Reston, VA

As the population pool eligible to receive vaccinations expanded in Fairfax County on Monday, some local pregnant women are mulling whether or not to receive the vaccine amid limited data on its safety during pregnancy.

So far, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that pregnant women who are groups recommended to receive the vaccine — including healthcare personnel and frontline essential workers — can choose to get vaccinated. Pregnant women with COVID-19 have an increased risk of several illness.

But with limited data available on the effects of the vaccine on pregnancy, local obstetricians and hospitals are leaving the decision to expectant mothers.

Tina Dale, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Health Department, said that getting vaccinated is a “personal choice” for people who are pregnant.

“People who are pregnant and are eligible because they are in Phase 1a or 1b should consult with their OB/GYN in order to help make the best decision,” Dale told Reston Now.

The CDC has offered only general considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

A Herndon woman, who asked to remain anonymous because she has not announced her first pregnancy yet, says she is not convinced there is enough research about the possible risks associated with the vaccine.

For now, she’s buckling down on wearing a mask in all social settings and at the small business she owns. She plans to deliver at Reston Hospital Center.

“I am working in my business under limited hours. It is very challenging because as a business owner, you want to be hands-on, by now my role has to shift a bit and more responsibilities go to my staff.”

Reston Hospital Center is also encouraging pregnant women to turn to doctors for advice. Some offer clear-cut answers while others leave the final decision to their patients.

“The hospital would recommend that pregnant women seek input from their personal OB/GYN and primary care physician,” wrote Todd McGovern, the hospital’s communications director, in a statement to Reston Now.

Kathryn Wiard, a Reston mother, says her doctors have recommended getting the vaccine. Although she says she’s on the fence, her ‘gut instinct’ says that she should get it.

I am less worried since the vaccine is mRNA based, and not a live virus strain. I will have an April delivery and with the covid numbers increasing, I am very anxious about going to the hospital in general, and while the vaccine isn’t perfect- it does provide a little bit more peace of mind,” Wiard said.

She plans to deliver at Reston Hospital Center in April. Whether she ultimately gets the vaccine or not, she plans to go through labor and delivery without the presence of her husband to protect her husband and toddler from COVID-19.

Her bigger worry is the safety risks associated with hospitals.

Regardless of the vaccine, the entire pandemic has me very wary of medical facilities, she says.

The CDC plans to formally study the effect of the vaccine on pregnant and lactating women in the coming weeks. 

Photo by Aditya Romasa/Unsplash

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Monday Morning Notes

Sycamore Trees Spark Concerns in Reston — ‘Two Reston sycamore trees at Lake Anne Village Center appear to be a concern to certain people, but for three different reasons. Their unease involves Reston’s flagship characteristics, its tree canopy, lakes, and public art. Apparent consternation for some residents at Heron House is that the sycamores block lake views.’ [The Connection]

Local Couple Helps Families Virtually Monitor Babies — A Northern Virginia couple is helping families see newborns who are in intensive care at local hospitals. The couple has offered to install cameras on incubators or cribs of infants. [WJLA]

Local Exhibition Reviewed — ‘Thoughtfully selected by former Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) curator Lily Siegel, the two concurrent presentations jointly amounted to Dryer’s first comprehensive survey in nearly twenty years, uniting thirty-four artworks in all: twenty-two paintings and sculptures at the Phillips Collection, twelve paintings and works on paper at GRACE.’ [Artforum]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Hospital Center Staff Receive COVID-19 Vaccine — Dr. David Adler, an anesthesiologist, was first in line to receive the vaccine at Reston Hospital Center. More than 100 physicians, nurses and caregivers received the vaccine at the hospital so far. [Reston Hospital Center]

Icy Roads and Sidewalks Pose Hazards after Yesterday’s Snow — “So far, between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m., FCFRD has responded to two incidents related to people slipping and falling on ice and injuring themselves. If you must be out this morning, walk with care and caution! Walk like a penguin!” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Metrobus to Operate on Moderate Snow Plan — Metrobus will begin service on its moderate snow service plan, in which some routes will be suspended and detours will be in effect on selected routes. Metro will continue to restore conditions as conditions allow. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

FCPD Launches Community Survey on Search for New Police Chief — Fairfax County has hired POLIHIRE to lead the search for the police chief. The firm is seeking input from the community on key characteristics, skills, traits, and issues to consider. [FCPD]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

FCPA Director Retires After 40 Years — “Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) Executive Director Kirk Kincannon announced his retirement this week, ending his tenure with the award-winning agency effective Feb. 12, 2021. Kincannon, a seasoned parks and recreation professional with four decades of national experience.” [Fairfax County Government]

‘HOPE’ Letters on Display at Reston. Hospital Center — A new installation with the word “Hope” is on display at the entrance of Reston Hospital. Center. [COVID-19 U.S. Honor Quilt]

Updates on Vaccine in Fairfax County — The county offers information on the COVID-19 vaccine, which is an mRNA vaccine.  These vaccines teach our cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response in our bodies. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

 

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Fairfax County Police Department participates in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this week with several drop-off locations, including Reston Hospital.

