Reston, VA

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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GNC plans to close its location at North Point Village Center after the company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early last week.

The vitamins and supplements retailer plans to close between 800 and 1,200 stores across the country.

A company representative told Reston Now the Reston location, which is located at 1456 North Point Drive, will likely shutter its doors within the next two weeks. An exact closing date has not yet been determined.

In a June 23 letter to its customers, the company stated that the COVID-19 pandemic “created a situation where we are unable to accomplish our refinancing and the abrupt change in the operating environment has had a negative impact on our business.”

Here’s more from the letter:

As a result, we felt the best opportunity for us to continue to improve our capital structure and address certain operational issues was to restructure through a Chapter 11 reorganization. This gives us the opportunity to improve our balance sheet while continuing to advance our business strategy, right-size our corporate store portfolio, and strengthen our brands to protect the long-term sustainability of our company.

Other Virginia locations are also closing, including the stores in Vienna, Sterling, Franklin and Charlottesville.

Photo by Laura Crielly

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At the Dulles Health and Rehab Center in Herndon, the COVID-19 situation appears to have taken a turn for the better.

As of earlier this week, the nursing center announced that it is now free of COVID-19. At the center, 66 residents and 20 staff members recovered from the virus.

Recent data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shed new light on the impact of COVID-19 on long-term care facilities.

Overall, nursing homes in Northern Virginia have had 903 cases of COVID-19, according to the newly released data, which provides the first comprehensive look at individual nursing homes. Several facilities have 10 deaths each.

Long-term care facilities have been hit hard by the spread of the novel coronavirus. In late April, 11 patients died from coronavirus-related complications.

The first positive case was reported on March 28.

The 166-bed facility celebrated on Tuesday, June 16, by surprising residents with banana splits and ice cream sundaes.

Photo via Dulles Health and Rehab Center

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Health Alert Kit On the Way — Households in Fairfax County and the Town of Herndon will receive a COVID-19 toolkit in the mail that includes instruction on what to do if you’re sick, what to do if you’re in contact with someone who is sick, and how to talk to close contents if you are sick. [Fairfax County Government]

Attempted Robbery at Exxon in Great Falls — A man attempted to rob the Exxon gas station on 9829 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls on April 10. Police said the man left when the clerk told him there was no money. [Fairfax County Police Department]

What’s Happening Today — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will meet electronically today beginning at 1 p.m. to discuss next year’s revised budget and other coronavirus-related items. [Fairfax County Government]

Plans for Non-essential Businesses — “As the end date approaches for the Gov. Ralph Northam’s order that closed non-essential recreation and entertainment businesses, the governor plans to extend the date. Northam has not set an end date for that extension, but an announcement is expected. Wednesday.”  [Patch]

Photo by Bryan Harrell/Twitter

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Fellowship Square, which operates affordable housing facilities for seniors at Lake Anne Fellowship House and Hunters Woods Fellowship House, has launched a new approach to respond to the outbreak of coronavirus. The living facilities are home to residents who are identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “high risk” due to age.

The health and safety of our residents and staff is always our primary concern. Fellowship Square is an independent living facility and therefore relies upon the cooperation of its residents in jointly combating this dissimilar virus pandemic,” said Shelley Ducker, a spokesperson for Fellowship Square.

The company is working with its property management company, S.L. Nusbaum, to implement new cleaning procedures. All non-essential activities and programs have been canceled until further notice and bus trips are limited for medical and food supply purposes online.

As part of its “aggressive and pro-active approach,” Ducker also noted that signage at all entrances requests high-risk visitors from entering the building, including those who recently traveled overseas, took a cruise, or show symptoms of illness. sanitizer and hand wipes are also available in high traffic areas. One sign reminds staff to avoid shaking hands with residents and guests to decrease the spread of germs.

We remain on high alert and continue to monitor news and other viable sources of information,” Ducker said.

This week, Reston Hospital Center also instituted new visitation restrictions. All visitors and patients are being directed to use specific entrances for health screenings.

“Any potential symptomatic patient who arrives can be properly masked and immediately isolated to protect our colleagues and other patients,” according to Todd McGovern, the hospital’s spokesperson. “We continue to work in partnership with the local, county and state health department and the CDC and will provide updates to our hospital and medical staff as necessary.”

Photo via Fellowship House

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Fairfax Connector shared the steps being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as more cases are reported in the D.C. area.

Fairfax County’s Department of Transportation announced on Friday (March 6) that contractors are following these steps:

  • reviewed and updated cleaning protocols based on guidance from public health officials
  • increased vehicle cleaning cycles with a special focus on bus interiors and critical touchpoints such as door handles, handrails and other surfaces.
  • initiated regular communication with Fairfax Connector workforce

The county’s Board of Supervisors is expected to receive an update about the county’s preparations against the virus tomorrow (Tuesday).

