Fairfax County’s Week in COVID-19

Fairfax County’s Week in COVID-19

Northern Virginia will open into Phase 1 on Thursday, May 28.

COVID-19 Cases.

COVID-19 Cases. Source: Virginia Department of Health http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/

Monday, May 25

Fairfax County Cases: 9,482

Virginia Cases: 37,727

United States Cases: 1,612,114

Fairfax County Deaths: 331

Virginia Deaths: 1,208

United States Deaths: 97,049

OPENING NOW: Northern Virginia will open into Phase 1 on Thursday, May 28.

Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay released the following statement on Monday: “Northern Virginia’s Health Directors tell me that we have met four of the critical criteria required to move forward to Phase I of Governor Northam’s plan to reopen. One of the two areas we don’t meet is contact tracing, but we are finalizing a contract hopefully this week to provide recruitment and staffing for the hundreds of contact tracers and investigators that we will need to increase our capacity of contract tracing. The other is PPE and we have sufficient supply for hospitals, but are working to increase in other areas and hope the Governor will be able to help us do that. My colleagues and I have provided this information to the Governor and look forward to hearing his decision based on that data. I share our community’s desire to reopen our businesses in the safest way possible. Fairfax County has made significant preparations should the Governor decide that Northern Virginia has met his criteria to reopen this Friday. Regardless, we will continue to monitor our local statistics to ensure Fairfax County doesn’t see spikes in cases and be transparent with the public on our progress.”

McKay and the mayors and chairman of towns, cities and counties of Northern Virginia, wrote Gov. Ralph Northam on Memorial Day.

“Each of our jurisdictions have been making preparations to support a transition into Phase 1 at midnight on May 28th. We do have two requests for your consideration:

“1) As you have stated, we believe there is value for the Commonwealth moving forward together. If the data supports it, we would like the Northern Virginia region to move to Phase 2 in concert with the rest of the Commonwealth when that date is established.

“2) The “Stay-at-Home” phase has been especially hard on Virginians with Mental Health Diagnoses, particularly veterans. We ask that you establish distinct, accelerated availability of those services immediately for this group.”

The letter was signed by Libby Garvey, Chair, Arlington County Board of Supervisors; Jeff McKay, Chair, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; Phyllis J. Randall, Chair, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors; Ann B. Wheeler, Chair, Prince William County Board of Supervisors; Justin Wilson, Mayor, Alexandria City Council; David L. Meyer, Mayor, City of Fairfax; Derrick Wood, Mayor, Town of Dumfries; Lisa Merkel, Mayor, Town of Herndon; Bridge Littleton, Mayor, Town of Middleburg; and Laurie A. DiRocco, Mayor, Town of Vienna.

PARKS OPENED: The Park Authority reopened all 427 parks for Memorial Day weekend. Visitors should adhere to physical distancing and small group guidelines (do not exceed ten people). All facilities and restrooms remain closed.

The Park Authority will not open outdoor water parks and pools this summer. This includes the Water Mine in Reston, Our Special Harbor Spray Ground at Lee District Family Recreation, and Martin Luther King Jr. pool.

County farmers markets and golf courses have begun a phased reopening.

All Fairfax County 2020 summer camp programs are cancelled this summer.

Sunday, May 24

Fairfax County Cases: 8,989

Virginia Cases: 36,244

Fairfax County Deaths: 327

Virginia Deaths: 1,171

Saturday, May 23

Fairfax County Cases: 8,945

Virginia Cases: 35,749

Fairfax County Deaths: 326

Virginia Deaths: 1,159

Friday, May 22

Fairfax County Cases: 8,734

Virginia Cases: 34,950

Fairfax County Deaths: 321

Virginia Deaths: 1,136

816 HOUSEHOLDS HELPED: Between March 1 and today, 816 households have received assistance from the County and partner nonprofits, totaling more than $686,000, according to Chairman Jeff McKay. Those who need services varying from financial assistance to food assistance to health care, call Coordinated Services Planning at 703-222-0880.

