(Updated at 2 p.m.) Two locals have died after contracting COVID-19, the first reported deaths from the disease in Arlington.
Arlington County announced the deaths Sunday afternoon. The victims were older and had “chronic medical conditions,” the county said.
“The first patient was a 72-year-old with chronic medical conditions, who had been ill with COVID-19 for a few weeks,” the county said in a press release. “The second was a 60-year-old with chronic medical conditions, identified with COVID-19 this past week. The close contacts of both patients have been identified.”
“We are saddened by the deaths of two Arlington County residents related to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to their loved ones,” Arlington Health District Director Dr. Reuben Varghese said in a statement. “These deaths, along with the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases we are seeing in the region, are a reminder that we all must be vigilant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The health of our residents is our top priority and we know our residents and our community share that priority. We ask that everyone do their part to prevent germ spread: practice social distancing, wash your hands, and cover your coughs and sneezes.”
As of Sunday, there were 84 known cases of COVID-19 in Arlington, up from 26 seven days earlier. Statewide, there have been 890 reported cases, 112 hospitalizations, 22 deaths, and 10,609 people tested, according to the Virginia Dept. of Health.
Also today, the Fairfax Health District — which includes Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church and towns within the county — reported 188 positive cases, including 32 new cases, and two deaths. As of Saturday, the District of Columbia has reported 342 positive cases and five deaths.
To slow the spread of the virus, Arlington County is advising residents to stay at home, frequently and thoroughly wash one’s hands, and avoid close contact with others. More from the county press release:
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
To decrease the potential for the virus to spread, the Arlington Health District recommends:
- Avoid non-essential travel and public gatherings, especially if you are an individual who is at increased risk for severe illness, including pregnant women, older adults and person of any age with underlying health conditions.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Immediately wash your hands if you used a tissue.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces with an EPA approved agent effective against human coronaviruses and flu.
- Practice social distancing by staying six feet or more away from others.
- If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home. If you need medical care, call your healthcare provider prior to going to their office. If it is an emergency, as always, call 911 immediately.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Arlington continues to rise.
An additional dozen cases were reported Saturday, bringing the total known cases in the county to 75. The neighboring jurisdiction of Fairfax County, meanwhile, now has more than twice the number of cases as Arlington, with 156 coronavirus cases reported.
The new data from the Virginia Dept. of Health includes 739 cases statewide, 99 hospitalization, 17 deaths and 9,166 people tested. The first case in the state was announced on March 7.
State officials are continuing to remind residents to stay at home to reduce the risk of contracting the deadly disease. Other tips from Arlington County can be found here.
— VDEM (@VDEM) March 27, 2020
A chart showing when symptoms began for COVID-19 cases in Virginia currently shows a peak on March 17. The CDC says symptoms can appear 2-14 days after initial exposure.
It’s a beautiful end to a busy but — if we’re going to be honest — pretty nerve-wracking work week, with hospitals filling and economic calamity hanging in the balance.
Fortunately, with regard to the latter, temporary relief is on the way for people and small businesses in the form of a newly-passed $2 trillion stimulus package. With continued social distancing measures, hopefully the worst of the medical side of the coronavirus crisis will be over in weeks and not months.
Here are the most-read ARLnow articles of the past five days:
- Another Jump in Coronavirus Cases in Arlington, Fairfax County (March 25)
- List: Arlington Restaurants That Are Offering Delivery or Takeout
- Bracket Room in Clarendon is Closing for Good
- Here’s What Happens When There’s a Coronavirus Case in an Apartment Building
- Governor Announces New Closure Orders for Schools, Businesses
- Arlington Grapples with Community Transmission of Coronavirus
- Athletic Fields, Dog Parks, Playgrounds Closing in Arlington
- El Pollo Rico Now Delivering for the First Time
Feel free to discuss those stories and anything else of local interest in the comments.
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The bill is expected to be signed by President Trump Friday evening.
