Fairfax County COVID-19 Cases Continue to Soar as Expanded Vaccinations Begin Today

Fairfax County continues to set new records for the rolling weekly average of COVID-19 cases, a trend that comes as the county expands the vaccine to more segments of the population beginning today.

Last week, the county reported the highest number of COVID-19 weekly cases. The rolling weekly case average hovered between 472 and 480 over the last week consistently. On Jan. 2, the rolling weekly average broke a new record with 484 new cases.

After an all-time high of 897 new cases reported in a single day, the number of daily COVID-19 cases continues to increase. As of today, 741 new cases were reported — the second-highest number of daily reported cases since Dec. 21.

The increases come as the Fairfax Health District expands the vaccinations to the phase 1b population, which includes the following individuals:

  • Vaccine frontline essential workers
  • People age 75 and older
  • People in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps
  • Police, fire, and hazmat
  • Corrections and homeless shelter workers
  • Childcare/pre-kindergarten-12 teachers and staff
  • Food and agricultural personnel including veterinarians
  • Manufacturing
  • Grocery store workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Mail carriers
  • Officials needed to maintain continuity of government like judges

The segments of the population will reach out to groups in the previously-listed order in order to administer the vaccine.

Fairfax County Public Schools has partnered with Inova to administer the vaccine to 40,000 teachers and staff of public and private schools and childcare programs beginning Saturday, Jan. 16. The county’s health department is currently finalizing logistics with Inova and hopes to complete the endeavor over the next three weeks.

‘The availability of this vaccine for our staff, coupled with the implementation of the five key mitigation strategies, strengthens our ability to gradually return to in-person instruction. Hope and help are now truly on the way,’ FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand wrote in a letter to the community last night.

The first phase of the vaccine program, which began in December, includes vaccinating health-care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.

State officials say it could take months to vaccinate the roughly 1.2 million Virginians in phase 1b. So far, the federal government has allocated roughly 110,000 doses for the state on a weekly basis. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine requires two doses taken between 21 and 28 days apart respectively.

As of today, 20,794 people in Fairfax County have received at least the first dose of the vaccination.

Closed vaccination clinics are planned for police, fire and hazmat, and corrections and homeless shelter workers today through the county’s health department. These individuals are not required to contact the department to schedule appointments. Vaccinations for other frontline essential workers will be announced in the future.

The next phase of vaccinations — 1c — will include 2.5 million people who are essential workers in transportation, food service, utilities, adults above the age of 65, and people between the age of 16 and 64 with high-risk medical conditions.

“Getting Virginians vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to end this pandemic, rebuild our economy, and move our Commonwealth forward,” said Governor Northam. 

Image via Unsplash, Virginia Department of Health

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