keller Center for the Deaf and Blind, and the National Association of the Deaf have all posted information online about COVID-19 and how to prepare to go to a hospital at this time. Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. has also set up a Facebook page with information on a hotline in ASL.
Several of the agencies listed above provide information about the vaccine. The Rappahannock Area Health Agency has established a website that gives information about its phases and an overall timeline of the vaccination rollout, available by clicking here. Mary Washington Hospital provides vaccine information, factsheets, and registration forms online at their website.
The local Fredericksburg-area newspaper, The Free Lance-Star, publishes articles with a regional focus on COVID-19 regularly. All their coverage is available under the Coronavirus Covid-19 tag on their website, and are gathered here. Some articles may require a newspaper subscription to be viewed.
For more information, including copies of specific subscription-only newspaper articles, contact the Central Rappahannock Regional Library online at https://www.librarypoint.org/ask or by phone at 540-372-1144 during curbside pickup hours. Please be aware that CRRL cannot provide personal medical advice and can provide general information only. We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.