On June 26, Reston Hospital Center announced that it had zero COVID-19 patients for the first time since the pandemic arrived in Fairfax County 470 days earlier.

That moment of celebration would prove to be too-short-lived, but it still provided an occasion for top Reston Hospital officials to reflect on how far they have come over the past 18 months — and how much more work may lie ahead.

The Virginia Department of Health confirmed the Commonwealth’s first COVID case on March 7, 2020, but Reston Hospital officials believe they had at least one case about a month earlier than that.

“Because of our proximity to Dulles, we started seeing patients very, very early,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Taghon told Reston Now in an interview last week at the hospital.

He recalls one patient in particular who had flown internationally and was sent to their emergency room in early February 2020.

“[The patient] was probably the first COVID patient we had, though because of the [lack] of testing capabilities, we couldn’t prove it,” he said.

Early in the pandemic, individuals who tested positive at Dulles International Airport were often brought to Reston Hospital.

Now that vaccines are available and scientists have a clearer understanding of how the novel coronavirus functions, Taghon notes that it may be easy to forget how uncertain those early days of the pandemic were and how much was being discovered about COVID every day.

“What the public may not fully appreciate was that this was a really… a rapidly evolving situation and that was a real challenge for us,” Taghon said. “We would literally change pretty significant policies overnight because we learned something new. Things changed quickly.”

Those early experiences led the local hospital to be among the first, they say, to restrict visitation, require masks, and to realize that it didn’t matter if a patient had traveled to a hotspot.

“The disease was spreading very rapidly [that] pretty early we made the conclusion it doesn’t really matter if they were actually in China or not,” said Taghon.

Soon, much of the other things that were happening at the hospital — surgeries, screenings, and other care — slowed down to a trickle. Many of the staff working in other units came over to help with the ICU.

Monica Oakcrum, the director of critical care at Reston Hospital, says it was a real challenge explaining to families why visitation was restricted in those early days.

“Families were frantic understandably and it was a real struggle,” Oakcrum said. “But we [had to] protect our patients, the community, and our staff.”

The stress and burnout was intense for doctors, nurses, and staff, but frontline healthcare workers heard from the community how much they were appreciated.

In the earlier days, Restonians would come out and cheer during shift changes. Meals and handmade cards from children were delivered to the hospital.

“Those things really did make a huge difference,” Oakcrum said. Read More

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Morning Notes

Herndon Fire Causes $6K in Damages — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units responded to a passerby’s report of a building fire in the 2400 block of Centreville Road around 7:22 a.m. yesterday (Monday). Investigators determined that the fire, which was seen on a countertop, was caused by an electrical event involving a power strip. There were no reported injuries, but the damage was estimated to be $6,000. [Patch]

Police Seek Assistance in Finding Great Falls Burglary Suspects — The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston Station is seeking to identify two men who reportedly caused more than $20,000 in damage to a house in the 800 block of Hortense Place in Great Falls on June 12. Detectives have not yet determined if the incident is related to incidents involving damage to two homes in the same block on July 12. [Patch]

Virginia to Use COVID-19 Relief Funds for School Ventilation — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants to allocate $250 million of the state’s federal coronavirus relief money to projects that will improve air quality in public schools. In a statement Monday, the Democratic governor said the state funding would be matched with another $250 million in local funds for an investment that would allow for the completion of nearly all Virginia school divisions’ currently planned projects.” [Associated Press/WTOP]

Reston Hospital Completes First Spinal Implant Using AI and Augmented Reality — “Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR), top surgeons at Virginia Spine Institute deliver personalized spinal implants to a 17 year old patient. Spine Surgeons Dr. Ehsan Jazini and Dr. Christopher Good performed the procedure at Reston Hospital on Monday, July 26, 2021.” [Virginia Spine Institute]

