Before we head off into another weekend amid the plateauing COVID-19 pandemic, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.
- Fairfax County opens COVID-19 vaccine appointments to all “Phase 1b” groups
- COVID-19 cases tick up in Fairfax County as Virginia prepares to ease restrictions
- Updated: Task force reviewing previous plans that say Reston’s population will double
- Nearly a year after walking out of Reston Hospital, Michael Delaney remains missing
- County Board approves Herndon Sheetz despite refusing LEED certification
If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.
Feel free to discuss these topics, your socially distanced weekend plans, or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.
Nats Season Opener Canceled Due to COVID-19 Cases — At least three Washington Nationals players have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the team to postpone their Opening Day game. The Nats were supposed to play the New York Mets in their first regular-season game in front of fans since they won the World Series in 2019. [WTOP]
Faraday Park Apartments Now Leasing — Leasing recently began for apartments in the West Tower of the mixed-use project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, with the East Tower expected to be complete in May. When finished, Faraday Park will have about 400 apartments total, along with a rooftop pool, lounges, a fitness center, maker’s workshop area, and other amenities. [The Washington Post]
Reston Telemedicine Company Makes Major Acquisition — “Reston-based SOC Telemed Inc. announced this week it has purchased Texas-based medical practice Access Physicians for $194 million in cash and stocks. The acquisition will create the largest acute care telemedicine provider in the United States.” [Virginia Business]
April Is Alcohol Awareness Month — “Governor Ralph Northam has officially recognized April as Alcohol Awareness Month in Virginia. In issuing a proclamation, the governor emphasized the need to increase public awareness and understanding about the dangers associated with alcohol misuse.” [Virginia ABC]
What’s Open and Closed in Herndon on Easter — “Another pandemic Easter calls for a low-key day with close family. Whether you’re skipping the big meal, heading to a movie, or crossing items off your spring to-do list, it’s helpful to know which libraries, restaurants, and stores are open before you head out.” [Herndon Patch]
After a year spent largely cooped up inside (if you were lucky), even the most introverted individuals might feel a surge of anticipation at the prospect of mingling with a crowd in celebration or leisure.
The warming spring weather and accelerating pace of COVID-19 vaccinations suggest major communal experiences could once again be a reality. Starting today (Thursday), Virginia is easing limits on social gatherings, recreational events, and entertainment venues.
However, large, public events like ballgames and music concerts will still not be free of risk. Gov. Ralph Northam’s announcement that public health restrictions would be relaxed came amid declining COVID-19 transmission rates and increasing vaccine distribution, but cases have already started to tick back up again around the state.
As of March 31, Fairfax County was averaging 168.3 new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days. The county recorded its lowest weekly average of 2021 with 133.6 cases on March 15.
On top of health concerns, event organizers must grapple with logistical and financial challenges.
For instance, the fate of this year’s Friday Night Live! — Herndon’s annual free summer concert series — remains uncertain in part because it depends on public services that could see their funding slashed in the town’s new budget.
Chairman Laura Poindexter believes having the series live and in-person is critical to local businesses and the community, but she also told Reston Now earlier this week that it would be hard to justify the expense of putting on the concerts if they are limited to under 50% capacity.
When taking all these factors into consideration, how do you feel about the possibility of crowded, public events returning? Are you ready to take in a game at Nationals Park or a local rock concert? Or should everything wait until herd immunity is reached?
Photo by Mikey Tate
Reston Association Board Election Ends Tomorrow — Voting in Reston Association’s Board of Directors election will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 2. There are four candidates seeking two at-large seats, along with one person running for the South Lakes District seat. Reston Now ran profiles of the at-large candidates earlier this year. [RA]
Major Development Coming to Innovation Center Station — Developers are planning to bring 4 million square feet of development to the Innovation Center Metro station. The latest proposal focuses on Loudoun County but was made possible by the sale of the Center for Innovative Technology campus in Herndon [Washington Business Journal]
Virginia Adopts First State Voting Rights Act in U.S. — “Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday approved the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, which aims to eliminate voter suppression and intimidation in the state.” [CNN/WTOP]
South Lakes Students Install Public Art at Lake Thoreau — Students on the South Lakes High School STEAM Team finished installing their Part and Parcel art exhibit at Lake Thoreau earlier this week. The work took nearly 17 months to put together and was developed through a partnership between Reston Association and Public Art Reston. [@SeahawkBoosters/Twitter]
FEMA to Help with COVID-19-related Funeral Costs — “Beginning in early April, residents may apply to FEMA for financial assistance to help cover funeral costs incurred by COVID-19-related deaths. This assistance will be available to all residents…who incurred expenses after Jan. 20, 2020, for a death attributed to the virus.” [Fairfax County Health Department]
Leidos Wins Multimillion-Dollar Navy Contract — The Reston-based contractor Leidos has been awarded a contract with an estimated value of $149.2 million to provide engineering, technical, and management services for the U.S. Navy’s Naval Array Technical Support Center. [PR Newswire]
Photo by Ray Copson
Requesting $55.7 million in total expenditures, the proposed FY 2022 budget calls for a 8.7% decrease in spending compared to FY 2021 and reflects the financial toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on local governments in a demanding, unpredictable year.
