Northern Virginia Reopening Should Occur When Metrics Met

Northern Virginia Reopening Should Occur When Metrics Met

Regional mayors and chairs send letter to Gov. Northam.

Mayors and chairs of the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William and the City of Fairfax sent a letter to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam dated May 10, in response to his May 8 news briefing. In their letter, they thanked the governor for his leadership. They said as the governor decided when Phase 1 should start, the threshold metrics he provided in his Forward Virginia plan "should guide any transition to Phase 1."

The mayors and chairs also said they believed the industry-specific guidelines the governor offered for Phase 1 were "appropriate and prudent" and that transition to Phase 1 in Northern Virginia "should occur when our region achieved the threshold metrics." According to the letter, the metrics for transition to Phase 1 were a downward trend of positive tests and hospitalizations over 14 days, enough hospital beds and intensive care capacity, an increasing and sustainable supply of PPE and increased testing and tracing.

"While it is certainly useful to examine statewide metrics as we gauge the success of current public health policies, we feel strongly that any changes to current policies be guided by what is occurring in our region," they said.

With the letter, the mayors and chairs attached a memo by their public health directors in Northern Virginia to Dr. M. Norman, State Health Commissioner, Virginia Department of Health. In the memo, the health directors said they had been asked to assess the status of the Northern Virginia region against the metrics the governor issued on April 24. "Based on our assessment, we do not believe that the Northern Virginia region has met the criteria for moving into Phase 1 at this time. We recommend continuing current community mitigation strategies and reassessing this on a regular basis to determine when Northern Virginia can move into Phase 1 according to these criteria (and any additional agreed upon criteria).

In his May 10, COVID-19 Update to the Fairfax County Community, Jeffrey C. McKay, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors said, “Reopening our businesses will be crucial to moving forward and I share our community’s desire to do so, but the health of our residents is crucial to the health of our economy.”

The Mayors and Chairs

Libby Garvey, Chair Arlington County Board, Jeff McKay, Chair Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Phyllis Randall, Chair Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Ann Wheeler, Chair Prince William County Board of Supervisors and Justin Wilson, Mayor Alexandria City Council

The Northern Virginia Health Directors

Stephen A. Haering, MD, MPH, FACPM Director, Alexandria Health Department; Reuben K. Varghese, MD, MPH Director, Arlington Health District; Gloria Addo-Ayensu, MD, MPH Director of Health, Fairfax County Health Department; David Goodfriend, MD, MPH Director, Loudoun County Health Department and Alison Ansher, MD, MPH Director Prince William County Health District