This Saturday (Oct. 24) Reston residents can properly dispose of their expired, unused, or unwanted prescription pills and patches, according to FCPD.

There will be drop-off locations across the county collecting items from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including Reston Hospital(1850 Town Center Parkway) as it works to “Crush the Crisis” during this day.

“Volunteers will be collecting tablets, capsules, and patches of Hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab, Vicodin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), Tramadol (Ultram), Codeine, Fentanyl (Duragesic), Morphine, Hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and Oxymorphone(Opana), the press release said. “Needles, syringes, lancets, or liquids will not be accepted. Law enforcement officers from the Fairfax County Police Department will be on site to assist with the collection and disposal of unused medications.”

E-cigarettes and vape pens will also be accepted, only if the batteries are removed.

Other drop-off locations include:

  • Fair Oaks District Station (12300 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway)
  • Franconia District Station (6121 Franconia Road)
  • Mason District Station (6507 Columbia Pike)
  • McLean District Station (1437 Balls Hill Road)
  • Mount Vernon District Station (2511 Parkers Lane)
  • Sully District Station (4900 Stonecroft Blvd.)
  • West Springfield District Station (6140 Rolling Road)

This year will be the 19th year of U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Last year, almost five thousand law enforcement facilities participated across the county, with more than six thousand collection sites, the website said.

Photo by Freestocks/Unsplash

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Tuesday Morning Notes

A Rare Butterfly Species Species Spotted —  Reston resident and photographer Ed Hass has documented a new spread-winged skipper butterfly species found in Reston. According to iNaturalist, one has never been reported here. They are normally found in South America and the southern U.S.” [Reston Association]

Deadline for Mail-in Ballot Approaches — Friday is the last day to apply for a vote by mail in the Nov. 3 election. The most secure and quickest way to apply is through the state’s online portal. [Fairfax County Government]

New CFO for HCA Northern Virginia — “ HCA Northern Virginia has named Dustin Fosness the new chief financial officer (CFO), effective Oct. 19, 2020. In this role, Fosness will oversee financial operations for Reston Hospital Center, StoneSprings Hospital Center, and Dominion Hospital.” [Reston Hospital]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Candidate Sought for Design Review Board — Reston Association is seeking a candidate for a design professional position on the board. The application is available online. Members must be in good standing to be considered for a committee. [RA]

Reston Hospital Center to host ‘Crush the Crisis’ Opioid Take-back Day — “With the opioid crisis still raging throughout the nation, Reston Hospital Center will be taking part in “Crush the Crisis,” an opioid drug take-back day, which will allow the community to safely dispose of unused or expired opioid medications.” [Reston Hospital Center]

Indictments Secured in Bihar Ghaisar Killing — “Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said on Thursday that he has secured indictments that include manslaughter against the two U.S. Park Police officers who shot and killed Bijan Ghaisar, an accountant from McLean, Virginia.” [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Hospital Center is now offering a new augmented reality system for spine surgeries.

The technology allows spine surgeons to see through a patient’s anatomy. Hospital staff described the tool as the “first AR guidance system to be used in surgery.” Currently, the technology is approved for minimally invasive spine implant operations.

Dr. Christopher Good said the introduction of the new technology — which he used at Reston Hospital Center — will “elevate” the hospital’s spine program to “an all-new level.”

“Bringing AR into the operating room has the possibility of leading to smaller incisions and less invasive procedures which means less pain and faster recovery for patients,” Good said.

Here’s more from the hospital on how the surgery works:

Similar to a real-time GPS, this “see-through” surgery lets surgeons know exactly where to place implants in a patient’s unique anatomy, and is bringing a new standard of personalization and care to the operating room.

The Augmedics xvision Spine System used at Reston Hospital Center is different from other image guidance systems, as it allows surgeons to maintain their focus directly on the patient, rather than on a distant screen displaying the patient’s anatomy.