“The fiscal year we are now concluding has been, to put it succinctly, a year like no other,” Herndon Town Manager Bill Ashton said. “The COVID-19 pandemic upended all aspects of daily life. Town services and programs were significantly impacted, as were revenues across the board.”
According to the budget document, Ashton developed his proposal around a 1.7% uptick in assessed property tax values, including new construction and improvements. Gains in residential values, which account for 56% percent of the town’s real property tax base, were offset by dropping commercial real estate values.
The proposed budget maintains the town’s current real estate tax rate at 26.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.
While the town projects a “modest” increase in revenue from business and professional and commercial licenses, business closures and restrictions necessitated by the pandemic are expected to continue affecting revenue from Herndon’s meals and transient lodging taxes during the first half of the coming fiscal year, which starts on July 1.
Herndon saw a 20% year-over-year decrease in meals tax receipts during FY 2021 and a 75% drop in transient lodging tax receipts, according to the FY 2022 budget proposal.
Ashton says the budget “reflects the austerity under which we are still operating.”
“It focuses on core services — public works, public safety — as well as pandemic-related relief that is in the town’s jurisdiction to provide,” Ashton said. “It anticipates an improving economy, but any recovery will likely be gradual. This budget outlines a prudent response to a fiscal crisis that is very much still with us.”
While the town is anticipating “a mild recovery” in the second half of FY 2022 as COVID-19 vaccinations become more widespread and public health restrictions lift, Ashton says he asked town departments to submit budget requests at 5% and 10% reduction levels in recognition of the “fiscal uncertainty that still lies ahead.”
The proposed budget says “several essential items” had to be deferred to the next fiscal year to maintain a balanced budget, though the town council could authorize additional spending in the future depending on the town’s finances and the arrival of new federal stimulus funds.
Areas where the town plans to significantly cut back on spending include professional services, tree maintenance and removal, recreational programs, mowing, special events, and office supplies.
The proposed budget also decreases capital expenditures by 57.4% from the adopted FY 2021 budget. It suggests making no major capital expenditures until revenues are collected late in the fiscal year, unless there is an emergency.
The budget maintains a hiring freeze on non-essential staff positions and omits market-rate adjustments for town employees for a second consecutive year. Herndon still hopes to give all of its workers a 3% pay-for-performance increase, unlike Fairfax County, which has proposed freezing worker compensation increases.
“Though in a funding shortfall situation, it is critical for the town to recruit, retain and develop employees to remain competitive in the marketplace,” Ashton’s budget says.
Projects in the proposed FY 2022-2027 Capital Improvement Program include alignment of Center Street, Elden and Monroe Street intersection improvements, vehicular and pedestrian access to Metro and Van Buren Street improvements, according to the town news release.
The Herndon Town Council will hold public hearings on the proposed budget at 7 p.m. on April 13 and 27.
Photo via Google Maps
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a series of virtual discussions next month for community members to share their thoughts on walking, bicycling, and other modes of travel that don’t involve getting inside a car.
The community conversations are intended to give county staff insight into people’s travel habits and areas where the county could improve bicycle and pedestrian access or facilities as part of FCDOT’s efforts to develop a new ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan.
“Community input is critical to the success of this planning effort,” FCDOT spokesperson Anna Nissinen said in a statement. “We want to hear all perspectives, from families biking and walking within the community to individuals who use scooters and bike share as part of their commute. This is the only way to create a comprehensive and functional plan that truly supports the needs of the community.”
12 online meetings have been scheduled, starting with an evening conversation for Mason District residents on April 8. The Hunter Mill District meeting will take place on Monday, April 19 at 7 p.m.
There will also be a meeting in Spanish on April 15 at 7 p.m. and two “Lunch and Learn” sessions at noon on April 13 and 23.