Fairfax County also has suggestions for passengers to curtail the rapidly-spreading illness:

  • wash hands often with soap and water and use hand sanitizer
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • avoid contact with people who are sick
  • stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others

“FCDOT highly values the health and safety of Fairfax Connector customers and personnel,” the county said.

Virginia has three “presumptive” cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

Cases involving a Marine Base Corps Quantico resident at Fort Belvoir and a City of Fairfax resident — were announced yesterday (Sunday). Today (Monday) a presumptive case of coronavirus was announced in Arlington.

As local schools in the D.C. area prepare for possible closures due to local coronavirus cases, Fairfax County Public Schools are currently open today.

In a letter to families on Saturday (March 7), Superintendent Scott Brabrand said that FCPS is working with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) to monitor the disease.

FCPS-sponsored international field trips and short-term international visitations have been suspended through June 30, the letter notes.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, risk to the U.S. public is considered low at this time,” according to FCPS. “The FCHD has provided an updated handout about COVID-19 for the community.”

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Fatimah Waseem contributed reporting.

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Following recent changes to state law, the Fairfax County School Board is drafting a policy to store and administer cannabis-derived medication to students at school.

The board is set to discuss the draft policy at a meeting tonight (Monday). Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly passed three bills that would expand access to the medications. Under the changes, students who have proper documentation can use cannabinol (CBD) oil and tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THC-A) oil at school.

The oils are derived from the cannabis plant and have been used by healthcare providers to treat conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, migraines, attention disorders, seizure, and other ailments.

The bill also protected school nurses from being prosecuted for possessing and distributing the oils — in accordance with school board policy.

Under the policy, students who have documented permission from a parent or guardian and a licensed practitioner of medicine or osteopath can receive the toils at school. Parents and guardians would also be required to provide the oils to students.

The board will discuss the draft policy at a work session tonight at 6 p.m.

Photo via Unsplash

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Two animals located less than a mile apart have tested positive for rabies, according to the Fairfax County Health Department.

Health officials are urging residents to stay away from wild animals and report animal attacks to the count immediately after a dog and raccoon and a groundhog tested positive for rabies within the last month.

On August 16, the groundhog was killed by a dog on the 2500 block of Brofferton Court. The raccoon was killed by a dog in a yard on the 12800. Block of Pinecrest Road on September 13.

Health officials believe the animals may have had contact with other people or pets.

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. The virus attacks the central nervous system and causes death if medical treatment is not sought immediately.

Residents who suspect an animal has rabies should call the Fairfax County Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131.

Map via Google Maps

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Updated on Tuesday, July 16 — This event was cancelled due to staffing issues.

If you spend most of your day sitting, there are still ways to stay somewhat active.

The county’s Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board is organizing a free, four-part workshop on chair yoga. The second workshop is on Wednesday, July 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Northwest Center (1850 Cameron Glen Drive).

The workshop is facilitated by the CSB’s health care integration Manager Shana Grady. She is also one a health coath at BeWell, a coaching program that offers wellness services and health coaching.

Participants will focus on the “impact that nutrition, sleep and activity level have on behavior in a friendly, educational, hands-on setting,” according to the event’s website.

The CSB provides services for people of all ages with mental illness, substance abuse disorders or developmental disabilities.

Registration is open online.

Photo via Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

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Health officials are warning people in Northern Virginia that they may have been exposed to an individual with measles.

The individual visited several locations in the area, according to the the Virginia Department of Health.

In a release, the department detailed possible exposure locations and times:

  • Dulles International Airport in Terminal A and Baggage Claim level on Sunday, June 2, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center, 15225 Heathcote Boulevard, Haymarket, VA in the emergency department on Sunday, June 2 at 11 p.m. through early Monday, June 3 at 4:30 a.m.
  • Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, 3600 Joseph Siewick Drive, Fairfax, VA in the emergency department, including the waiting area, on Tuesday, June 4 from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

State officials offered the following advice if individuals believe they were at the above locations during the specified times:

If you have received two doses of a measles containing vaccine (either the measles, mumps and rubella [MMR] vaccine or a measles only vaccine which is available in other countries) you are protected and do not need to take any action.

If you have received only one dose of a measles containing vaccine, you are very likely to be protected and your risk of being infected with measles from any of these exposures is very low.  However, to achieve complete immunity, contact your health care provider about getting a second vaccine dose.

If you have never received a measles containing vaccine nor had a documented case of measles, you may be at risk of getting measles from this exposure.  Contact your local health department or health care provider for advice on possible intervention to decrease your risk of becoming infected or other precautions you need to take.  If you notice the symptoms of measles, stay home and away from others and immediately call your primary health care provider or health department to discuss further care. Call ahead before going to the office or the emergency room and tell them that you were exposed to measles.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily through coughing in sneezing. Its bacteria thrive in the air for two hours.