SELF CHECK: COVIDCheck, a new online risk-assessment tool for Virginians to check their symptoms and connect with health care resources, is available. COVIDCheck can help individuals displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19 self-assess their risk and determine the best next steps, such as self-isolation, seeing a doctor, or seeking emergency care. See https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck/

SNAP ONLINE: More than 740,000 Virginians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will be able to pay for their groceries online and have them delivered, after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Virginia to participate in an innovative online purchasing pilot program. The program will launch statewide in Virginia on Friday, May 29 with online shopping access available through Amazon and Walmart online.

HELP RESOURCES: The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board offers a number of mental health services:

A suicide prevention text line in Fairfax: text "CONNECT" to 855-11 and a volunteer will respond within minutes, or call 703-527-4077.

If it is not an emergency situation, but you are in need of mental health services, call Entry & Referral Services Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, at 703-383-8500, TTY 711.

Telehealth services for therapy, counseling, case management, and prescribing are also available.

The Fairfax County Spiritual Support Team is offering spiritual support for adults age 60 and over. 703-324-5185.

Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia provides free mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness recovery support programs for adults online. Programs start daily at 10:30am.They also have a phone line for those who need someone to talk to, 703-817-6124.

HUNGRY PETS: Fairfax County Animal Shelter offers dog or cat food (canned and/or dry) for those with animals who need assistance. The Animal Shelter has created a temporary pet food pantry. Contact to arrange a day and time for pick up. Email: animalshelter@fairfaxcounty.gov or call 703-830-1100. The Animal Shelter is still assisting with pet adoptions, but through a virtual process.

FLAGS LOWERED: Flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia were flown at half-staff over the state Capitol and all local, state and federal buildings and grounds in the Commonwealth of Virginia to honor the victims of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic.

NICKEL AND DIMING: U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced legislation to ensure that all National Guard troops activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic receive full benefits. “While the Trump Administration gave an extension, it cynically chose a peculiar date that was later revealed to result in a hard deployment stop at 89 days for thousands of National Guard members – one day short of the 90-day threshold to receive additional federal benefits, like access to Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits,” according to Warner.

NEW FIREFIGHTERS: Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) accelerated the timeline of its experienced recruit class to augment the department’s pandemic response. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Chief John Butler presided over a swearing in ceremony of the seven new firefighters and paramedics at the department’s Fire and Rescue Training Academy. The members of Recruit Class 147 graduated as fully certified firefighters and EMTs. They began working at their fire stations on Saturday, May 23.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Fairfax County Cases: 34,137

Virginia Cases: 8,580

Fairfax County Deaths: 1,099

Virginia Deaths: 309

40 PERCENT HURTING: U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today introduced the Paycheck Security Act to cover the wages and benefits of employees of affected businesses and non-profits until the economic and public health crisis is resolved.

“Right now, nearly 39 million Americans are out of work due to the coronavirus. This is hitting working class folks particularly hard, with 40 percent of all workers making under $40,000 out of work right now,” said Warner.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, nearly 39 million workers have filed for unemployment. More than 20 million people lost their jobs in the month of April alone, the most in a single month on record. An estimated 27 million people have already lost their employer-provided health insurance coverage, and millions more could lose coverage before this crisis is over. The unemployment rate is likely close to 20 percent, and could exceed the depths of the Great Depression in the coming months.

The pandemic has also devastated small businesses and sole proprietors. A recent study found that more than 100,000 small businesses have already closed permanently as a result of the health and economic crisis.

DISSENTING VOICE: Supervisor Pat Herrity (Springfield) asked Governor Northam to allow the communities of Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun to resume the operation of outdoors restaurants, breweries, wineries, gyms, exercise facilities as well as outdoor religious services.

In his letter to Governor Northam, Supervisor Herrity wrote, “As the CDC encourages outdoor activity and the risk of transmission while outdoors is drastically reduced, we hope that you will grant these simple common sense exemptions and permit Virginians to enjoy the outdoors beginning this weekend and return some normalcy to our region.”