Reminder: Weigh In On Future of Reston Parking — “Help us determine the future of parking in Tysons and Reston. We want to hear from residents, commuters, employees and patrons about how you use parking in these areas. Take our managed parking survey, open now through July 31.” [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Lake Anne (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Fairfax County Gave Republican Governor Nominee Tax Break — “GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin and his wife last year successfully petitioned Fairfax County to designate their horse farm as an agricultural district, which led to a 95% reduction in the taxes they pay on the 31.5-acre property in Great Falls that surrounds their home.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Material Costs Drive Up Silver Line Phase 2 Costs — “The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority is having to pay an extra $20 million to cover the higher cost of materials needed to build the extension of Metro’s Silver Line…So far, the construction’s progress has eaten up $2.464 billion, but the airports authority maintains the [$2.778 billion] budget won’t change, thanks to contingency funds.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Redistricting Committee to Meet Next Week — Fairfax County’s 20-person Redistricting Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on Tuesday (July 27) at 6 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. Open to the public, the meeting will focus on legal requirements, equity, and bylaws as the group prepares to recommend new electoral boundaries for the county’s supervisor and school board districts. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Hospital Hires New Executive — Allyssa Tobitt will serve as Reston Hospital Center’s new chief operating officer starting Aug. 2. Replacing Ben Brown, who moved to Dominion Hospital in West Falls Church, she worked at the corporate office of Reston Hospital’s parent company HCA Healthcare in Nashville, Tennessee as well as at hospitals in its for-profit health system near Miami and Tampa, Florida. [HCA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Hospital Center main entrance (courtesy Reston Hospital Center)

Reston Hospital Center is spending nearly $20 million for upgrades and renovations as it prepares to enhance its robotic-assisted surgery program.

The project calls for constructing four new, larger operating rooms and modernizing other areas “to provide added capacity to Reston’s robust surgical offering which performs over 10,000 surgeries annually,” a news release said.

The design phase of the renovation, which will involve over 22,000 square feet of space, is scheduled to begin this summer.

“This infusion of capital will upgrade our surgical capability and capacity to help deliver a world-class surgical experience for our patients and surgical care teams,” John Deardorff, chief executive officer of the HCA Healthcare Northern Virginia market and Reston Hospital Center, said in the news release.

The Richmond-headquartered health care system said the changes will help serve more patients. The hospital expects surgeries to continue uninterrupted during the project, hospital spokesman Todd McGovern said in an email.

The new and upgraded operating suites will help improve patient outcomes through the adoption of emerging technologies and innovative surgical approaches to help reduce hospital stays and lessen recovery times. The added capacity will allow Reston Hospital’s care teams to treat more patients needing complex spine care, orthopedic care, and minimally invasive surgery across a range of surgical specialty areas such as bariatric (weight loss), colorectal, general, hepatobiliary, gynecologic, thoracic (lung), and urologic surgery.

The Food and Drug Administration and researchers previously shared concerns about various robotic surgeries, noting that although they’ve been taking place in the U.S. since 2000, patients should be aware of outcomes and available evidence.

Different types of surgical areas have been taking off. Based on one measure, the number of general surgery procedures conducted by U.S. hospitals rose from 10,000 in 2010 to 246,000 in 2017, according to a physicians’ estimate.

Some doctors also raised concerns about costs for rural hospitals, noting in December 2020 that despite advantages noted with the procedures, there’s still a lack of high-quality evidence in most areas.

The planned upgrades are in addition to the hospital projecting to spend $70 million on projects that include a new freestanding emergency department at 8240 Leesburg Pike in Tysons coming in 2022.

