Opinion: Letter to the Editor: We Need Coronavirus Data by Zip Code

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: We Need Coronavirus Data by Zip Code

Thanks to Congressman Beyer for hosting his Town Hall on Coronavirus, and thanks to the Gazette for its report on the meeting, which made clear that Fairfax County has a long way to go in addressing citizen concerns.

It is shocking that Fairfax County, one of the largest in the country, and home to nearly 20 percent of coronavirus cases in Virginia, has been so vague about its statistics, including the location of those affected.

County Executive Bryan Hill's response to the inquiry from "John from Bailey's Crossroads" about the location of Fairfax County cases is a case in point. His answer?: "HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regs prohibit the release of that information."

A check of the HHS website shows that this is not true: patient names can't be released, but information that is important to the public can be released when it is in the public interest.

The county's website also still has no list of testing sites (including drive-throughs), and it appears that the only testing by Inova Hospitals is in the north portion of the county. According to WTOP, there is just one testing site in the southern part of the county, home to about half the county's population, a private clinic (Allcare) on Route 1 just south of Alexandria City. The Fairfax County website does not list this site.

A number of states, including Maryland, already provide information on coronavirus cases by zip code.

VDH statistics (updated April 14) show 16 cases at retirement communities in Fairfax county, and one in Alexandria, but we don't know which communities or their zip codes.

Why can't we get information by zip code here in northern Virginia?

Mary Tracy

Hollin Hills