Reston, VA

Fairfax County has surpassed 15,000 cases as of today (Thursday) as the trajectory of cases continues to remain stable in the county.

One of the most important measures of community transmission — charting confirmed cases by new cases per week — indicates that cases are not growing exponentially. For the last three weeks, the number of new cases has remained relatively stable.

The Virginia Department of Health reported 49 new cases today — a number that is in line with previous daily increases for the last week.

But it’s unclear how complete the data are. The number of total tests administered per week has remained stable since a reported high on the week of May 24. However, the number of positive tests remains low.

Racial disparities continue to remain prevalent in the county. The Hispanic community accounts for 60 percent of total confirmed cases where race is known, even though they comprise just 16 percent of the population.

In Northern Virginia, the number of weekly total cases reported hovers in the 500s, with slight increases reported since last month.

Overall, the state has reported 81,237 confirmed cases, 7,437 hospitalizations, and 2,054 total deaths.

The Fairfax County Health Department is encouraging residents to continue to practice social distancing and wear masks when in public. Cleaning supplies and children’s face coverings are also still needed.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The growth rate of COVID-19 in Fairfax County and statewide continues to fall as public health restrictions ease across Virginia.

But local and state officials are still cautioning residents to be wary of a possible second wave in the fall.

The number of positive tests has dipped significantly. In the Fairfax Health District, the positivity rate stands at 5.2 percent. In mid-May, that number inched near 27 percent of all cases.

Additionally, the daily count of cases and hospitalizations also continues to drop.  On Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Health reported 25 new deaths statewide, the largest number since May 28.

Since COVID-19 tracking began, 459 deaths and 13,705 cases have been reported in Fairfax County.

Recently, county officials stepped up testing efforts throughout the county, including targeted testing locations that are not widely publicized. A breakdown of testing sites is available online.

Gov. Ralph Northam is tentatively considering a phase three date of Friday, June 26. But a final decision has not yet been made.

Data via Fairfax County Health Department

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Fairfax County’s Hispanic community is bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Hispanic individuals comprise just under 17 percent of the total population, they account for nearly 66 percent of all confirmed cases in the county.

The rise has raised alarms about equity issues between different racial groups in the county. County health officials say that higher infection rates may be caused by the need to go to work, lack of sick leave, the inability to socially distance while on the job, and lack of unemployment insurance.

Cases have grown over the last three months in the Hispanic community, while efforts to flatten the curve in the black and white communities have been more successful, county data show.

“This risk reflects a group’s niche in society rather than a particular racial effect,” said Benjamin Schwartz, a medical epidemiologist with the Fairfax County Health Department.

Many local Hispanic residents work in jobs where the risk of transmission is especially high.

Roughly 25 percent of Hispanic men in the county work in natural resources, construction or maintenance, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. That’s compared to just five percent of blacks in the same industry.

Similarly, 45 percent of Hispanic women work in the service industry, more than double the percent of black women in the same industry, according to the survey.

Additionally, roughly 12 percent of Hispanic households are defined as overcrowded based on county metric, compared to four percent of the black community and less than one percent of the white community.

But the same racial disparity is not prevalent in other parts of the county. In Richmond, for example, blacks are being hit hard by the pandemic while poor whites are disproportionately impacted in southwestern Virginia.

On a national level, blacks account for a higher share of confirmed cases and deaths compared to the rest of the population, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Roughly 20 percent of cases do not contain race and ethnicity information.

Exacerbating the Divide

At Cornerstones, a nonprofit organization based in Reston, the pandemic has exacerbated the daily struggle with housing, poverty, quality education, and living wage jobs.

Already, 33 percent of families in Cornerstones’ affordable rental housing have lost all or some of their income due to mass layoffs. Some have limited access to daycare and the internet, complicating long-distance learning, even if the school system provides a laptop for students.

Parking lots may offer free wifi access, but a car and time are needed to park there. Others turn to families and friends to watch their children, increasing the risk of exposure for all.

Public health officials are also seeking ways to improve community communication and increase testing in local hotspots, including the Town of Herndon.

In April, 385 new households came to Cornerstones’ pantry in need of food. That’s more than six times the number of new households in fiscal year 2019.

For low-income members of the immigrant community in the time of COVID, it’s never one thing. The pandemic only exacerbates their daily struggling with housing, poverty, quality education, and living-wage jobs,” said Sara Newman, division director of community change partnerships at Cornerstones.

For these residents, the financial burden of COVID-19 is “inescapable,” Newman said.

Unpaid rents are continuing to accumulate. People keep working or look for employment regardless of the viral spread so they can keep a roof over their family and food on the table.”

Photo by Morgan Von Gunten/Unplash

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Gov. Ralph Northam announced this afternoon at a press conference that the Northern Virginia area can move into phase two starting Friday (June 12).