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Morning Notes

An orange day lilly (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Police Seek Help in Search for Missing Lorton Woman — Fairfax County police are offering a $20,000 reward for information about the disappearance of 72-year-old Lorton resident Emily Lu, who was last seen at an Aldi in Woodbridge on June 3. Homicide detectives are now involved in the case, as police suspect foul play. [WTOP]

Woman Robbed at Herndon ATM — “Town of Herndon Police are investigating a robbery that took place recently at an ATM on Elden Street, according to the weekly crime report. Around 8:30 a.m., on June 5, a woman told police she was at an ATM in the 300 block of Elden Street when to people approached her and demanded money.” [Patch]

Attorney General Nominees Hold First General Election Debate — Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring and Republican challenger Jason Miyares each presented the other’s vision as “radical wrong turns” for Virginia in a debate yesterday, the first since the Democratic primary wrapped up last week. Herring highlighted his support for police reform and stricter gun regulations, while Miyares criticized his opponent as having “a criminal first, victim last mind-set.” [The Washington Post]

Reston Community Center Recognizes Volunteers — “We love our RCC volunteers! Thank you for all that you do to build community. We enjoyed being with you June 12 for the Volunteer Appreciation celebration.” [RCC/Instagram]

Reston Hospital Gives Scholarships to Local Students — South Lakes High School students Virag Ellen Murphy and Emma Lynch are among 16 high school seniors in Fairfax and Loudoun counties to receive scholarships from Reston Hospital Center. The hospital’s medical staff awards $13,000 in scholarships every year to local high schools in support of students who plan to pursue a career in health care. [HCA Virginia]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Hospital Center plans to invest $70 million over the next three years to expand its facilities (Courtesy of Reston Hospital Center)

Reston Hospital Center has committed $70 million to a series of new initiatives that are expected to roll out over the next three years.

Building off of a multi-year expansion of the hospital’s campus near Reston Town Center that finished in early 2020, the projects aim to “expand service capacity, modernize facilities, and introduce state-of-the-art technologies to help meet the growing healthcare needs in the region,” the HCA Virginia Health System, which includes Reston Hospital, said today (Wednesday) in a press release.

The projects include a new, freestanding emergency room in Tysons that will serve as an extension of its existing services and a 13,000 square-foot expansion of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Center, which will go from 18 to 30 beds.

On top of the upcoming changes, Reston Hospital also started utilizing an augmented reality system to conduct spinal surgeries in October.

Here is a full breakdown of the new initiatives:

New Freestanding Emergency Department: Reston Hospital has commenced construction on a new standalone emergency room (ER), at 8240 Leesburg Pike. Located in the heart of Tysons, VA near the intersection of Route 7 and Route 123, this nearly 14,000 square-foot facility will be conveniently positioned within walking distance to both the Greensboro and Tysons Metro stations. The emergency department will be an extension of Reston Hospital Center and is targeted for a Q1 2022 opening. Upon launch, the 11-treatment room, state-of-the-art ER will be staffed with board-certified emergency room physicians and nurses, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and offer the same services provided in an emergency room that is housed within the walls of a hospital.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Center Expansion: Reston’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Center will expand from 18 to 30 beds to support patients recovering from various debilities, including stroke, spine and brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries and other neurological conditions. This project will add 13,000 square feet to the all-private unit; construction will begin in late 2021, with an expected completion date in early 2023.

Facility Renovation and Modernization: Funds will be reinvested in the facility’s remaining patient care areas including women’s care services to refresh and modernize finishes; elevating the patient experience across the hospital. The project will also provide improvements to the hospital’s physical plant and infrastructure to improve system safety and reliability.

Surgical Technology Enhancements: Reston is continuing to enhance one of the region’s most advanced surgical service portfolios with significant investments in key areas including robotic surgery and augmented reality-guided surgery. These emerging technologies will enhance surgical patient experience through reduced hospital stays and shorter recovery times across many surgical specialties including bariatric (weight loss), colorectal, general, gynecologic, hepatobiliary (pancreas and liver), neuro, orthopedic, spine, thoracic (lung), and urological surgeries, among others.

Advanced Stroke Care: Reston has enriched their accredited primary stroke treatment program by opening its neurointerventional suite in the fall of 2020. The service is offered in partnership with the nationally-regarded neurovascular team from Medstar Medical Group.

