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What we can learn from a small town's "Deer in the Headlights" moment:

How a small town made up for lost time after getting over the initial COVID-19 shock.

Photo of Tina Cornely
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Danville Virginia is a small town where the public, private and government sector is rallying together and making the best of the COVID-19 situation. After the initial shock wore off, the city jumped into action and added a coronavirus banner to their website where residents receive up to date information regarding COVID-19 as well as the ability to subscribe for SMS alerts. What our community quickly learned is that not everyone has subscribed through the city's website, reads the newspaper, nor follows the city's twitter and instagram accounts. Today each individual tends to use their preferred method of receiving information electronically. As such, a group of concerned residents made sure local community e-newsletters were providing updated information as well. For instance the Old West End E-Gazette included articles regarding how Danville responded to the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918 (which included statistics and valuable lessons learned). Since all of our restaurants have been ordered to close, the Gazette included a timely notification that a local restaurant is providing curbside service for food orders. 

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Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

It made our community take a closer look at how we share data so no one falls through the cracks. 

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

In what ways did you share this information?

Via email and phone calls.

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • Local Government
  • National Government
  • News: Digital
  • News: Print
  • Social Media
  • WHO (World Health Organization)
  • NGO or Non-profit Organization
  • Word of Mouth

What information do you feel you are missing about COVID-19?

Eventually we will need drive through testing sites.

What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

We need to provide financial safety nets for staff being laid off due to COVID-19.

What is your current profession?

Founder and CEO of a non profit called Bridging Humanity

In what city are you located?

Miami, Florida and Danville, Virginia

In what country are you located?



Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Tina, I love how you are thinking about how we can draw inspiration from small towns or rural communities. Another incredibly thoughtful innovator thinking about this topic is Faith Abeyi and her idea, Rural awareness against covid-19 while you are both thinking about this topic in different geographic regions I wonder if there's any overlap or creative inspirations to be shared?

Photo of Faith Abeyi

Hi Ashley, Tina thanks for sharing this experience, it's indeed inspiring. We can draw lots of inspirations from your experience and the approaches used as we respond and take care of our rural communities back here in Nigeria. However it is worthy of note that members of our communities are not as equipped and enlightened as those in Danville. But we can develop local intervention strategies as it best fit into our peculiarities from your experience. Once again thank you for sharing.