A recording of the event and the presentation will be available on the ActiveFairfax webpage for anyone unable to attend a meeting. There is also an online survey for community members to share their perspective on barriers to non-motorized travel, potential trail and bicycle network improvements, and other topics.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed FCDOT to review its plan for active transportation — defined by the county as “self-propelled, human-powered travel” such as walking, cycling, or using a scooter or wheelchair — in January 2020.
Launched last summer, the project is divided into two phases. First, FCDOT is developing a vision statement laying out the county’s goals, evaluating existing conditions, and creating a plan for a systematic safety program. Then, the department will come up with recommendations, including potential comprehensive plan updates and project and policy prioritization.
Local officials have been looking at ways to enhance Fairfax County’s bikeability and walkability, particularly in urbanizing areas like Tysons and Reston, to improve safety and reflect people’s evolving travel habits.
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board’s most recent Regional Travel Survey found that the number of bicycle trips in the D.C. area has doubled over the past decade, though the amount of daily walking trips has remained steady.
“The plan will establish a vision and a roadmap for implementation of safe, convenient, and enjoyable streets, sidewalks, bike facilities, and trails in Fairfax County for people of all ages and abilities,” Nissinen said. “The plan will support livable street design through the development of a transportation network that connects people to where they live, work, play, learn and take transit.”
Herndon Police Cites Drivers for Violating Cellphone Ban — The Town of Herndon Police Department says its officers issued 22 citations last week for violations of Virginia’s new law against driving while using mobile devices. The ban took effect on Jan. 1 of this year and imposes a $125 fine for a first offense, followed by $250 for a second offense. [Herndon PD/Twitter]
Northam Signs Deal to Expand Virginia’s Railroads — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a $3.7 billion deal Tuesday with Amtrak and CSX Transportation that officials say will break loose a major East Coast chokepoint and allow for a dramatic expansion of passenger and commuter rail.” [NBC4]
Lawsuit Filed over Virginia Guidelines Supporting Transgender Students — Conservative groups are suing the Virginia Department of Education over its new policy requiring school districts to accept students’ gender identities and provide access to facilities and programs in accordance with those identities. The policy took effect on March 6 after the General Assembly passed a law last year directing the department to develop guidelines. [The Washington Post]
Reston Nonprofit to Benefit from Jersey Mike’s Purchases Today — “Jersey Mike’s Subs store at 2254 Hunters Woods Plaza in Reston is donating 100 percent of sales to Cornerstones on Wednesday…The effort is part of the sandwich franchise chain’s Month of Giving, which has raised $32 million for local charities since 2011.” [Reston Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Despite forecasts indicating rainy, chilly weather to come later this week, spring has officially arrived, and for many people, that means it’s time to do some spring cleaning.
The Town of Herndon will hold its annual spring clean-up on April 21-23, allowing residents to leave out large and bulky items on the curb for pick-up. Eligible items include:
- Appliances with their doors removed
- Vehicle parts and plumbing fixtures up to 50 pounds
- Tires (maximum 2 per household)
- Limited amount of building materials (approximately one cubic yard, lengths not to exceed four feet)
Trash collectors will not pick up loose yard waste, auto parts in excess of 50 pounds, large quantities of building materials, bricks and blocks, electronics (including televisions, stereos, computers & peripheral), or household hazardous waste.
Pick-ups will take place on residents’ regularly scheduled trash collection days.
“Items should be placed curbside by 6am on your trash day only, but no earlier than 24 hours prior to pickup,” the Town of Herndon said in a news release. “Please place items away from containers used for regular trash collection.”
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Everyone who lives or works in the Fairfax Health District and falls under a phase 1b category can now register for an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
The Fairfax County Health Department announced this morning (Tuesday) that, starting today, it is opening eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to essential government workers, clergy and faith leaders, and janitorial and cleaning staff — the last three priority groups in phase 1b of Virginia’s vaccine rollout.
Approximately half of the Fairfax Health District’s population — which includes the county, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and the towns of Herndon, Vienna, and Clifton — is now eligible to register for the vaccine, according to Fairfax County Director of Epidemiology and Population Health Dr. Benjamin Schwartz.
“We anticipate those who’ve registered today will get an appointment in a few weeks,” FCHD spokesperson Tina Dale told Reston Now.
The county received 55,470 doses from the Virginia Department of Health during the week of March 22-28. Its weekly shipments have been increasing by more than 10,000 doses per week over the past couple of weeks.
“We are moving through our current waitlist at a faster pace,” FCHD said in its blog post. “We expect to move into Phase 1c by mid-April and move into Phase 2 by May 1 in accordance with VDH guidance.”