REGIONAL TEAMWORK: Connected DMV is a non-profit regional collaboration across Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia – the DMV. Its participants include local jurisdictions, federal agencies, industry, community, and academia who work together to advance the region's opportunities, generate economic development, and shape a stronger future for the well-being of our region. The Task Force will stand up a sub-group dedicated to developing a detailed regional contact tracing position and recommendation. The group also discussed the need for a responsible reopening of public transportation that gradually and safely restores bus and rail service ahead of demand. The Task Force will continue to meet monthly through October with meetings facilitated by Greater Washington Board of Trade President and CEO Jack McDougle. See https://www.connecteddmv.org/strategic-renewal-task-force

Wednesday, May 20

Fairfax County Cases: 8,163

Virginia Cases: 32,908

Fairfax County Deaths: 302

Virginia Deaths: 1,074

STUFF THE BUS: Fairfax County held two Stuff the Bus events for local nonprofits, collected over 33.6 tons of donated food items.

WATER TURNED OFF?: The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) will not open its outdoor water attractions this summer due to COVID-19. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston and Our Special Harbor Spray Ground at Lee District Family Recreation Area will remain closed this summer. Also closed is Martin Luther King Jr. pool.

Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/coronavirus or contact the Park Authority at 703-324-8700

UNTOLD SUFFERING: Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, made a statement on Republican opposition to extending further assistance amid the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic:

“This economic collapse is an emergency. Tens of millions of Americans – one in five workers – just lost their jobs, and government aid is the only thing preventing many from losing their homes or starving. Yet, Republicans want to shut off unemployment benefits, force states to make further, disastrous cuts to crucial services, and sharply reduce access to food programs like SNAP. … Removing that support while eliminating access to food, shelter, and health care would inflict untold suffering and could cause widespread civic unrest.”

NEIGHBOR TO NEIGHBOR: Fairfax County Health Department's Neighbor to Neighbor Program needs volunteers. The program offers grocery shopping and pharmacy pick-up service for County residents age 60 and over. https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/neighbor

SNAP CARRYOUT: U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine cosponsored legislation to increase the ability for Americans struggling with food insecurity to receive restaurant meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the COVID-19 Anti-Hunger Restaurant Relief for You Act of 2020 — or the SNAP CARRY Act — would expand eligibility for the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) and would make it easier for states and restaurants to participate in the program during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, May 19

Fairfax County Cases: 8020

Virginia Cases: 32,145

Fairfax County Deaths: 292

Virginia Deaths: 1,041

COVID IN CHILDREN: The Fairfax Health District confirmed the first case in Virginia of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

MIS-C, previously called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome may cause problems with a child’s heart and other organs. Most children with MIS-C have fever lasting several days and may show symptoms of irritability or decreased activity, abdominal pain without another explanation, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, conjunctivitis, lack of appetite, red or cracked lips, red or bumpy tongue, or swollen hands and feet.

The first reports of this syndrome came from the United Kingdom in late April. U.S. cases were first reported in New York City in early May.

The CDC Health Advisory on May 14 said the syndrome may include persistent fever, hypotension, multisystem organ involvement and elevated markers of inflammation. It is not currently known how common it may be for children to experience these symptoms.

“I urge all health care providers in Virginia to immediately report any patient who meets these criteria to the local health department by the most rapid means,” said Virginia Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D. “All Virginians should take steps to avoid exposure to COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing cloth face coverings if appropriate.” Cloth face coverings are not recommended for children under 2 years old.

EVICTION SUPPORT: Virginia launched some new resources to protect Virginians from eviction and support individuals who have lost their jobs or income due to COVID-19. These tools include StayHomeVirginia.com, a new website to help Virginians navigate housing programs, services, and resources. The website offers guidance on working with landlords, financial institutions, and other organizations to use eviction and foreclosure protections during this health crisis. Resources include relief for private mortgage holders, multifamily complexes, and tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

TWO BILLS PASSED: Gov. Ralph Northam signed two bills approved by the General Assembly during the reconvened session on April 22 that included his proposed amendments to provide relief to tenants and mortgage holders.

