Connect with us

Local News

For some, necessary isolation from virus is detrimental to mental, physical health

Published

on

Social distancing and staying home have proven essential for flattening the coronavirus curve and minimizing harm from the virus, but research shows that these unprecedented guidelines to match our unprecedented times may negatively impact mental and physical health among Americans.

According to a study in The Lancet, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anger, and heightened stress may come as side effects of the nation-wide quarantine, and they may be long-lasting. Stressors for symptoms of poor mental health include lack of resources (medical and otherwise), extended quarantining, fears surrounding the virus, monetary loss, stigmatization of the illness, and boredom. Lack of information and quarantining with no end in sight are also risk factors for declining mental health.

Health workers putting in long, grueling hours are heavily affected.

But COVID-19 is unique in the high degree to which it also affects Americans behind the front lines. A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network warns that, while the need for social distancing guidelines in this country is quite apparent, the effects of social isolation and being home bound could contribute to heightened suicide and overdose rates in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, racial minorities, particularly black and Hispanic people, are more likely to live in densely populated areas due to the effects of institutional racism and/or housing segregation.

Because of this, they may have a harder time socially distancing.

Almost a quarter of black and Hispanic workers are in the service industry or employed by businesses deemed essential during the quarantine, meaning they’re at higher risk of coming into contact with the virus.

These factors, combined with the healthcare disadvantages racial minorities face due to decreased access, could in part explain why black and Hispanic Americans are disproportionately affected and killed by COVID-19. The CDC said it is working to address these racial disparities, according to its page, COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups.

Tanya Shah, vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, said that isolation isn’t just a social issue, but something that affects mental and physical health as well. She started researching social isolation, particularly in adults, about three years ago, and the Fund has been working to raise awareness of this issue in terms of the policy, research, and screening ever since.

Isolation has a large impact on mortality and morbidity, according to Shah.

“We need to be paying attention to social isolation,” Shah said in an interview with Capital News Service. “Just like we ask if you’re a smoker or how many drinks you have a week, we need to be asking about your social structural context, because it has such a tremendous impact on health or vice versa. How your health changes have a huge impact on how you’re able to connect with others.”

Lack of social connection and a solid support system can contribute not just to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, but also to cardiovascular risks and decreased cognitive and physical function. These risk factors overlap a lot with those of COVID-19, Shah said.

“Social isolation really means… a structural construct of being alone,” she said. “Not everyone who is socially isolated would say they’re lonely… Loneliness is more than a perception of being isolated, but they’re very interrelated.”

This isn’t to say that isolating isn’t essential to flattening the COVID-19 curve. Shah said that the elderly, poor, and sick people are the most at risk of contracting the virus because they’re more likely to live in intergenerational dwellings or to have to continue working to provide for the family.

44% of women over 75 living alone and 50% of low-income people who report suffering from loneliness are at a higher risk of suffering from social isolation, Shah said.

One in four non-institutionalized older adults reports feeling socially isolated. Together, these groups constitute tens of millions of Americans, according to Shah.

When social distancing and the subsequent loss of social support are added into the equation, these individuals are more at risk for serious health issues and 25% more at risk dying prematurely.

Shah said some research indicates that being socially isolated, whether from a group a person was once active in, like a church, or from loss of contact with healthcare providers, can be as or more harmful to health than smoking, obesity or physical inactivity.

Isolation-related illnesses also are not confined to the most at-risk groups.

“To be honest, we have not, in modern scientific history, experienced a pandemic of this proportion with these types of measures of physical distancing and social isolation and sheltering in place,” Shah said.

There are some hints from past pandemics, though.

A couple of studies done on SARS survivors a year after the 2003 outbreak found evidence of still-elevated levels of stress and psychological distress, especially among healthcare workers.

Quarantined Liberians during the Ebola epidemic from 2013 to 2016 said stigma related to the illness led to the exclusion and disenfranchisement of minority groups in the country. Many who were quarantined may have avoided seeking medical help for treatable, non-Ebola-related illnesses out of fear of further stigmatization, according to The Lancet.

Mental health has long been under-resourced in this country, according to Shah, who added that benefits should be expanded to pay for these types of services.

