Reston, VA

Reston residents looking to get tested for COVID-19 can do so at a free testing clinic this week in Reston.

The Fairfax County Health Department and Southgate Community Center are partnering to offer free testing on Wednesday, August 5 from 5-8 p.m. at the community center, which is located at 12125 Pinecrest Road.

It is important to note that the event is intended for people who live within a two-mile radius of the community center. Reston Association noted that the site is “not a large public testing event open to anyone.” In the past, previous officials have stressed the need for localized testing. Testing clinics that were broadly advertised in the past led to major logistical issues when testing for COVID-19 initially began in the county.

A doctor referral and identification are not required to get tested. Health insurance is also not required. Residents must be five years or older to get tested.

Patients must pre-register in order o get tested by calling 703-267-3511 or by registering online. Contact information will only be used to provide test results.

File photo

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Background Checks on Gun Sales — “A Virginia judge has ruled that most of the state’s new law requiring background checks on all gun sales does not violate constitutional rights, except for a wrinkle that effectively bans people between the ages of 18 and 21 from buying handguns.” [Inside NoVa]

Free COVID-19 Testing in Herndon — The Fairfax County Health Department is offering free testing on Thursday, July 23 at Holly Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon from 2-8 p.m. Various time slots are available. No doctor referral is needed and identification is not necessary. [Fairfax County Health Department]

Slower Sales for Scout & Molly’s in Reston — “Like many small business owners, Jane Abraham has had to make some hard decisions this year due to the coronavirus pandemic just to try and keep her business afloat. Abraham and her daughter, Betsy, own and operate two Scout & Molly’s dress franchises, one at Reston Town Center and the other at Ballston Quarter in Arlington. When Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all non-essential businesses to close in March, Abraham was forced to lay off her four employees.” [Reston Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

 

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Although the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to drop, local health officials are encouraging residents to maintain social distancing as the county enters phase three of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plan tomorrow (Wednesday).

The number of COVID-19 cases has dramatically declined from a peak of around 300 cases per day to an average of 60 to 70 cases per day, according to Benjamin Schwartz, the Fairfax County Health Department’s medical epidemiologist.

“We have not seen a rebound of disease associated with our community moving into phase one and two. However, the time has been limited,” Schwartz told the county’s health committee at a meeting today, adding that cases are expected to increase as health restrictions relax.

The county is using a “box it in” suppression strategy to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Efforts include intensive contact tracing in order to isolate the spread of the virus. Hiring and training for case investigators to lead contact tracing efforts are underway.

Gloria Addo-Ayensu, the health department’s director, said that COVID-19 surges in other states following reopening should “serve as a reminder that the virus has not gone away.”

“Until we develop a vaccine, we cannot return to the way things used to be,” she said, adding that residents need to “stay the course” on social distancing, wearing facial masks, and quarantining if exposed to COVID-19.

The health department launched several community testing clinics — which were targeted for specific hotspots. Herndon, which has been identified as a hotspot, had a nine percent positive test rate. Other hotspots include the Mount Vernon District and Springfield.

“We are far from over, but I do want to at least acknowledge that we have come a long way,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay.

Schwartz noted that the overwhelming impact of COVID-19 on the local Hispanic community has lessened somewhat, although significant disproportionality remains.

The county is recruiting Hispanic community health tracers and contact tracers. The department is also working with nongovernmental and county agencies to help families and individuals in quarantine.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Northern Virginia Unemployment Rate Hits 10 Percent — “A total of 163,158 Northern Virginia residents were unemployed and looking for work during the month, the Virginia Employment reported Wednesday.  That number is based on a survey of households and is different from the number of unemployment claims reported weekly. Over 220,000 regional residents have filed first-time claims for unemployment since the pandemic began in mid-March, but nearly 45% of those have also returned to work.” [Inside NOVA]