Phase 1c covers remaining essential workers, including food service workers, housing and construction workers, water and waste removal workers, and media. Reaching phase 2 by May 1 would mean making vaccine appointments available to all adults, a stated goal of Gov. Ralph Northam and President Joe Biden.
Fairfax County remains cautious about committing to a timeline for when all adults will actually get at least one vaccine dose. Virginia’s vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, has suggested that everyone who wants to get vaccinated could receive their first dose by May 31.
“We continue to add more county vaccination partners and continue to receive more doses of vaccine,” Dale said. “But whether or not everyone will have their first dose by May 31 is dependent on many factors.”
In addition to advocating for more doses, Fairfax County has been working to expand its capacity to administer the vaccines. Inova opened a mass vaccination site in Alexandria yesterday (Monday) that could accommodate at least 6,000 people per day.
According to the FCHD vaccine dashboard, which updates roughly every hour, Fairfax County is now making appointments for people who registered on March 16, when 4,412 individuals signed up. There are currently about 40,000 people on the waitlist, 11% of the 355,438 people that have registered for an appointment through the health department.
Newly eligible individuals can register to get vaccinated in Fairfax County, which is still operating its own registration system separate from the state, by filling out the health department’s online questionnaire or contacting its call center at 703-324-7404.
More than 300,000 people in Fairfax County have now gotten at least one dose of vaccine. According to VDH data, providers in the county have administered at least one dose to 309,338 people and fully vaccinated 158,541 people.
3.7 million total vaccine doses have been administered in Virginia, and 1.3 million people have been fully vaccinated — 15.5% of the state’s total population.
(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is confident enough in the pace of construction on the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line that the project’s leader plans to retire on Independence Day — two months before the agency anticipates finishing its work.
MWAA Senior Vice President Charles Stark has announced that he will retire on July 4, Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project spokesperson Marcia McAllister confirmed to Reston Now. The Washington Post first reported the news yesterday (Monday).
Now 72 years old, Stark has served as executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project since August 2014, overseeing the ambitious but oft-delayed 11.4-mile extension of Metro’s Silver Line from Reston to Ashburn through the Washington Dulles International Airport.
McAllister says Stark has decided to retire this summer, because construction on the rail line is now “99 percent complete,” and the project will soon be “moving toward testing which will lead to transfer of the project to WMATA.”
MWAA announced earlier this month that it expects the Silver Line to be ready for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to take over by Labor Day in early September.
“We are confident that team is in place to make that happen,” MWAA reiterated in a new statement.
Silver Line phase two will add six stations to the transit system, including one at Reston Town Center and two in the Herndon area. The project has been plagued by construction issues since work began in 2014.
Budget challenges stemming from depressed ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic also had Metro raising the idea of keeping some of the new Silver Line stations closed even after starting operations, presumably next year, though a new wave of federal relief will likely avert that possibility.
WMATA says it has no concerns about Stark’s impending retirement affecting the Silver Line project.
“We look forward to continuing to work with MWAA towards resolution of the remaining issues and acceptance of the project,” Metro spokesperson Ian Janetta said.
MWAA CEO Jack Potter commended Stark for his “leadership in bringing this large, complex project to this stage.
“We wish him all the best in his mid-summer retirement,” Potter said.
Photo by Chuck Samuelson/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project
(Updated at 5:05 p.m. on 4/2/2021) Fairfax County Seeks Public Input on Police Chief Search — “Next Tuesday, April 6, @SupervisorLusk and I are holding a public input session on the selection of our new Police Chief. Provide your comments on what you hope to see in our next police chief ahead of time or live.” [@JeffreyCMcKay/Twitter]
Northam Signs Free Community College Legislation — Signed in Alexandria, the bill creates a “G3” program that makes community college tuition free for low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields. The initiative has $36 million to cover tuition, fees, books, and support services for eligible students who attend two-year public institutions in Virginia. [Office of the Governor]
Cornerstones Monthly Food Giveaways Draw Lines — A recent food giveaway hosted by the Reston nonprofit Cornerstones illustrates the still-urgent need for food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is increasingly straining nonprofits and volunteers. [The Washington Post]
Advocates Raise Concerns about Training on Restraint and Seclusion Policy — “Parents were pleased that in addition to banning seclusion in all schools by 2023, the school system promised to train staff on alternative methods to physical restraint and seclusion. But several founders of the Fairfax County Special Education PTA have raised concerns that staff did not receive comprehensive training before students returned to classrooms in person earlier this month.” [Inside NoVA]
Reston Restaurant Delivery Company Integrates with DoorDash — Waitbusters LLC has augmented its delivery service by adding an integration with DoorDash Drive, a move that the Reston-based company says will allow it to serve more locations, give customers and restaurants more options, and ensure drivers are available “almost 100% of the time.” [Restaurant News]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
The trajectory of COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County is starting to trend upward again after a roughly two-month decline.