Technology Upgrades: Additional funding has also been spent or earmarked for updates to cancer treatment technology for radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging system upgrades.

“These service expansions, investments and improvements are critical in helping us to continue delivering on our commitment as a premier specialty hospital, as well as being recognized as the healthcare provider and the employer of choice in the Northern Virginia region,” HCA Healthcare Northern Virginia and Reston Hospital President and CEO John Deardorff said.

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(Updated at 11:25 a.m. on 6/9/2021) Reston Baby,” a new bilingual board book about life in the community, is being gifted to all Reston newborns.

Starting next week, every baby born at Reston Hospital Center will receive the picture book prior to leaving the hospital. For babies not born at that hospital, they (or their parents) can pick up a free copy at the Reston Historic Trust & Museum at Lake Anne Plaza.

Developed by a retired Sunrise Valley Elementary School principal, the book tells the story of Reston through illustrations, words, and bright colors.

“Our biggest goal…was for parents to really understand the value and importance of reading to their children from birth,” said former principal and project founder Dr. Beth English, who is also a literacy educator. “The second purpose was to give Reston families a sense of the uniqueness of the community in which they live.”

The book is primarily comprised of illustrations drawn by Molly Bergin that highlight Reston’s well-known history and landmarks. This includes information about founder Robert E. Simon, nature trails, the Reston Community Center, and the farmers markets.

English says the book was written in both English and Spanish to reflect the community’s values of diversity as well as appreciating art.

The book additionally features Reston’s mascot, Walker Woodpecker.

Reston Museum & Historic Trust is helping shepherd the project and distribute the book.

Alex Campbell, the museum’s executive director, says “Reston Baby” fits well into the museum’s mission.

“It’s a really wonderful community project…Our mission is to inform the present, but also influence the future,” Campbell said. “This is one way we can do that.”

The museum also now hosts an outdoor program called “Storytime for Little Historians” every Tuesday, and “Reston Baby” will be part of that series too.

Over the past year, the Reston Museum has continued to experiment with different ways to fulfill its mission within the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re continually looking for ways to engage the community of all ages in a variety of different ways,” Campbell said.

English says she got the idea for the book last year toward the beginning of the pandemic.

While attending a virtual, statewide literacy conference, she learned about Roanoke’s baby board book. She consulted with the head of the library services there, who gave her a blueprint for her own project, including publisher recommendations, the cost, and thoughts on funding it.

English took the idea back to friends and fellow educators, who all agreed it was a great idea.

She started working on it April 10, 2020, and now, 14 months later, Reston Baby is written, illustrated, published, and ready for distribution.

A number of notable Reston organizations helped fund the $15,000 needed for the book’s first printing, including Reston Association, Reston Community Center, Reston Town Center Association, Friends of the Reston Regional Library, and Friends of Reston.

With that money, English was able to publish 4,200 books.

About 200 babies are born at Reston Hospital Center a month, a spokesperson for the hospital confirmed to Reston Now. Even adding in Reston babies born at other hospitals or in other areas, English expects this printing will be enough to provide every newborn a free book for at least the next year.

The book will also be available for sale online and at the Reston Museum.

Once all the books are distributed, English anticipates raising more money for a second printing.

English says she’s already given away a few copies of the book, including to a Reston Hospital nurse who just had her own baby and to her soon-to-be-born granddaughter.

“I’m going to be a grandmother at the end of this month. It’s my first,” English said. “And I sent [a book] to my son and daughter-in-law in Boston because I want my baby granddaughter to know where her grandmother lives.”