“Mental health services need to play a much bigger role in our response efforts as well as in our rehabilitation in the longer-term post this pandemic… The research shows it’s a long-term impact, not just the six weeks or the three months that we have to be socially isolated,” Shah said. “We definitely need to be doing more.”

Abiding by social distancing guidelines doesn’t mean people have to be lonely, experts say. There are some precautions people can take in order to care for themselves in the short term, but larger, more systemic changes must take place to deal with bigger picture issues presented by the pandemic.

Go for walks, FaceTime friends, or talk to neighbors (from a safe distance), experts recommend.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends that individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, or other symptoms of poor mental health should avoid watching distressing news coverage of the virus when possible.

Health experts also advise people to structure their days and keep to a routine, especially those who are prone to depression or anxiety. The more life in quarantine reflects normal life, the better, they say.

Go to the following links. For help dealing with coronavirus anxieties: virusanxiety.com. For advice on helping others who may be struggling: mentalhealthfirstaid.org. For other support services, including suicide prevention: sprc.org.

By ANNA HOVEY
Capital News Service

Share the News:

Local News

Adopters can help Winchester SPCA’s holiday wishes come true with $100K from the Petco Foundation

Published

on

Individuals who have adopted a pet from the Winchester SPCA are invited to share how their pet has changed their life to help give your local SPCA a chance to receive a $100,000 grand prize Holiday Wishes grant award from the Petco Foundation. In partnership with BOBS from Skechers, the Petco Foundation is granting more than $750,000 this holiday season to qualified animal welfare organizations across the country. Awards will range from $5,000 to $100,000, and adopters with winning submissions will receive up to a $1,000 Petco shopping spree and a prize pack with BOBS from Skechers shoes.

“We’re calling on all Winchester SPCA adopters to help us earn a lifesaving grant award this holiday season from the Petco Foundation by sharing their stories,” said Winchester SPCA Executive Director Lavenda Denney “Thank you for choosing adoption; now you can make our holiday wishes come true by helping us earn lifesaving funds to bring more pets in need together with loving families.”

Through September 23, adopters can submit their story at petcofoundation.org/holidaywishes. Stories should highlight how pets have changed their adopter’s life for the better, in big and small ways, and should celebrate the love of their adopted pet. Submissions must include four photos to illustrate the story and can include video as well. Adopters must contact the Winchester SPCA for the organization’s point of contact, email and phone number to include in their submission. Adopters are also encouraged to visit the Holiday Wishes homepage for more information and to read stories from previous winners.

The deadline to submit a Holiday Wishes story is September 23, 2020, noon CST. Winners will be announced during the holiday season. For a full list of prizes and submission FAQs, visit petcofoundation.org/holidaywishes.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Crime/Court

State Police release details of high-speed chase, arrest of Herndon woman

Published

on

On Wednesday, August 12, the Virginia State Police (VSP) issued a press release on the circumstance of the multi-jurisdiction pursuit and arrest of Herndon resident Jennifer L. Arnn. The release indicates the date of the incident as Thursday, August 6. Our initial report indicated the incident occurred on Friday, August 7, which is listed as her booking date on the RSW Jail website. VSP Public Information Officer Brent Coffey explained that Arnn spent Thursday night at the hospital for injuries incurred during the incident, which appear to be reflected in her jail booking mug shot.

Jennifer Arnn faces one animal cruelty charge resulting in the fatality of dog or cat; one reckless driving charge, one vandalism charge of intentional damaging of public property. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

That incident began with a reckless driving “Be on the Lookout” issued in Berkley County, West Virginia, after which VSP spotted the vehicle on I-81 in Frederick County, Virginia.
Below is the VSP release in its entirety:

WARREN CO., Va. – A Herndon, Va. woman is behind bars on multiple charges after she fled law enforcement Thursday (August 6, 2020). Virginia State Police have charged Jennifer L. Arnn, 39, in Warren County with three felony counts of assault on law enforcement, one felony count of intentional damage, one felony count of eluding law enforcement, one felony count of animal cruelty, one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence, and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.

On Thursday at approximately 11:17 a.m. the Berkley County Sheriff’s Office issued a “Be On the Lookout” for a reckless driver. A short time later state police observed the suspect vehicle, a 2016 Mazda CS-X on I-81 at the 307-mile marker in Frederick County. State police initiated a traffic stop on the Mazda which stopped but took off when approached by a trooper.

