Reston Hospital Center is now requiring its staff to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, reversing course on a previous policy that did not require staff to be vaccinated.
The hospital, which is part of the HCA Healthcare, did not institute a vaccine mandate due to a pending court case against vaccine mandates from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In a 5-4 ruling last week, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the vaccine mandate, which covers nearly all healthcare workers, to proceed. The ruling covers two dozen states under federal injunctions that prohibited the CMMS from imposing mandates. It applies to roughly 76,000 health care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities.
In their opinion, justices implied that the court’s ruling overrode state laws that ban vaccination requirements at facilities taking part in the Medicaid and Medicare programs. As a result, failing to comply with the ruling could compromise some health care facility’s ability to serve patients under the Medicare and Medicaid program.
“To ensure our ability to continue caring for Medicare and Medicine patients, Reston Hospital will comply with the CMS mandate and require colleagues covered by the mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or seek a religious or medical exemption,” Suzanne Kelly, the healthcare system’s marketing and communications director, wrote in a statement.
The court also ruled that the OSHA mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees was not enforceable and exceeded the office’s statutory authority.
All staff is required to receive their first dose of the vaccine by Jan. 27 and be fully vaccinated by Feb. 28.
The hospital did not provide information on vaccinations rates for staff, although a spokesperson said a majority of its staff are vaccinated.
Angela Woolsey contributed to this report
As COVID-19 cases surge nationwide and staffing shortages cut through multiple industries, Reston Hospital Center says it has no immediate plans to institute a vaccine mandate for staff.
HCA Healthcare Inc., the Nashville-based hospital system that owns RHC, StoneSprings Hospital Center in Ashburn and Dominion Hospital in Falls Church, says the vaccine mandate was paused after a federal court in November ruled that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could not require health care workers to get vaccinated.
“While a majority of our staff are vaccinated, we continue to strongly encourage our colleagues to be vaccinated as a critical step to protect individuals from the virus,” HCA Healthcare’s communications director Suzanne Kelly told Reston Now.
Kelly declined to release Reston Hospital Center’s vaccination rates and specific statistics about staff shortages at the Reston location.
A majority of health systems in the region do require staff to get vaccinations, especially as COVID-19 variant Omicron sweeps through the area. The Washington Business Journal recently rounded up how area hospitals are handling the issue. According to that analysis, most hospital systems are leaning toward vaccine mandates. That’s despite an increasing number of staff shortages and less manpower, partly due to COVID-19 infection rates and other industry-related factors.
Other area hospitals require mandates as a condition of employment. Inova, for example, has preserved its vaccine mandate, which it sees as a tool to promote recruitment and retention.
Reston Hospital Center offered the following statement in response to questions about how staffing shortages are being handled and the extent of the staffing shortage:
We are investing in our colleagues by continually reviewing the nursing market and making strategic pay adjustments, implementing additional incentive and recognition programs, and by providing a stable workplace by not laying off our medical staff during the pandemic as did some of our competitors. To support immediate staffing shortages, we are also recruiting nurses from other states and even other countries to come to Virginia to support our nurses and help ensure we are providing top quality care to our patients during this unprecedented time. We are attracting new nurses to work at our facilities through aggressive recruitment efforts including sign-on bonuses and referral bonuses in strategic areas and specialties. We also continue to partner with bricks-and-mortar colleges and universities, and online programs, to attract more people to choose careers in healthcare. This will build a future pipeline to fill long-term healthcare staffing needs.
While there is no simple solution to the complex staffing challenges facing our nation and the healthcare industry, we believe through this combination of tools, and the unique opportunities we can provide our nurses and colleagues as of the largest healthcare companies in the nation, we will be able to attract and retain a world-class workforce to meet the needs of the communities we serve now and in the future.
Currently, the hospital system’s most critical vacancies are for nurses and imaging colleagues in its new standalone emergency room, Tyson’s Emergency, which is opening soon.
The county and Fairfax County Public Schools require vaccines for staff.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services can institute a vaccine mandate after the agency filed an appeal. The appeal comes after a federal court granted 10 states’ requests to preclude the centers from enforcing their vaccine mandate in late November.