Beyer released the following statement after the bill was approved.
The only way we will get the economy going again is by first containing the spread of the coronavirus. This bipartisan bill will help us do that by providing public health and economic resources to cities, states and hospitals, as well as those who are doing what experts are saying we all must – staying home to flatten the curve.
Workers who lose their jobs will have 100% of their wages replaced, including those who are self-employed or contractors and were — until now — previously ineligible for unemployment insurance. These same workers will also receive direct cash payments from the federal government, a progressive policy that I was among the first to push for. There’s also substantial support for small businesses that lose customers or are under state or local directives to close temporarily.
In addition, the Marshall Plan for hospitals will enable them to care for the rapidly rising number of coronavirus patients and buy the much needed medical supplies they’re running out of. In no country should healthcare workers have to make their own masks but that’s what’s happening right now at hospitals across America. I urge the President to help hospitals out soon by using the powers he has under the Defense Production Act.
As Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, I’ll continue to closely monitor how the economy is doing over the coming weeks. The American people will need sustained help from their government to weather this crisis, and Congress must take every action necessary to protect their health and prevent another Great Depression.
(The president did, as Beyer urged, reportedly invoke the Defense Production Act to force General Motors to start producing ventilators Friday afternoon.)
“Beyer was among the first in government to call for direct payments to support families,” a press release from Beyer’s office said. “He helped shape negotiations on the stimulus package as Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee and as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.”
The following Letter to the Editor was written by long-time Arlington resident John Seymour.
In a video panel discussion held this week with local Democratic leaders, several Northern Virginia members of the General Assembly were asked to select the piece of legislation passed this session of which they were most proud.
Del. Patrick Hope (D), six-term House of Delegates member representing much of Arlington County, did not choose one of the Democrats’ marquee accomplishments — expansion of voting rights, gun control measures, increased transportation funding, raise in the minimum wage, or even a Clean Energy Act which signaled a transformation in the energy sector. Instead, Delegate Hope picked a little known — but now seemingly prescient — bill intended solely to increase Virginia immunization rates.
Championed by Delegate Hope for years, the bill’s final vote was a close thing. In a deeply divided House and Senate, the bill passed on party lines with razor thin margins. One Republican Senator, a physician representing Henrico County, broke party ranks and voted for the bill. She reminded her GOP colleagues that “this is the 21st Century” and that the proposed legislation simply represented what the Commonwealth should be doing to protect its citizens from communicable diseases.
Delegate Hope echoed that conviction and also expressed his belief that the bill will expedite responses to the current coronavirus crisis and future pandemics, when and if vaccines become available. The bill is on the Governor Northam’s desk awaiting signature.
In earlier times, when our nation’s citizens displayed higher levels of trust in science and professional health expertise, the bill would have been viewed as unremarkable and commonsense. In a very few lines of text, the bill simply elevates science over politics. It gives the Virginia Department of Health the authority to align Virginia’s school immunization schedule with the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the nation’s preeminent health authority.
Under current law, in contrast, only illnesses identified and recommended by non-physicians– the Assembly itself — can be added to the Department of Health schedule. Unsurprisingly, no disease has been added since 2008. Republicans controlling both Houses blocked periodic efforts to add vaccines recommended by the CDC.
The immediate effect of the bill is to add several additional vaccinations — for rotavirus, hepatitis A, meningitis, and human papillomavirus (HPV) — to the Commonwealth’s vaccination schedule. Its long-term import is to introduce an evidence-based and scientifically rigorous process, free of partisan wrangling, for amending Virginia’s immunization schedule to address existing as well as new and emerging public health threats.
Although health groups overwhelmingly supported the bill, opposition to the bill was fierce. The bill was opposed by such groups as the National Vaccine Information Center, an organization criticized by national and international health organizations as a leading source of false and inflammatory anti-vaccine propaganda.
Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.