Photo courtesy Reston Museum & Historic Trust

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Morning Notes

Reston Contractor to Develop National COVID-19 Hotline — “Reston-based government services company Maximus has received a potential $951 million contract to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 national surge support and vaccine assistance hotline.” [Virginia Business]

Reston Farmers Market Opens to Crowds — Reston Farmers Market opened for the spring on Saturday (May 2) “to brisk business” at Lake Anne Village Center. Even with most COVID-19 health protocols still in place, at least 1,900 customers attended, up from 809 customers on the first day of the 2020 season, according to founder John Lovaas. [Patch]

Local Band Teacher Dies — Coates Elementary School Principal Jesse Kraft announced yesterday (Monday) that Kelsey Burch, the school’s fifth and sixth-grade band teacher, had died after a year-long battle with cancer. Before joining Coates four years go, she led the band program at Sunrise Valley Elementary School in Reston for a decade. Sunrise Valley will name its band room in her honor. [Coates Elementary]

Fairfax County Parks Open Registration for Summer Classes — Registration for summer classes, events, and programs from the Fairfax County Park Authority, including at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, begins today. Online registration is available, and spaces in each program are limited. [Friends of Frying Pan/Twitter]

Reston Hospital Named Among Top 100 in U.S. — “Reston Hospital Center has been named to the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list. This is the first time Reston Hospital Center has been recognized with this honor as one of the top performing community hospitals in the U.S.” [Reston Hospital Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Hospital Center has again partnered with the Fairfax County Police Department to host a drug collection site in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Drug Take Back Day on April 24.

Located at 1850 Town Center Parkway, the hospital’s collection site will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for visitors to drop off unused or expired opioid medications. It will be situated in the circular drive at the Pavilion 1 rear entrance, which will also be available for drive-thru drop-offs.

Reston Hospital Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Taghon says the “Crush the Crisis” drug take-back day is an especially vital initiative this year, as the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic could be contributing to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

“Stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be exacerbating the opioid crisis by causing Americans to have feelings of anxiety, grief, social isolation, financial worry, and general uncertainty, all of which can affect those with substance use disorders and those at risk of developing one,” Taghon said. “Now, more than ever, it’s critically important to get unused pain medications out of homes and to educate the community about the serious threat of opioid misuse and abuse.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. saw the number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids more than quadruple from 1999 to 2019, with nearly 247,000 people dying over the time period.

The Fairfax County Health Department called opioids the top cause of unnatural death in the county. They were linked to 83 deaths in 2018, including 70 that involved heroin or fentanyl.

For the upcoming drug take-back day, Reston Hospital volunteers will collect tablets, capsules, and patches of the following drugs:

  • Hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab, Vicodin)
  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet)
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Morphine
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana)

However, needles, syringes, lancets, or liquids will not be accepted at the collection site.

Officers from the Reston District Police Station will be present at the site to assist with the collection and disposal of the medications, according to Reston Hospital.

Reston Hospital is one of eight drop-off sites that will be available around Fairfax County for Drug Take Back Day, which is being coordinated by the police department.

Fairfax County also now has permanent drug drop-off boxes at each of its district police stations as well as some pharmacies and medical facilities in the area.

Photo courtesy Reston Hospital Center

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Morning Notes

Reston Man Hospitalized After Assault — A man was “assaulted by several acquaintances inside his home” at the 11600 block of Stoneview Square on March 26, according to police. The victim reportedly “sustained cuts to his lower body” and was taken to the hospital “with serious injuries.” [FCPD]

Police Arrest Four Suspects in Home Burglary — The Fairfax County Police Department arrested four men after determining that they were involved in taking property from a house in the 10600 block of Water Falls Lane on March 28. “Detectives continue to investigate this case, confirm the men’s identities and their involvement in other burglaries,” police say. [FCPD]

Longtime Chemical Engineer Dies at Reston Hospital — William “Bill” Friend built a 41-year career in engineering that included election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1993 and 21 years of work for the Reston-based Bechtel Group. At 86, he died from complications due to COVID-19 at Reston Hospital on Jan. 27. [The Washington Post]

Reston Association Opens Tennis Courts –“Reston Association’s clay courts at the North Hills and Glade tennis facilities opened April 1. Lights at these locations will be operational seven days a week between 6 p.m.-11 p.m. All players must have an RA 2021 recreation pass or a 2021 non-resident tennis pass to access the courts. Court monitors will be on site to check passes. Players are required to sweep the courts when they are done.” [RA Newsletter]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Courtney Park-Jamborsky remembers vividly the last time she saw her stepfather Michael Delaney last year.