The Mazda continued on Rt. 277 in Frederick County. The Mazda was eventually contained and stopped on I-66 at the 4.6-mile marker in Warren County. The driver, Arnn, was taken into custody without further incident. Arnn was transported to RSW Regional Jail and held without bond.

During the course of the pursuit, Arnn pushed her dog out the window. State police were able to locate the dog, but it did not survive its injuries.

Arnn struck three state police cruisers during the pursuit. One of the state police troopers suffered minor injuries during the incident.

The pursuit reached speeds of up to 100 mph.

Woman held at RSW Jail after state police chase, animal abuse-fatality charge

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local News

Lynchburg City Council appoints Doug Stanley as new City Manager

Published

on

On Tuesday, August 11, Lynchburg City Council ended its search for a new City Manager with a vote to appoint Douglas P. Stanley to succeed the current City Manager, Bonnie Svrcek who will retire effective September 1, 2020. Stanley is the former County Administrator for Warren County, Virginia. He will assume his duties as City Manager on September 1, 2020.

Before taking a public vote during City Council’s work session, Mayor MaryJane Dolan stated that City Council had conducted a nationwide search for the City Manager’s position, and they were pleased with having had a number of very qualified candidates to consider. “Even with having to deal with a nationwide pandemic, we had a very competitive pool of talented candidates from across the country,” said Dolan. “Council has been very deliberate in making its choice, and we have complete confidence in Doug being the right person to lead the organization. Bonnie leaves behind a strong leadership team that will provide great support for him as he becomes acclimated in his new position.”

Stanley served as Warren County’s administrator for 20 years. He began his career in public service at the age of 25 when he was hired by Warren County as a Zoning Administrator. He became Planning Director at the age of 27 and then County Administrator in 2000, only the fourth person to hold the position of administrator in the county.

During his tenure with Warren County, he directed the construction of an over $200 million Capital Improvement Program including the construction of a new high school, renovation of a junior high school to a high school, the renovation of a former high school to a middle school and the construction of a new middle school, a library, a community center, and the renovation of a baseball stadium. He also spearheaded the concept and development of the creation of a three jurisdiction regional jail and served as its board chair.

Stanley is a graduate of Mary Washington College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. He received a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Shenandoah Institute, Marsh Institute. Stanley is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Institute-Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia.

His wife Jenny is an English teacher, and they have two children, Jenna and Whill.

“I want to thank the Lynchburg City Council for selecting me to be the next City Manager. My family and I look forward to this fantastic opportunity the next chapter in life brings. For me, it is not simply the job; it is about getting involved and becoming part of the community. I look forward to meeting citizens and stakeholders and becoming an active participant in our community.

Lynchburg is known throughout the Commonwealth for its stable and visionary leadership both at the Council and staff levels. I am honored to be following in the footsteps of Bonnie Svrcek and Kim Payne, two people who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and I look forward to working with the dedicated staff of the City of Lynchburg in moving this community forward. I have a proven track record of 20+ years of local government management experience having been successful in Warren County, Virginia in helping the community rebuild its tax base, improve its infrastructure, and build strategic relationships with community partners and stakeholders. I am proud to have left Warren County a stronger, more vibrant, and resilient community, and I look forward to bringing that experience to the Hill City.”

(Press release from the City of Lynchburg)

Town Talk: A conversation with Doug Stanley

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local News

New Student Welcome Week coming up at LFCC

Published

on

With the start of this fall semester’s first classes less than two weeks away, LFCC is rolling out the welcome mat – virtually, in most cases – for its new students.

A series of online sessions is scheduled to provide information on everything from career pathways, to available resources, to what a typical college day is like. Additionally, LFCC swag and important information will be handed out during curbside pickups.

“This year, with physical and social distancing a must, we’ve been given the chance to reinvent our New Student Welcome program, using both the virtual platforms – like Zoom – that we are now so accustomed to using while still keeping up with the traditional in-person festivities, but with a twist,” campus life and student engagement specialist Chris Lambert said. “Instead of just one day to welcome our new students, we have extended it into an entire week, which will allow us to introduce new sessions and programming options.”