IRivet Designs App to Make Employees Feel Safe — “The 12-year-old company, which often builds apps for its clients, has developed a platform to help other businesses transition back to work. MyHealthyWork is a web and mobile application that tracks employees’ self-reported health information, whereabouts and interactions. The product, now a week into its beta phase, is slated to launch by mid-June.” [Washington Business Journal]

County to Offer Free Vaccine Clinics — The county is hosting seven vaccination clinics throughout the health district. Vaccines for children will be offered free of charge. Health officials worry that routine immunization services are being delayed due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements. [Fairfax County Government]

Free Online Summer Arts Program — “Fairfax County Public Schools will offer a free online arts enrichment program for current K-12 students over for five weeks from July 6 to August 7.  A variety of classes will be offered in art, music, theater, and dance.” [FCPS]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Local public health officials are preparing for a possible spike in COVID-19 cases as Northern Virginia begins the first full-week of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plan.

As a result, Fairfax County officials are hiring up to 400 staff to support contact tracing efforts and offer increased testing in areas where tests are needed.

The county has the largest number of cases of any Virginia jurisdiction. As of today (Tuesday), the county has 11,426 confirmed cases and a little over 400 deaths, according to state data. Overall, the rate of COVID-19’s spread has slowed as the number of new weekly cases reported decreases.

At a meeting with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday), Ben Schwartz, the county’s director of epidemiology and population health, said that the actual number of cases is much higher due to limited testing.

Models produced by the University of Virginia show that roughly six percent of the county’s population could have COVID-19. Some individuals may be asymptomatic.

The county also plans to encourage more people to get tested at several health sites across the county. So far, testing capacity is underutilized, according to health department director Gloria Addo-Ayensu.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn also encouraged the county’s health department to expand testing as much as possible in vulnerable communities.

Others noted that testing sites should be targeted to communities in need instead of publicizing testing events broadly. A testing clinic over the weekend in Bailey’s Crossroads was overwhelmed with requests for tests, resulting in major traffic backups.

Addo-Ayensu said the county will no longer accept state assistance that was used to set up the testing clinic. Instead, the county will focus on smaller testing clinics that reach specific areas only using a mobile clinic. She said she was unaware that Northam would announce the recent testing clinic at a press conference, resulting in a media frenzy.

The county plans to offer more hyperlocal testing in areas where it is most needed.

Overall, the course of the pandemic in the county is unclear.

Whether or not another wave occurs depends on several factors, including adherence to social distancing guidelines, the impact of summer heat and humidity on the virus, and how quickly the state reopens, Schwartz said.

Herndon was also identified as a hotspot for transmission, according to the county’s health department.

Photo via Unplash

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Police Now Accept Donated Face Coverings — Fairfax County police stations are now accepting donated face coverings. Each station has a donation bin to place items. [Fairfax County Government]

Nearby: Police Search for Missing Man — Local police are searching for Sheng You Ho, 80, who was last seen on May 31 leaving the 3100 block fo Colchester Brook Lane. Ho was driving a Mercury Cougar and is endangered due to mental or physical health concerns. [Fairfax County Police Department]

County Board to Receive Health Update Today — The Fairfax County Board of Directors will receive an update from Fairfax County Health Department Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu today at 1:30 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Job Opportunity; County Hiring Contact Tracers — The county is hiring contact tracers to “each out to all Fairfax County, VA contacts of persons with probable or confirmed COVID-19 infection, counsel them on testing and quarantine, refer them for testing, and connect them to necessary resources throughout their quarantine.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Confusion Over Governor’s Mask Order — “At a briefing this afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam emphasized that Virginia’s new indoor mask requirements weren’t intended to be criminally enforced. But the text of the order (released ~3 hours later) defines a violation as Class 1 misdemeanor.” [Virginia Mercury]

Police Arrest Naked Man in Parking Lot — Local police have arrested an Ashburn man who was running through a parking lot on the 2400 block of Centreville Road on May 22. Carlos Ashe, 35, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and drunk in public. [Fairfax County Police Department]

County Staff Conduct Virtual Inspections — The Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health has been conducting virtual inspections for restaurant owners who are applying for permits for newly built or renovated establishments. [Fairfax County Government]

Foundation Pitches Funding to FCPS — “Ferrovial has contributed $67,500 to the Access for All Fund to support students in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by the Foundation in response to the pandemic and school closings, the Access for All fund is supporting Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) by assisting local food banks with food distribution to FCPS families, providing grocery gift cards to homeless and unaccompanied youth, delivering school supply kits, and providing technology access for distance learning.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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As some portions of the state move to reopen today, the COVID-19 case count in Fairfax County continues to climb.