Photo courtesy of Reston Hospital Center
Reston on Low End of Snow Totals — Around 5 inches of snow were measured in Reston and 4.5 inches in Herndon yesterday (Monday) from the season’s first winter storm. Estimated accumulations varied across Fairfax County, from 3.5 inches in Sterling to 11.8 inches in Franconia. [NWS]
Fairfax County Government Opens Late — “Fairfax County Government will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 4, with unscheduled leave granted for employees.” [Fairfax County Government]
FCPS Closed For Day Again — Fairfax County Public Schools has extended winter break for a second day, with school facilities closed and all activities on school grounds canceled. As of last night, FCPS expected to have COVID-19 testing sites open for staff but not students, though the schedule is expected to be finalized today (Tuesday). [FCPS]
Fairfax Connector Operates Limited Service — “As wintry weather and icy conditions continue to impact Fairfax County and the National Capital Region, Fairfax Connector will be operating Saturday service on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.” [FCDOT]
Reston Hospital Pauses COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate — While many area health care systems have maintained requirements that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, HCA Healthcare Inc., the company that owns Reston Hospital Center, has paused its mandate after a federal court ruling in November. A spokesperson says the vaccine is still strongly encouraged, and a majority of staff have gotten vaccinated, but a specific number was not provided. [Washington Business Journal]
County Changes Quarantine Period — Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revised recommendations, the county is now shortening the recommended isolation period after testing positive from COVID-19 to five days. [Fairfax County Government]
No Word Yet on Herndon Sheetz — The company says that it is too early to provide additional details on when a Sheetz in Herndon is expected to break ground. The project is still in permitting stages, a company representative tells Reston Now. [Sheetz]
Last Few Days for Tacky Christmas Lights — Residents still have the chance to check out tacky Christmas lights in Fairfax County. A local location is 12708 Kettering Drive in Herndon. [Fairfax County VA]
Eastbound Route 7 Traffic Shift to Begin — Beginning Jan. 11, drivers should expect a lane shift to the north between Lyons Street and Lewinsville Road and temporary traffic changes on side streets. All residences and businesses will remain accessible. [Connect Route 7]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Case Surge Prompts Changes to Contact Investigation Process — Case investigators will prioritize contact tracing and investigation for high-risk scenarios, including children who are in school, people infected through an outbreak and people who live and work in settings like group homes or long-term care facilities. The effort is part of an attempt to use staff and resources effectively. [Fairfax County Government]
Reston Student Amps Up Volunteering — Aaron Letteri, a Reston resident who studies at the Lab School of Washington, has been volunteering in many different capacities. His latest effort includes collecting coats for Cornerstones. [Fairfax County Times]
Fire at Townhouse in Reston Under Investigation — Local fire crews are investigating the source of a fire on the porch of a town house on the 3200 block of Autumn Hill Court in Reston. The fire started yesterday evening. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Vaccine Clinics Closed Today — Vaccination clinics at the Fairfax County and South County government centers will be closed through Dec. 276. [Fairfax County Government]
New School Vaccine Clinics in Reston — The county and the school system have added new school-based clinics for COVID-19 vaccines in the area. A school-based vaccine clinic is scheduled for Dec. 11 and Jan. 6 at Hunters Woods Elementary School. [Fairfax County Government]
County Adopts New Redistricting Plan — The county has adopted a new redistricting plan. Seven precincts were shifted to new districts. The Virginia Attorney General will certify the new map. [Fairfax County Government]
A Reminder to Decorate Safely — With the holiday season quickly approaching, local fire and rescue personnel are reminding risks to decorate with safety in mind. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Fairfax County Sees Record Tax Haul — Fairfax County saw a record tax haul in 2021. The assessed value of taxable property in the county rose by roughly $10 billion between fiscal years 2020 and 2021. [Washington Business Journal]
Booster Shots Encouraged — The Fairfax County Health Department is encouraging residents to get their booster shots, particularly as the Omicron variant emerges. [Fairfax County Government]
County Considers Big Pay Increases — The county is considering giving county and school staff big pay raises to make up for staff lost last year due to the pandemic. [Sun Gazette]
Tennis Courts to Close in Reston Next Week — Beginning Monday, tennis courts at Glade and North Hills will be closed for the season. The courts are expected to reopen in early April. Hard courts remain open year-round. [Reston Association]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
With Thanksgiving this Thursday (Nov. 25), families are preparing to travel and gather, but COVID-19 concerns continue to persist for another holiday season, following the Delta variant and changes in vaccinations.
The vaccine is now commonplace and even available to children as young as 5. But individual preferences on social distancing and getting the vaccine are continuing to affect the holiday season.
It comes following the spread of the coronavirus across countries throughout the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has further noted that booster shots, currently only eligible for certain at-risk groups for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines (but all adults for the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine), can help boost immune response, based on small clinical trials.
Meanwhile, travel is poised to make one of its biggest rebounds, notably with flights coming close to 2019 levels, AAA has projected.