The first set of fall classes starts Monday, Aug. 24, with other classes beginning Sept. 8 and Oct. 19. Most classes will be delivered remotely, but some classes that require in-person delivery will be on campus.

A busy slate of information and introductory sessions is scheduled for Aug. 17-22. Highlights include:

  • A New Student Panel that will let students know how they can get involved at the college, and what student life looks like these days. The panel will feature current LFCC students and is at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 17 on Zoom.
  • Ask the Faculty is a general question and answer session that will be on Zoom at 2 p.m. Aug. 20.
  • President Kim Blosser, Fauquier Campus Provost Chris Coutts and other college officials will have a special session just for parents and supporters of students to ask questions about LFCC and college resources during a Zoom session at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 19.
  • Curbside welcome pickups will be all week at all locations, with varying times.
  • Resource chats for everything from campus safety, to online learning, to academic accommodations are planned.
  • Zoom sessions on career pathways, including health professions, engineering, business, education, humanities and arts, transfer planning and undecided students are lined up.

For in-person classes, LFCC will follow the latest guidelines issued by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Students attending these classes will be required to sign an agreement stating they won’t attend class when sick or if they’ve been exposed to someone with coronavirus, will wear a mask while in class and will practice social distancing and follow other safety measures.

To see the full schedule of events, and get Zoom codes, visit lfcc.edu/welcomeday.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local News

School Board to consider moving start date of school to September 8th

Published

on

Dr. Chris Ballenger, Warren County Schools Superintendent, issued a press release on August 11, 2020, to notify parents and the community that they will propose to the Warren County School Board, moving the start date of school from August 27, 2020, to September 8, 2020. This proposal will be presented at the School Board meeting on August 19, 2020.

School officials indicated that more time is needed for longer delivery times of supplies and delays in implementing the Learning Management Systems. This change will also provide more time for teachers and staff to learn the new Learning Management Systems which will be the main portal students will use to access the virtual learning materials and courses.

The proposed calendar includes the following dates:

September 8 – First day of school for students

November 3 – Professional Day
November 10 – End of 1st advisory
November 11 – Holiday
November 25-27 – Thanksgiving Break
December 23-January 1 – Winter Break
January 18 – Holiday
January 29 – End of 2nd advisory/1st semester
February 15 – Holiday
March 29-April 5 Spring Break
April 13 – End of 3rd advisory
April 30 – Professional Day
May 31 – Holiday
June 17 – Last day of school for students

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Crime/Court

Woman held at RSW Jail after state police chase, animal abuse-fatality charge

Published

on

A 39-year-old woman is in Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren County (RSW) Regional Jail without bond on six charges related to an August 7th law enforcement chase during which at least one Virginia State Police cruiser was sideswiped.

Jennifer Arnn faces one animal cruelty charge resulting in the fatality of dog or cat; one reckless driving charge, one vandalism charge of intentional damaging of public property, likely at least police cars, and three charges of assault on law enforcement officers in the conduct of their job.

Jennifer Arnn sports some facial abrasions in her RSW mug shot. She was booked into the regional jail at 2:34 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

A portion of the Friday afternoon incident was captured on a cell phone video posted on social media (see below). The video involves Arnn’s vehicle and what appears to be marked and unmarked police cars and an unidentified fourth vehicle stopped at an intersection in Warren County’s north commercial corridor near the Target-anchored Crooked Run Shopping Center.

The video appears to show Arnn attempting to leave the scene with something appearing to be hanging out of the rear passenger side of her car, the sideswipe of a pursuing state police car and Arnn’s vehicle heading southbound on Route 522/340 toward the intersection with I-66.

No place of residence was listed on the jail website and no further detail of the incident was available at the time of publication. This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

The social media video (posted by Desirae Jean) of a portion of the incident in Warren County’s north commercial corridor:

YalllllllThis lady was getting flung around her car with every ram, and they had guns drawn on her, she was hell bent to get away 👀😳😳

Posted by Desirae Jean on Thursday, 6 August 2020

Share the News:
Continue Reading

King Cartoons

Front Royal
72°
Cloudy
6:26am8:08pm EDT
Feels like: 72°F
Wind: 3mph NW
Humidity: 94%
Pressure: 30"Hg
UV index: 0
FriSatSun
82/68°F
73/64°F
73/61°F