Northam said that the COVID-19 metrics for Northern Virginia continue to improve.

“Our hospitalizations for COVID are trending downward, particularly in the last week,” Northam said, adding that hospitals are under capacity.

The rest of Virginia entered phase two last Friday (June 5).

So far, there have been 51,738 cases of coronavirus in the Commonwealth of Virginia but an expert at the press conference said this number will jump as labs are backlogged with data.

At the same press conference, Northam also released a plan to reopen public schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Changes will include social distancing measures and adaptations to perform health checks, according to Northam.

Students will not be required to wear face coverings, according to the Virginia superintendent, but they will be encouraged for older students.

Image via Governor of Virginia/Facebook

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County surpassed 10,000 today (Wednesday). But the trajectory of cases appears to be on the decline as Northern Virginia gears up for phase one of its reopening plan on Friday.

According to data released by the state’s health department, a slowdown in the number of new cases emerged this week. Public health experts determine the trajectory of COVID-19 by charting the total number of confirmed cases against new confirmed cases per week.

Additionally, the number of new cases per week has decreased. In the first two weeks of this month, the county saw a weekly case count of between 1,200 and 1,300 cases. Last week, that number dipped to around 1,000 new cases.

Still, 365 people in the county have died from the respiratory illness. On Monday, a record number of new cases — 493 — was reported. Since then, the number of new daily cases dipped to 357 yesterday (Tuesday) and 230 today.

As the state’s testing capacity has expanded, the number of positive cases has also declined slightly since the week of April 19, county data show.

Overall, 40,439 cases have been confirmed statewide, resulting in 1,281 deaths. A surge in testing partly explains the increase in the number of cases reported daily on Monday and Tuesday.

Northern Virginia continues to account for a majority of cases.

Photo via CDC/Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • A 25 percent test positivity rate has been reported, with the rest of the state experience a positivity rate of 10 percent
  • On any given day, 70 percent of the state’s positive cases are attributed to Northern Virginia
  • COVID-19 patients make up a significantly larger portion of the region’s hospital bed capacity than the rest of the state.
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State officials say that social distancing has prevented nearly 36,602 cases in Fairfax County so far. By June 10, that number is expected to balloon to nearly 134,681, according to the new data released by the Virginia Department of Health.

The department estimates that community mitigation strategies have prevented 203,669 confirmed cases statewide — with nearly one million cases prevented by June 10. Virginia State Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order is expected to expire that day.

Still, the number of cases continues to rise. As of today (Monday), there are roughly 19,492 cases of COVID-19 statewide, resulting in 684 deaths.

In Fairfax County, 4,615 cases are confirmed and 771 people are hospitalized. According to the county, 204 people have died from the disease. Although the county has the highest numbers of cases, the incidence of the disease — when measured by rates per 100,000 — is relatively low. The case rate is 401 with a fatality rate of 17 and a hospitalization rate of 67.

The health department also released a new online tool for testing sites across the state. According to the locator, there are no testing sites in Herndon and Reston.

Photo via CDC/Unsplash

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Thursday Morning Notes

Two Men Rob Victim in Parking Lot — Police believe that two men assaulted and robbed a man at gunpoint on the 1600 block of Reston Parkway on April 21. The victim was not injured. The suspects were described as black men in their 20s or 30s. [Fairfax County Police Department]

FCPS Assistant Superintendent Resigns — The fallout of the school system’s distance learning debacle continues. Maribeth Luftglass, who oversaw the school system’s department of information technology, is stepping down from the role she has held for 21 years. [Twitter]

Delays in Daily COVID Count — The process that compiles daily case counts overnights underwent an error. Case information is unavailable this morning. Staff is working to resolve the issue. [Virginia Department of Health]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A security guard at Lake Anne Fellowship House, a 240-unit development for seniors in need of affordable housing, has tested positive for coronavirus.

Fellowship Square Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing and support services for low-income seniors, is working with the security company to identify if the guard came into contact with staff or residents, according to Christy Zeitz, the foundation’s CEO.

A cleaning crew is also conducting deep cleaning and sanitizing of all areas where the guard was in and around, including common areas, doorknobs, elevators, the front desk, and handrails.

In a notice to tenants and families yesterday (April 21), Zeitz said the foundation is working with the Virginia Department of Health and the security company to contain the spread of the virus.

“The health and safety of all residents and staff is our foremost priority,” Zeitz wrote. “We are working closely with the company and state health officials to ensure all necessary steps are taken, including the identification of staff who recently came into contact with the vendor.”

All residents have been instructed to stay in their apartments. Service coordinators will contact residents and their families over the phone or email to ensure residents have food and other necessities.