It was May 9 and she was dropping the 75-year-old Reston resident off at the emergency room at Reston Hospital Center. Delaney had fallen earlier in the day at his Reston home. While he had only a small cut, he suffered from dementia so Park-Jamborsky knew to be cautious.

Due to strict COVID-19 protocols, she could not enter the emergency room with him. So, she hand-wrote a note with his medical history, social security number, and her contact information.

“I stood at the sliding emergency room door at the hospital, and he stood there with me,” she tells Reston Now. “I felt like I was letting a five-year-old walk through that door without someone helping him. But I had confidence that [Reston Hospital] knew what they were doing. I never thought in a million years that he would disappear.”

As the one-year mark of Delaney’s disappearance approaches, neither his family nor Fairfax County Police Department is any closer to finding him after he walked out of Reston Hospital Center last May.

“Michael Delaney is still reported missing,” FCPD wrote in a statement to Reston Now. “In the days following his reported missing, we exhausted numerous resources to find him to include our helicopter, K9, Search and Rescue Team as well as assistance from numerous volunteer organizations. Our detectives would ask anyone with information about his current whereabouts to please call, 703-691-2131.”

Delaney wasn’t initially supposed to be at the hospital for long, perhaps only a few hours. Due to this, Park-Jamborsky didn’t let him bring his phone.

“It was right at the beginning of COVID, so we thought anything that was touched, you could get COVID from… so I thought I couldn’t let him take his phone into the hospital,” she says.

However, when Park-Jamborsky called the hospital later, they told him that he was being kept overnight so he could have an MRI the next morning due to the possibility of a stroke.

She called back the next morning, May 10 which was Mother’s Day, and they told her they were still waiting for the MRI to take place. Really wanting to pick him up for the holiday, she called again later that afternoon only to be told they were now waiting for the MRI results.

Then, she says she received a call at around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday night.

“The nurse called… she said ‘We can’t find Michael,'” says Park-Jamborsky. “She said ‘Well, I was walking with him on the floor and I turned to get something and he was gone.'”

On May 11, the Fairfax County Police Department put out an alert about Delaney, saying that he was last seen the day before (May 10) at 9:02 p.m. in the 1800 block of Town Center Parkway.

Surveillance video showed him exiting Reston Hospital.

“The next morning… someone called [from the hospital], and asked ‘Did we find Michael?’ And I said ‘no, we have not.’ And they said, ‘We’re very concerned.’ That was the last time I spoke to anyone at the hospital.”

Park-Jamborsky reiterated that she has not had any contact with Reston Hospital since that day. When asked if the hospital could have done more to prevent this from happening, Park-Jamborsky says yes.

Reston Now reached out to the hospital to ask about what happened the night Delaney went missing. Additionally, we asked a series of questions about protocols, particularly around preventing situations like this from happening with patients like Delaney.

They answered with the below statement:

“On the night of May 10, 2020, a Reston Hospital Center care team member observed that 75-year old, Michael Delaney, was not in his patient room. We immediately began a facility search and notified the Fairfax County Police Department. He was not found on the hospital campus.

Since his departure from the facility, Reston Hospital Center has coordinated with the Fairfax County Police to support their missing person investigation. This is an ongoing investigation and we defer to the Fairfax County Police Department for additional comment.

We urge anyone with information about Mr. Delaney’s whereabouts to contact the Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131. We hope Mr. Delaney is found safely. Our thoughts continue to be with him and his family.”

For days after, FCPD, community groups, friends, and family combed the area while alerts were plastered on social media platforms. On May 14, FCPD announced its was suspending the search, though the department conducted at least one more helicopter-assisted search prior to the end of the month.

Delaney was still not found.

Read More

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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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