Reston Hospital Center’s new surgical system consists of a transparent near-eye-display headset and all elements of a traditional navigation system. It accurately determines the position of surgical tools, in real-time, and superimposes them on the patient’s CT data. The navigation data is then projected onto the surgeon’s retina using the headset, allowing him or her to simultaneously look at both the patient and the navigation data. The xvision Spine System is designed to revolutionize how surgery is done by giving the surgeon better control and visualization, which may lead to easier, faster and safer surgeries.

Photo courtesy Reston Hospital Center

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Herndon Police Department Seeks to Identify Persons of Interest — HPD is seeking the public’s help to identify two men who are “persons of interest in an HPD investigation.” Anyone with information should call 703-435-6846. [Herndon Police Department]

An Update on Reston Association — This week’s Reston Today video takes a look at RA’s efforts to maintain safety and operations due to COVID-19. [Reston Association]

Reston Hospital Center Receives Healthgrades Awards — “Reston Hospital Center has received the Healthgrades 2020 Labor and Delivery Excellence Award and the 2020 Obstetrics and Gynecology Excellence Award for the fourth consecutive year.” [Inside NOVA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Hospital Center is joining three other regional healthcare organizations in a public service campaign.

The “Wear a Mask” campaign, which launched late last week, urges residents to wear a mask in public settings.

Recent studies have show that wearing masks can led to a “significant slowdown” in daily COVID-19 growth rates over time.

“We are in this battle against COVID-19 together,” said Thomas Taghon, RHC’s chief medical officer. “It doesn’t matter your political affiliation, what you do for a living, who you work for, where you live, or how much money you have, COVID-19 is an equal opportunist when it comes to infecting people.

Here’s more from RHC on the initiative:

For hospitals and their frontline medical teams treating COVID-19 patients, prevention remains critical in fighting this pandemic. While healthcare workers continue to fight COVID-19 inside hospital walls, they are relying on the public to do their part by wearing masks, using good hand hygiene and social distancing.

“Science has proven that masks are effective in slowing the transmission of the virus,” said Zan Zaidi, MD, clinical physician executive, Novant Health UVA Health System. “We see this in communities wher mask adoption has been embraced — statistics show a reduction in death and infection.”

Clinical leaders at Inova Health System, Novant Health UVA Health System, Reston Hospital Center, and Virginia Hospital Center all agree that wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing is working.

“We cannot let our guard down,” said Jeffrey DiLisi, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Virginia Hospital Center. “We must keep at it, to protect one another and ourselves from a virus for which there is not yet a vaccine or a cure.”

https://twitter.com/siciliano_w/status/1294084705076367361?s=20

Photo via Reston Hospital Center/Facebook

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At the Reston Hospital Center, staff members are seeing a decline in both COVID-19 and non-COVID-related patients.

Compared to August of 2019, Reston Hospital Center Emergency Room admissions are down 20 percent and the hospital only had six COVID-19 patients currently, which is the lowest number since May, according to David Jacobs, the chairman and medical director for Reston Hospital Center’s emergency department.

But, this trend is concerning, Jacobs said — especially when it comes to non-COVID related visits.

The downward trend is partially due to people avoiding the emergency room in fear of catching COVID-19 at the facility. Additionally, people aren’t coming in close contact with others, and therefore avoiding catching other communicable diseases, Jacobs added.

Jacobs says he’s concerned over the drop in admissions since this means people might not be seeking help when they need it, leading to medical complications that otherwise would have been avoidable.

Examples of this include not being able to diagnose appendicitis in time or someone ignoring the beginning stages of a heart attack, Jacobs said.

To keep people safe when they come into the emergency room, the Reston Hospital Center has set up strict protocols, according to Jacobs. These include separating people with COVID-19 from other patients, use of personal protective equipment, regular temperature checks, the requirement of face masks for anyone who enters the building and frequent cleaning.

When considering a visit to the emergency room, Jacobs said there is little risk of catching COVID-19 at the facility since staff members stick to the health protocols set in place. It is far more dangerous to ignore symptoms and avoid seeking medical help, he said.

Jacobs said people should seek immediate medical attention when they notice warning signs such as:

  • difficulty speaking
  • unusual and sudden weakness in legs or arms
  • chest pain
  • new or worsening abdominal pain

One grievance Jacobs said he has heard repeatedly from patients is that they find it difficult to schedule a time to meet with their regular health care providers.

“I think the whole medical system is readjusting and struggling with how to safely see patients,” he said, adding that Reston Hospital Center has availability for people who need to be seen. “We are open and we have capacity.”

Practitioners are also concerned about an increase in drug and alcohol abuse.

“I think more people are out of work and have more time on their hands,” he said adding that people have also been coming in with mental health issues such as depression and suicidal thoughts that can feed off from stress associated with the pandemic.