The Fairfax Health District, which also includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, reported 154 new cases today (Monday), bringing the total to 72,111 cases over the course of the pandemic. The district has now recorded 3,752 hospitalizations and 1,066 deaths due to the novel coronavirus.
Now at 174.4 cases per day, the county’s weekly average has hovered around 160 to 170 cases since hitting a low for 2021 of 133.6 cases on March 15. That mark followed a two-month-long drop from an all-time high seven-day average of 696.7 cases on Jan. 17.
Fairfax County still has yet to return to the relative lull in the pandemic that came last summer, when the county had weekly averages of 40 to 50 cases.
The county’s plateauing case levels aligns closely with what is happening statewide. Virginia is currently averaging 1,506 cases over the past seven days, and like in Fairfax County, cases have been slightly but clearly increasing since mid-March, a potentially worrying sign as the Commonwealth prepares to further loosen public health restrictions.
Effective April 1, Virginia will increase the number of people permitted at both indoor and outdoor social gatherings and recreational sporting events, while removing caps on the number of attendees at entertainment and amusement venues, though a 30% capacity limit will remain in place.
Gov. Ralph Northam cited rising COVID-19 vaccination rates when announcing those changes on March 23, reporting that approximately one in four Virginians had received at least one dose of vaccine at that point.
While the upward trend in cases might be cause for concern, the pace of vaccinations continues to accelerate in Fairfax County as well.
The Fairfax County Health Department got 55,470 doses from the Virginia Department of Health during the week of March 22-28, the largest supply yet.
Last week, several Northern Virginia leaders urged the state to increase the region’s allocation of vaccine to match its capacity, which will further expand today with the opening of a mass vaccination site run by Inova Health Systems to serve Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria.
Inova's new mass vaccine site opens today in the City of Alexandria- This is a new option for Fairfax County residents in addition to our 150 others . Remember, to get in the vaccine queue, please register with the Fairfax County Health Department: https://t.co/sej7N0M4To pic.twitter.com/81qyHQwQLE
— Jeff McKay (@JeffreyCMcKay) March 29, 2021
According to its vaccine data dashboard, the county health department is now making appointments for people who registered on March 16. As of 10 a.m. today, the county has whittled its waitlist down to 37,837 individuals — 11% of the 350,429 people who have registered since the COVID-19 vaccines became available in December.
VDH data indicates that 296,241 people in Fairfax County have gotten at least one vaccine dose, and 151,223 of them have been fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received both shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Virginia has now administered more than 3.5 million vaccine doses. 1.2 million people — 15% of the state’s population — have been fully vaccinated.
Like the state as a whole, Fairfax County hopes to open registration for vaccine appointments to all adults by May 1, and after expanding eligibility to additional phase 1b priority groups, the health department anticipates reaching phase 1c by mid-April.
Images via CDC on Unsplash, VDH
Isaac Newton Square could shed almost 300 parking spaces in its metamorphosis from office park to mixed-use development.
In a final development plan submitted to Fairfax County on March 18, APA Properties proposes eliminating 299 parking spaces that currently serve three buildings it plans to remove from the property.
The buildings up for removal include office buildings at 11440 and 11410 Isaac Newton Square North as well as 1928 Isaac Newton Square, which houses Reston Montessori School. The three structures collectively require 5o7 parking spaces, according to the development plan, which has not yet been accepted by the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning.
“299 spaces to be removed is less than 507 spaces required for the buildings to be removed, therefore there is no impact to the parking requirement,” APA says in its plan for the first phase of roads for the development.
The developer stated in its conceptual development plans for the project, which was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 15, 2019, that the site will feature 4,063 parking spaces — 3,920 garage spaces and 143 surface spaces — the minimum amount required for what it is envisioning.
In addition to 2,100 residential units, about 300 of which will be hotel rooms, the Isaac Newton Square redevelopment will contain 260,000 square feet of office, around 69,000 square feet of retail space, and a synthetic turf athletic field.
The submitted final development plan also provides a closer look at the new grid of streets that APA is contemplating for the 15.3-acre northern section of the site. The map shows the addition of two private roads — Center Street and Isaac Newton Square East — extending north perpendicular to the existing street of Isaac Newton Square North.