Older adults and people with several underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of developing more serious complications from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All potentially affected staff are at home in quarantine and there is no personal contact between staff and residents.

The Fellowship House is seeking donation of food and groceries for residents so that they don’t need to leave the premises for supplies, as well as protective masks. Although the organization is awaiting an order of 1,700 masks for its residents, it’s unclear when the shipment will arrive.

File photo

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County is reaching the 2,000 mark.

According to state health data released this morning, there are now 1,925 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Fairfax County. The county hit a little over 1,000 cases just eight days ago.

For the last three days, the growth rate of cases has hovered between six and ten percent.

The number of cases between Sunday and today (Monday) jumped by roughly six percent, adding a total of 116 new cases. Between Saturday and Sunday, that jump was about 11 percent.

In recent days, the state has released more data on hospitalizations, deaths and outbreaks. So far, there at 8,990 cases of COVID-19 statewide and 300 people have died, including at least 30 Fairfax County residents.

The deadliest of statewide outbreaks have occurred at long term care facilities. According to state data, 915 cases have been linked to outbreaks in these facilities, leading to 77 deaths.

So far, the week of April 5 resulted in the most number of new cases (2,268). The cumulative count of cases continues to increase daily at generally faster rates than the last month.

Data via Virginia Department of Health

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Fairfax County’s top official says new demographic data is expected to get shared publicly soon as the county continues to lead the increase of COVID-19 cases statewide.

Fairfax County now has two more coronavirus outbreaks since yesterday, bringing the total to 19, according to the Virginia Department of Health. There are 17 outbreaks at long term care facilities, one at a correction facility and one at a “healthcare setting.”

Virginia has 108 total outbreaks, with more than half at long term care facilities.

In a Twitter Q&A yesterday, Jeff McKay, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said that demographic case data is expected to get posted online “shortly.”

Overall, 6,500 cases and 195 deaths have been reported statewide. More than 44,000 people in Virginia have been tested for the virus.

As of this morning, the Fairfax Health District had 1,298 cases — 91 more cases than yesterday’s count.

The Fairfax Health District includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and towns in the county.

In the Fairfax Health District, 256 people have been hospitalized, while 6,827 have been tested.

Yesterday, Fairfax County reported 21 deaths. All of the individuals who died from the illness were age 50 or older, with 18 of the people age 65 or older.

Data via Virginia Department of Health

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County has passed 1,000.

The county continues to lead all other jurisdictions with a total of 1,164 cases, according to state data released this morning.

Between yesterday (Sunday) and today, 156 new cases were reported.

Overall, 5,747 cases statewide and 149 deaths have been reported, including 19 deaths in Fairfax County.

Currently, seven hospitals in the state are having trouble securing personal proactive equipment.

Roughly 23 percent of available ventilators statewide are currently in use and 5,970 beds are available for patients.

Data via Virginia Department of Health

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Updated at 6:30 p.m. —Fairfax County announced this afternoon that the number of cases totals 778 and there have been 19 deaths.

Earlier: The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the county more than doubled for the first time in more than a week.

Eleven more people in Fairfax County have died from the novel coronavirus, according to information released by the county yesterday (Thursday).

That brings the total number of deaths in the county to 16. As of today (Friday), there are 777 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, up from 690 yesterday.

All individuals who died from the illness were above the age of 50.

In the state, 121 people have died from the respiratory disease and there are a little over 4,500 cases.

This week, the growth rate of cases has increased in comparison to the previous week.

Data from Virginia Department of Health

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County continues to increase at a faster rate in the county.

According to state data released this morning, the number of cases jumped from 570 yesterday (Wednesday) to 690 overnight. The highest percent increase of cases was reported this week.

Fairfax County continues to have the most number of cases in the state. Overall, more than 33,000 people have been tested and nearly 4,042 cases have been confirmed. So far, 109 people have died.

The county’s health department cannot provide more geographic information about cases beyond the county level due to privacy laws.

“We believe that all geographic areas of Fairfax County currently are at risk fo disease transmission,” the health department wrote in a statement.

Data via Virginia Department of Health

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to climb in Fairfax County.

As of today (Monday), cases rose by 14.5 percent from 426 on Sunday to 488.

Overall, statewide cases are nearing the 3,000-th mark. So far, there are 2,878 cases, a number that rested at around 1,000 cases just a week ago.

Arlington has the second-most number cases (203), followed by Loudoun County (188).

In the state, 51 people have died as a result of the respiratory illness, five of which occurred in the county.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now encouraging residents to wear face masks in order to prevent and slow community transmission.

Herndon Police Department officers are now wearing surgical masks and non-medical face coverings in public. The change, which went into effect over the weekend, is intended to protect officers and the community.

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