Although the county’s per capita rate is relatively low, the county has. 7,245 confirmed cases and 1,050 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, according to state health data released today (Friday).

Overall, the Fairfax Health District — which also includes the cities of Falls Church and Fairfax — has roughly 2,000 more cases than this time last week.

Statewide, there are 28,672 confirmed cases and 977 deaths.

The disproportionate impact of the novel coronavirus is seen primarily on the Hispanic population. Hispanics comprise nearly 17 percent of the population, but account for 61 percent of total cases with racial and ethnic data.

The state is recruiting for 1,300 contractors for several positions, including 1,000 COVID-19 contact tracers and 200 COVID-19 case investigators.

Although some portions of the state begin phase one of reopening efforts today, Northern Virginia will not reopen until at least May 28. Data indicates that new cases and hospitalization rates are much higher in this area compared to the rest of the state:

  • A 25 percent test positivity rate has been reported, with the rest of the state experience a positivity rate of 10 percent
  • On any given day, 70 percent of the state’s positive cases are attributed to Northern Virginia
  • COVID-19 patients make up a significantly larger portion of the region’s hospital bed capacity than the rest of the state.
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More than 100 people in Fairfax County have died as a result of COVID-19, according to state data.

As of today (Tuesday), 114 people in the county died from the respiratory illness. The number of total cases — 3,278 — continues to rise.

A new dashboard created by the county offers new insights into localized data.

The number of new cases by week for the Fairfax Health District — which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church — is below:

  • Feb. 28: Four cases
  • March 1: 27 cases
  • March 8: 103 cases
  • March 15: 247 cases
  • March 22: 305 cases
  • March 29: 411 cases
  • April 5: 532 cases
  • April 12: 553 cases
  • April 19: 239 cases

Data for the last three weeks is incomplete due to gaps between the time of exposure and the onset of symptoms, according to the county.

The case incidence per 100,000 persons in Fairfax County is roughly 285.

So far, the pandemic continues to grow exponentially if the number of total confirmed cases is charted against the number of new confirmed cases per week. This means that the rate of new cases is equal to the rate of existing cases.

A slowdown in new cases is detected when the line begins to trend downward.

Images via Fairfax County Health Department

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County health officials are cautioning residents about a rabies alert in Reston.

A red fox that was captured on Monday (April 20) tested positive for rabies.

Anyone who may have been touched or bitten by this an adult red fox should call the county’s rabies program at 703-246-2433, extension 711. To report pets that may have come into contact with the animal, residents should call Fairfax County Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131, extension 711.

Precautionary steps to avoid rabies include not allowing pets to roam unattended and ensuring pets are vaccinated against rabies annually.

The animal captured near North Shore Drive and Wiehle Avenue.

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease that infects the central nervous system. It is transmitted through direct contact with saliva or nervous system tissue from an infected animal.

Photo via Unplash

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Fairfax County has now surpassed 300 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

As of today (Thursday), there are now 328 cases in the Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and towns in the county, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Five people have died due to the novel coronavirus in the county.

The number of cases has continued to climb over the last several days — likely due to expanded testing capacity. In mid-March, local public health officials said they found evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in Northern Virginia.

Arlington has the second-most confirmed cases in the state with 128 cases. Statewide, there are 1,706 confirmed cases and 41 deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

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Three more people in the Fairfax Health District have died due to the novel coronavirus, the Fairfax County Health Department reported today (Wednesday).