4925 Old Dominion Drive
6 BD/5 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Optime Realty
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.
3625 10th Street N. #401
2 BD/2 BA, 1 half bath condo
Agent: Re/Max Allegiance
Open: Sunday 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
This was supposed to be a column about beer this week.
Well, it’s always supposed to be about beer but this one was supposed to be about the Lager I just got at Arrowine from Únětický Pivovar in Únětice, Czech Republic.
The beer is stunning: a double-decoction mashed, open fermented, honey golden dream of a Lager featuring malts from the 500-year old Malthouse Kounice and hops from the Žatec region. My friends at B. United sent a pressure — and temperature-controlled tank over, brought it back, and kegged off of it quickly enough to get this unfiltered, unpasteurized gem to a few accounts all over the country — and Arrowine was fortunate enough to be one.
Not only that, but of 3,500L brought to the States, we got 60L worth in the form of a pair of 30L kegs.
Make no mistake, I’m enjoying the hell out of the beer. So are many of our clients at Arrowine (I don’t expect it to last much longer past the time this column is published). It just feels… wrong to focus on it, and it alone?
So: How are you?
We’re holding up okay. Every day is an adventure right now: new guidelines, new closings, new SOP, but we’re here. We’re making it work however we can. Every day we’re getting a little more dialed-in on how the shop’s going to run to get us to the other side of this. I’ve been bowled over by our clients.
I assume a couple of you are on here reading right now, so thank you thank you thank you for your support. Not only in terms of the business itself, but for how many of you have reached out just to ask how we’re doing. I’m not sure I can truly explain what that means to us.
Perhaps I don’t have to. We all have friends in the hospitality industry and have had to watch it be just wiped out by this seemingly overnight. There are so many bars, restaurants, and yes, breweries that are just hanging on for dear life right now and those are the ones that haven’t already folded.
There are dozens of people I know who are suddenly out of work, and many who are putting in Herculean efforts to keep their ship afloat. Over the coming — who knows, weeks, months? — I’m hoping to be able to bring you some of their stories, and let you know how you can support them.
For now, stay safe, and enjoy what you can when you can.
County Manager Mark Schwartz said at Tuesday’s County Board meeting that the Arlington is already seeing higher rates of people turning in census forms than at this time in the 2010 census. The rate currently sits at 27.4%.
“We went back and looked at 2010 and we’re doing better than we were doing in 2010,” Schwartz said. “I think part of that is because people are at home… It’s really good for where we are in the process.”
County officials are pushing census participation, the upshot of which is more representation in Congress and more federal assistance. County Board member Katie Cristol said that respondents should remember to “count their babies” in the census, noting that populations under five-years-old were the most underreported demographics in the last census.
Households can respond to the census online, by phone, or by mail until Aug. 14. Households should have recently received census mailers.
Schwartz said county officials are still hoping to set up mobile census assistances stations outside places like grocery stores and community centers once the pandemic concerns have died down.
Many of the traditional methods the county uses to encourage people to fill out the census, like pop-ups, have been canceled. The county government is still finding other ways to promote responding to the census.
“We’re including information about the census with food distribution that’s going on,” Schwartz said. “Several hundred tote bags have been given to AFAC as a way of emphasizing that.”
If you were curious about whether County Manager Mark Schwartz has a poem for the moment, you won’t be disappointed. He recited the following self-written verse at the meeting.
Covid has us all feeling frustration
What a great time to ensure our county’s enumeration
Take a minute or two to complete your census form
Perfect to do while social distancing is the norm
Just go to census.gov and complete all the questions
So Arlington can get our full representation
Schwartz’s full presentation is below.
Image via Arlington County
Sun & Moon is offering daily yoga classes, meditations and deep relaxations on YouTube for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
These classes are a gift of support as our community together adapts to the unique demands of the day. Sun & Moon very much appreciates (and in no way expects) any support in return to help cover staff and studio expenses during this difficult time.