Though the medical facility doesn’t have a detox center on-site, it does have medical professionals who can give consultations and direct people towards further help.

Some good news is on the horizon. Unlike elsewhere in the country, Jacobs said he hasn’t noticed a rise in child abuse or domestic violence cases at Reston Hospital Center.

“I’ve certainly heard and read about that but can’t say that I’ve experienced that or heard about a spike in the Reston area,” he said. “I think that’s an issue of concern that follows with a lot of these drug and alcohol and psychiatric related issues but I think to-date we haven’t seen a spike in our department.”

Going forward, Jacobs said he hopes people won’t avoid the emergency room because of fear over COVID-19, as hesitation could be deadly.

“We have five months of experience with this,” he said.

Photo courtesy Reston Hospital Center

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Reston Hospital Center ranked as the 14th best hospital in Virginia, according to rankings released by the U.S. News & World Report.

The hospital also ranked high in cardiology, heart surgery, and orthopedics.

Rankings are determined by analyzing data from 5,000 medical centers and survey responses from more than 30,000 physicians.

The University of Virginia Medical Center ranked as the best hospital in Virginia.

“We are committed to the care and improvement of human life,” said John Deardorff, President and CEO of Reston Hospital Center and HCA’s Northern Virginia market. “Our medical staff and care team live this mission and strive for excellence in everything we do. We are proud to receive this national recognition from U.S. News.”

The rankings were determined based on pre-COVID-19 metrics. 

Reston Hospital Center is a 231-bed medical facility that is part of the HCA Virginia Health System.

Photo via Reston Hospital Center

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Fairfax NAACP Asks Governor to Stop Funding School Police  Fairfax County NAACP and State Del. Kaye Kory (D) sent a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam Tuesday asking him to reallocate state funding away from supporting police officers in schools and putting it toward more school counselors. Kory, who represents the 38th District in Fairfax County, and Sean Perryman, president of Fairfax County NAACP, signed a letter along with over a dozen other organizations asking Northam to defund the School Resource Officer program in the upcoming special session.” [Reston Patch]

Woman Shot Multiple Times with BB Gun — Town of Herndon police say that a female victim was shot multiple times on July 5 with what appeared to be a BB gun. The suspect is known to the victim, who was taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. [Herndon Police Department]

Reston Hospital Receive Patient Safety Award — “Reston Hospital Center is a recipient of the Healthgrades 2020 Patient Safety Excellence Award™. This distinction places Reston Hospital Center among the top 5 percent of all short-term acute care hospitals reporting patient safety data as evaluated by Healthgrades, the leading resource that connects consumers, physicians and health systems.” [The Connection]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A local nonprofit organization will host a town hall with Fairfax County officials to discuss issues of resilience and recovery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cornerstones has planned the virtual event for Monday, June 8 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust are signed on as panelists, as well as Fairfax County Public Schools’ board members Melanie Meren (Hunter Mill District) and Elaine Tholen (Dranesville District).

Residents are invited to join the conversation about the county’s plans to rebuild economic stability and ensure the most vulnerable residents have the resources they need to regain independence and security.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Affordable housing
  • Extending tenant rights through recovery
  • Family resiliency and sustainability after the crisis
  • Learning loss and the digital divide
  • Getting back to work and a living wage
  • Opportunity Fairfax and the COVID-19 divide

The facilitators are Casey Veath, principal of Veatch Commercial Real Estate; Tracey White, Vice President of Reston Hospital Center; and Kerrie Wilson, CEO of Cornerstones.

Members of the public can email their questions for consideration to [email protected]. Submissions must be received by Friday, June 5.

The meeting will take place via Zoom. Participants can register online.

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Virginia State Police Issue Alert for Missing Reston Resident — The state’s police department issued an alert for missing Reston resident Michael Delaney, 75, who was last seen leaving Reston Hospital Center on May 10. Local police have suspended an active search for the Reston resident, who suffers from a cognitive impairment. [Virginia State Police]

Good Deed Alert: Stuff the Bus is Today — Fastran buses will be parked at locations throughout the county for donations. The Reston location is at the Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office, which is located at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive. Donations from that location will go directly Cornerstones. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Man Charged with Second DWI — “A man was arrested in Ashburn May 14 after reportedly causing a vehicle collision while impaired, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded to the 44000 block of Allderwood Terrace around 9:24 a.m. and reportedly found the striking driver to be under the influence of alcohol. Julio F. Aragon, 30, of Reston, was charged with driving while intoxicated — his second offense.” [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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