All three men were hospitalized as a result of the illness, bringing the total number of deaths in the district, which covers the county and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, to five.

“We are saddened by these additional deaths in our community caused by COVID-19,” said Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu , the health department’s director. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones. 

The men were in their 60s, 80s, and 90s.

As of today, there are 288 confirmed cases in the Fairfax Health District, up from 245 cases yesterday (Tuesday). The number has been steadily increasing over the last several days. The highest rates of growth occurred in mid-March, according to county data.

“This is a reminder that we have to be diligent in doing our part to slow the spread of virus in our community. Please remember to wash your hands thoroughly and often, cover your coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face, stay home if you are sick, and abide by Governor Ralph Northam’s ‘stay at home’ order,” Addo-Ayensu said.

Photo via CDC/Unplash

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A man in his 60s is the second person to die from complications from COVID-19 in the Fairfax County, according to officials.

The Fairfax County Health Department announced Friday evening that the man acquired COVID-19 through travel and later tested positive for the virus.

“This is a tragic loss and our hearts go out to his family and friends,” Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, the health department’s director, said in the announcement.

On Saturday, the county announced that a man in his 60s, who got sick through contact with a another coronavirus person, was the county’s first COVID-19 death, WJLA reported.

Earlier today (Friday), the number of known COVID-19 cases jumped to 124 in the Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and towns in the county.

Expanding testing capacity in the state could explain the increase in confirmed cases.

Inova Urgent Care locations in Chantille, Arlington and Tysons recently turned into respiratory illness clinics that offer the test.

“This most recent death, along with the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases we are seeing, is a reminder that we all need to be diligent in doing our part to help slow the spread of virus in the community,” Addo-Ayensu said.

“Please continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands and avoid touching your face, and stay home when you are sick,” she said.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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Local public health officials have found evidence that COVID-19 is now being spread via community transmission in Northern Virginia, according to a county press release.

As of today (Thursday), there are 16 presumptive cases in the Fairfax Health District, which also covers the City of Fairfax, the City of Falls Church, and towns within the county.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, community transmission refers to when the spread of illness is linked to unknown sources.

Initial cases of the respiratory disease in the county were first linked to local residents who had contact with North Carolina residents with coronavirus. Two cases were linked to the Reston-based headquarters of the U.S. Geological Survey, according to a recent Reston Now exclusive.

Local officials continue to urge residents to practice social distancing as much as possible.  Social distancing involves increasing the distance between people to avoid spreading the illness. Health officials say that staying at least six feet away from other people lessens the changes of catching COVID-19.

In roughly ten days, the number of presumptive county cases has jumped from two to 16.

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The Fairfax County Health Department has identified two additional cases of coronavirus, according to a release.

Both cases are linked to individuals who had contact with someone who contracted the respiratory disease in North Carolina. The health department cautions that both cases are “considered presumptive, pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The Fairfax County residents are in isolation at their homes. Here’s more from the county on the two cases:

The first case is the spouse of a presumptive positive case from North Carolina. The individual, a resident of Fairfax County in his 60s, became ill with respiratory symptoms on March 2, prior to the spouse being identified as a case on March 9. Specimens were collected and sent to the Virginia state laboratory for testing on March 10. The individual is isolated at home.

The second case is a close contact of the presumptive positive case from North Carolina. The individual, a resident of Fairfax County in his 20s, became ill with symptoms on March 6. Following identification of the North Carolina case, specimens were collected and tested by Virginia state laboratory on March 10. The individual is isolated at home.

Today’s diagnoses bring the total number of cases in the Fairfax Health District to four individuals. The other two cases were linked to Fairfax City residents who recently traveled internationally.

“We strongly recommend that all residents, workers, students, and visitors take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against novel coronavirus,” said Fairfax Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu. “Public health will continue working with local, state, federal, and community partners to reduce the risk of community spread.”

State Gov. Ralph Northam also declared a state of emergency beginning today (Thursday).

Photo via Unsplash

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