Barton Hill Funding Moved Up — Reston Association plans to begin the nearly $851,000 in renovations for the Barton Hill Recreation Area by late 2022. Original plans called for completing the project sometime in 2023. [RA]
Three People Injured in Group Fight — Two people were treated for injuries at a local hospital after a fight between two groups broke out in a business on the 2400 block of Centreville Road on Nov. 6. Police officers found one victim with a gunshot wound and two others with stab wounds when they arrived on the scene shortly before 2 a.m. All of the injuries were not serious. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Missing Terrier Dies at Reston Golf Course — Baby, a 15-year-old Yorkie who went missing on Nov. 1, died Thursday afternoon in a creek at Reston National Golf Course. [Reston Patch]
Vaccine Clinics at Schools Launched — The Fairfax Health District and Fairfax County Public Schools will begin offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 at nine clinics starting tomorrow. Clinics will be held after school hours, evenings and weekends at nine school sites. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Metro Service Reductions Continue — Metro will continue with reduced levels of service through at least November 15 as Metro works with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission on a plan to make sure its 7000-series railcars are safe for service. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]
Loan Outreach Center Now Open — The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened up a temporary disaster loan outreach center in Montgomery County, Maryland to help local businesses impacted by Tropical Storm Ida. Fairfax County is an eligible jurisdiction. Residents and businesses can seek help for disaster loan assistance applications. [Fairfax County Government]
County Seeks Police Officers — The county is looking to fill a number of positions in the public safety sector. Applications are open for the Fairfax County Police Department. Salaries range from around $54,000 to $88,000. [FCPD]
What You Need to Know About Vaccines for Kids — Pediatric doses for children between ages five and 11 are expected to begin in the county in early November. As a result of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation, 97,000 kids in the Fairfax Health District are now eligible for the vaccine. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo by David Taube
Finding Safe Streets — The county’s ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan is working on a safe streets proposal. Tow community meetings are planned next month to address systemic issues with transportation. [Fairfax County Government]
Virginia Gets High Marks for Vaccines — The state ranks 10th among all states for the percentage of its population that’s fully vaccinated against COVID-19. More than 82 percent of people age 18 and above have received at least one dose. [Northam]
A Message of Healing by Local Artist — Julia Malakoff’s soli exhibition — Good Jujue — is in its final week at Reston Art Gallery and Studios. The artwork includes references to challenges caused by the pandemic. [Reston Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Boosters Available in Fairfax County — Fairfax County’s health department and other providers have begun offering boosters for eligible adult groups. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting boosters for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. [Reston Patch]
Reston Farmers Market Going Strong — So far, the Reston Farmers Market has had a successful year. The popular market is scheduled to run through Dec. 4. This year, a general sense of normalcy has returned to the market. [Reston Patch]
Last Week for Pumpkin Carving Contest — It’s the last week to submit an entry for Reston Association’s Great Pumpkin Carving contest. Registration is required. [RA]
Glade Clay Tennis Courts Closed — The courts are closed due to standing water. Our Reston tennis team will revaluate the courts today at 5 p.m. [RA]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
County Tries to Vaccinate Unhoused Residents — Fairfax county officials have launched an effort to encourage the county’s roughly 1,200 unhoused residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Public health workers have a mighty task ahead as the county is large and people experience homelessness in different capacities, including in shelters, deep in the woods and in encampments. [DCist]
Child-sized Mask Donations Needed — The county is in need of 10,000 masks for children. The largest need is small masks for toddlers and you-size masks for school-aged kids. County officials say they’ve received requests from nonprofit partners for masks but can’t fill them because they do not have enough masks. [Fairfax County Government]
Anti-theft bike racks available in Reston Town Center — Boston Properties recently worked with Bikeep, a San Fransisco-based micromobility enabler, to install several app-activated bike racks in Reston Town Center. The stations were installed at the end of the spring. [Bikeep]
LGBTQ+ Group Decries Efforts to Remove Books — A group that represents more than 425 LGBTQIA students told the Fairfax County School Board that it should reject an effort by some parents to remove two books from school libraries. [Reston Patch]
Vaccine Mandate In Effect for Chamber Events — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is requiring attendees of in-person events to show proof of vaccination. Fully vaccinated attendees will not be required to wear a face mask. While some exceptions may be made, attendees who are not vaccinated can provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the event. [Reston Patch]
Polo Tennis Court Closed — The tennis court will be closed for refurbishments beginning today. Repairs are expected to take between two and three weeks. [Reston Association]
Local Elementary School Earns High Honors — Sunrise Valley Elementary School has been named the 14th best elementary school in Fairfax County, according to a national ranking. [Reston Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
County to Deploy Mobile COVID-19 Testing — The county is deploying a mobile lab to provide testing in several locations beginning tomorrow. Individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms can get tested. Sites selected to boost access to testing in areas with a higher number of cases. [Fairfax County Government]
Volunteers Needed for Multicultural Festival — Reston Community Center is looking for volunteers to help set up the Set. 24 event, along with parking attendants, activity assistants, and survey takers. [Reston Association]
Fairfax County Police Chief Tap Executive Deputy — Brian Reilly, formerly of the Prince George’s County Police Department is officially Fairfax County’s executive deputy police. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Photo via vantagheill/Flickr