Capping late fees on rent. House Bill 1420 caps late fees at 10 percent of the periodic rent or 10 percent of the remaining balance due, whichever is lesser. This new law will help prevent cascading late fees, allow charges only on the amount due, and set a maximum late fee percentage for the first time in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Protecting tenants from eviction during emergencies, House Bill 340 delays rental evictions or mortgage foreclosures for individuals who are not currently covered under the protections offered through the federal CARES Act or state and local protections.

METRO: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will receive $876,806,108 in federal transit funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD). “With overall ridership down significantly, we need to make sure that WMATA has the resources it needs to purchase personal protective equipment to protect WMATA’s workforce, as well as maintain safety and reliability, especially for essential workers who continue to depend on Metro every day.” Through Sept 7, there is no Silver Line train service due to major summer construction; buses replace trains between Ballston & Wiehle-Reston due to major summer construction. E Falls Church, McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill & Wiehle, Vienna, Dunn Loring, are closed. Face coverings/masks are required in all Metrorail stations, aboard trains and on buses.

For more info, visit: https://www.wmata.com/

INJURED HEROES: U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined Senators Tammy Duckworth, Richard Blumenthal, Ed Markey, and Kirsten Gillibrand to introduce a bill that would create a new fund to provide compensation for injuries to any individual, or their families, who are deemed an essential worker and required to leave their home to perform services and who have become ill or died as a result of COVID-19. The Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act is modeled after the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

ICE CONDITIONS: U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) joined Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and 24 Senators announcing that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) will conduct a review of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) efforts to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in its facilities. Following reports that ICE detention facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 were operating without processes to protect both staff and detainees such as providing protective gear, ensuring detainees have access to hygiene products, and practicing social distancing, Udall led a group of 26 Democratic senators in calling for the DHS IG to conduct a full assessment of ICE detention facilities nationwide to evaluate whether the facilities’ operations, management, standards, and conditions have adapted to address the threat of COVID-19 to both the staff and detainees.

Tuesday, May 18

Fairfax County Cases: 7,843

Virginia Cases: 31,140

Fairfax County Deaths: 282

Virginia Deaths: 1,014

EDUCATION PLANS: The Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Education Work Group will help plan how and when schools can safely reopen.

Representatives come from Virginia’s public and private early childhood, K-12, and higher education systems, and includes teachers, superintendents, parents, college presidents, state agency personnel, special education advocates, museum directors, and student perspectives. Secretary of Education Atif Qarni formed the work group and chaired its first meeting on April 23.

Shan Lateef, Rising Senior, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Governor’s STEM Phenom Award Winner, and Karen Corbett-Sanders, Chair, Fairfax County School Board, are included.

“As we make decisions about the path forward, this panel will help ensure that we are best supporting rural students, English language learners, students of color and students with special needs. School closures have been necessary to protect health and safety, but lost class time has a disproportionate impact on Virginia’s most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged students. That’s why equity will remain at the forefront as we determine when and how we can safely and responsibly return to in-person learning,” said Gov. Ralph Northam.

HERRITY HELPS: The group that has been most affected by the pandemic is the older adult community that is higher risk and makes up 27 percent of Fairfax County's population, said Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity. “While we have had to delay the progress of getting community input for the SHAPE the Future of Aging Plan, as the Chairman of the Older Adults Committee I'm proud to say that our Older Adult Services group has continued to work to serve those in need.”

Programs include: Department of Family Services, Health Department, Housing, and Neighborhood & Community Services have partnered to ensure over 10,000 meals are delivered to the homes of older adults.Caregiver webinars and telephone support calls have continued monthly. Sign up for Fairfax Alerts to Family Caregivers. To receive email or text notifications of Fairfax County caregiver services and programs visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts to create or sign into your Fairfax Alerts account and then select Area Agency on Aging.

Department of Family Services is working with Office to End and Prevent Homelessness to support older adults with emergency beds and services.

Volunteers have continued calling socially isolated older adults in nursing, assisted living facilities, as well as homebound older adults for social visits one day per week.