Over the last decade, the incidence of measles has spiked. In the first five months of this year alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited 971 cases — the largest number of cases in the United States since 1994.

Photo via Michael Schiffer/Unsplash

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Optimal Motion Physical Therapy, a new physical therapy clinic, is now open at 950 Herndon Parkway.

The clinic offers “specialized treatment in various areas, including sports injuries, chronic pain, and other orthopedic issues,” according to its website.

The business was founded by Secilli DeStefano and Matt Barnes. Although the clinic is now open, a grand opening event is set for Friday, June 7 from 5-8 p.m.

More information about the practice is available online.

Photos via Jackie Yencha

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DC Row is getting work done on its future Reston Town Center location ahead of an expected summer opening.

A building permit indicates that the rowing-focused fitness studio recently started interior alterations at 11877 Market Street. A spokeswoman for Boston Properties confirmed that DC Row will occupy the former spot of Appalachian Spring, which closed last January.

DC Row’s General Manager Brittany Brunch previously told Reston Now that the Reston spot will offer similar classes to the ones currently at the D.C. location (790 Maine Avenue SW), along with happy hour events for corporations and more time slots during the day for moms.

Locals can expect a pop-up before the grand opening, which has not been announced yet.

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RTC West welcomed the D.C.-based fitness chain Solidcore back in early March as part of a larger expansion in the D.C. area.

After one month in business at its new spot at 12100 Sunset Hills Blvd, Krystal Capasso, the studio manager for the Reston location, shared some details with Reston Now on how the pilates-focused fitness chain is faring in Reston.

Before coming to Solidcore, Capasso worked at pilates and barre studios in Arlington and Ashburn. She also served in the Marines for several years.

Reston Now: How has it been going since opening?

Krystal Capasso: We’ve had a lot of people come in. It’s a cool mix of people.

RN: Do you know why the Reston location was chosen?

KC: Not really, but I can tell you we are right next to Reston Town Center and then there are also some businesses right nearby.

RN: What is your customer base like at Reston?

KC: We’ve had a lot of people coming during lunch or right before or after work and also people who live nearby — Reston, Herndon and Fairfax. It’s more of a mix of people who are coming from work or who live in the area. I think we have a fair amount of men and women coming into the studio.

RN: What do you think is the appeal of the Reston location?

KC: The [D.C.-area] people are already familiar with Solidcore. This location may be more convenient for them than other studios in Northern Virginia — filing gaps between studios. I think also generally as a workout, the cool thing about Solidcore — it’s a workout that they can use as their primary workout, but it’s also a really good complimentary workout to something else that people are doing. It’s a good way to reach other people, people who are already fit and have a routine in place but want some diversity and change.

RN: Generally, do people who go to studios to work out stick to the same spot or do they frequent multiple ones?

KC: Usually, people come to a studio and stay there and only go to those studios. I think a unique thing about Solidcore is we do have people who do that exclusively, but then people who will use Solidcore as another thing to do to supplement their workouts.

RN: What do you enjoy the most about Solidcore?

KC: When I come into this studio and take a Solidcore class, I am always challenged. It doesn’t get easier. You are always going to get stronger.

RN: What do you think makes people return for more classes?

KC: The community keeps people coming back. We try to get people excited about working out together. It’s a really team-oriented environment.

For people who might be hesitant about trying out Solidcore, Capasso said at the end of the interview that there is a beginner’s class that moves at a slower pace to allow coaches to give more instructions and to demo moves before class starts so that people can feel more comfortable.

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Herndon student makes honors choir — A student from Herndon Middle School, along with 79 other students from Fairfax County public schools, has been selected by the Virginia Choral Directors Association to perform at the All-Virginia Middle School Honors Choir event scheduled for April 4-6. [FCPS]

Millennials book club — Today, adults in their early 20s and 30s can discuss “Carry On, Jeeves” by PG Wodehouse at the Reston Regional Library from 7-8:30 p.m. [Fairfax County]

What’s up with the Silver Line? — A series of stories by Bisnow is looking at how little of the Silver Line expansion is built as it nears its debut and the developments slated to pop up around the Metro area. [Bisnow]

Restonian bringing laughs to Herndon — Dark Horse Theatre Company will present the regional premiere of the dark comedy, “The Value of Moscow,” by  Amy Dellagiarino, who grew up in Reston and is a South Lakes High School alumna, on April 12-27 at ArtSpace Herndon. [Connection Newspapers]

Photo courtesy Layna Cook

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Ballet instruction will soon arrive near Plaza America.

Building permits indicate that a new tenant layout for Principal Ballet is coming to 11495 Sunset Hills Road.

The ballet school has signed a lease for a 3,630-square-foot space on the first floor, according to Renaud Consulting, a commercial real estate company.

Currently located in the Hunters Woods Village Center, Principal Ballet provides year-long classes with offerings for preschool, elementary and middle school students; teens; and adults.

Image via Google Maps

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