Isaac Newton Square South is expected to be the only public road on the property, but APA says in its proffer statement that “a public access easement…will be recorded over all private streets and associated sidewalks internal to the development.”
The developer’s proposed road and infrastructure improvements also include a proposed 10-foot-wide asphalt trail along Wiehle Avenue that it says will satisfy Fairfax County’s countywide trails plan, which calls for a major paved trail on Wiehle.
Images via Andrew Painter, APA Properties/Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning
D.C. Cherry Blossoms Reach Peak Bloom — The National Park Service designated yesterday as the peak bloom date for the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms after well-above-average temperatures last week sped up the flowers’ bloom cycle. Peak bloom is defined as the day when 70 percent of the blossoms are open. [NPS]
Colvin Run Mill Restoration Complete — Fairfax County has finished replacing the wheel and flume at Colvin Run Mill. The renovation is part of a larger, ongoing effort to restore the Great Falls park. [@fairfaxtv16/Twitter]
Metro Inspector General’s Report Details Silver Line Issues — A new report from WMATA’s inspector general contains allegations of sexual harassment, alcohol abuse, and the use of fake badges by Metro employees. The report also identified defects in concrete panels installed at stations in Metro’s Silver Line phase two project. [WUSA9]
Reston Company Loses Intellectual Property Lawsuit — A Colorado jury decided against the cybersecurity company TRUSTID, which is owned by the Reston-based Neustar Inc. TRUSTID has filed two lawsuits against Next Caller, alleging that the company misappropriated trade secrets, breached an agreement, and ‘intentionally interfered with a TRUSTID’s business relationship.’ [Virtual Strategy Magazine]
Photo via vantagehill/flickr
Public transit workers and mail carriers can now register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment after the Fairfax County Health Department announced another expansion of eligibility, effective today (Tuesday).
Eligible workers include bus drivers, rideshare drivers, and people who work in school and employee bus transportation and special needs transportation. Mail carriers for the U.S. Postal Service and private companies, such as Amazon, FedEx, and UPS, are also now eligible to get vaccinated.
“Employees should be prepared to show some form of work-related identification or paystub as the vaccine appointment could be offered by one of our vaccine partners that may require ID,” the county health department said.
In the past, Fairfax County has organized clinics for specific workers, including working with Inova Health Systems to vaccinate public school employees, but a health department spokesperson says the county is “not planning occupational clinics at this time.”
Newly eligible individuals can join the waitlist for an appointment by registering through the health department website or contacting the department’s call center at 703-324-7404.
After seeing no change for nearly two months, Fairfax County has now opened up appointments to additional essential workers twice in the past week. Grocery store employees and workers in the food, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors became eligible last Wednesday (March 17).
With this latest expansion, eight out of the Virginia Department of Health’s 11 priority groups in phase 1b can sign up to get vaccinated in Fairfax County. The three remaining groups are government officials, religious leaders, and janitorial and cleaning staff.
As it did last week, the county health department says that increases in supply have enabled it to move through its existing waitlist at a faster pace, keeping the Fairfax Health District on track to enter phase 1c by mid-April and to expand vaccine availability to the general population in phase 2 by May 1.
According to the health department’s vaccine dashboard, Fairfax County received 43,454 doses during the week of March 15-21, which is over 10,000 more doses than it got the previous week and more than double its supply from just three weeks ago.
As of 10 a.m. today, the health department had 89,673 people on its waitlist, about 25% of the 361,619 people who have registered for an appointment with Fairfax County. The county is currently scheduling appointments for people who registered on March 2.
So far, the county health department and its partners have adminstered 322,961 vaccine doses. VDH data shows that 250,585 people in Fairfax County have gotten at least one dose, and 133,978 people have been fully vaccinated — roughly 15% of the county’s adult population.
Even with supplies increasing, jurisdictions in Northern Virginia say they have the capacity to deliver more doses. With additional supplies from the state, Fairfax County could administer 34,000 doses per week, on top of an additional 84,000 doses per week from a mass vaccination facility that Inova is preparing to open in Alexandria by the end of March, according to a letter that the Northern Virginia Regional Commission sent to Gov. Ralph Northam.
“We’re grateful for the increase these last few wks, but we still have over 300K in the region on the waitlist,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a tweet. “We have the capacity to vaccinate equitably/efficiently and are working to get doses to meet demand.”
Photo via Fairfax County Health Department/Twitter