Where to Get COVID-19
On Nov 22 Arlington’s COVID-19 positive test rate was 7.1% (A positive test rate above 5 is considered high). The infection rate was 1.22 (An infection rate above 1.1 is considered high).
County public health staff interviewed 539 residents diagnosed with COVID-19, identifying sites outside of their homes where they may have been exposed:
48% going to work
38% going to one or more restaurants
17% traveling out of the DMV area
12% going to a gathering (e.g., wedding, funeral, or party)
7% going to a gym
To protect against COVID-19 spread, everyone should avoid close contact with people who do not live in their household, wear a mask (cloth face covering), practice social distancing, and frequently and properly wash hands. News Release
Beware of phone calls claiming to be the “Arlington Sheriff’s Department” threatening your arrest and demanding immediate posting of a cash bond using cash cards. It is, of course, a scam. ACPD Crime Prevention and Safety Programs webpage.
Arlington COVID Positivity Above 5%
The World Health Organization advised that positivity rates should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days before reopening. Arlington’s 7-day moving-average positivity rate is now 6.8%. It has been above 5% since Nov 7. Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Testing webpage
Coronavirus Restrictions Tightened
New guidelines go into effect at 12:01 AM, Mon, Nov 16. Similar restrictions were announced in Maryland earlier this week. D.C. has not announced new restrictions. In Virginia:
● All public & private in-person gatherings limited to 25
● Restaurants & bars must close by midnight
● Restaurants & bars must not serve or sell alcohol after 10PM
● Prohibited possessing alcoholic beverages at a restaurant or bar after 10PM
● Current restrictions already ban bar-style seating in restaurants
● Failing to wear a mask & socially distance made a Class 1 misdemeanor
● Businesses not practicing enhanced cleaning made a Class 1 misdemeanor
● Age for mask wearing in public places lowered to 5 VDH News Release
APS Staff Worried About Unsafe School Reopenings
APS, following its “Level One” plan, has reopened 33 schools for students with disabilities. While teachers remain remote, classroom assistants are helping students within school buildings. Some classroom assistants accuse APS of not following its safety protocols. According to the Arlington Education Association needed improvements include:
● Testing every room for adequate air transfers
● Providing information related to cases, hospitalizations and deaths
● Ensuring staff can stay distant while students eat
● Providing staff with four N95 masks a week.
APS responded that these concerns have or will be addressed. Story at ARLnow
Nov 9: On average, each infected person in Arlington spreads infection to 1.22 others. A rate above 1.1 is considered high. Arlington’s rate has fluctuated above and below 1.1 since early Oct. Like the rest of the country it now looks to be on the rise. COVID Act Now
Two Catholic Schools Halt In-Person Class
Positive COVID-19 tests at Bishop O’Connell High School and St. Thomas More Cathedral School have forced a temporary halt to in-person classes.
● St. Thomas More Cathedral School hopes to resume in-person classes Nov 17.
● Bishop O’Connell High School hopes to resume in-person classes Dec 1. Story at ARLnow
CDC: Safety While Shopping The primary way to contract coronavirus is via person-to-person contact.
Aside from the usual…
● Disinfect the shopping cart usiing disinfecting wipes
● Use touchless payment
● If you handle money, a card, or keypad, use hand sanitizer immediately after
● When you get home wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
● After unpacking groceries wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds Getting Gas
● Use disinfecting wipes on handles and buttons before you touch them
● After fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
● When you get home wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water CDC Guidelines
APS Return-to-School On Hold UPDATE
Superintendent Durán announced that the planned “Level 2” return for younger and technical education students will be delayed until 2021 due to the increase in local coronavirus cases. However, the “Level 1” return for students with disabilities will proceed as planned on Wednesday Nov 4. Nov 3 Superintendent’s Letter to Parents
The Arlington Public Schools Superintendent announced that: “health and safety metrics are not where they need to be to proceed with Level 2, Phase 1 Return on Nov. 12 for PreK, Kindergarten, and Career & Technical Education (CTE) students… Compared to Level 1 [for students with disabilities], Level 2 brings a significantly larger group of staff and students into our buildings and classrooms, and that is why the metrics are set to a more rigorous standard… To begin phasing in Level 2 students, we need to see further improvement in the metrics.” Superintendent’s Letter to ParentsAPS COVID-19 Dashboard
APS Announces Return to School Timeline
APS is tentatively planning to bring students back to in-school instruction. If community health conditions worsen, APS, in consultation with the Arlington County Public Health Department, will pause at the current level, reverse, or suspend all in-person instruction. Concerned parents may opt out of in-school instruction
● Students with disabilities in mid-to-late October
● PreK-3, technical education and English learner students back in early-to-mid November
● All other students in early December for two days per week APS Transition Plan APS COVID-18 Dashboard
Hit & Run 10th & Hudson
A pedestrian in the crosswalk at 10th & Hudson was hit by a sedan that did not stop. Reported in NextdoorAs of July 1st 2020 drivers failing to stop, not just yield, for pedestrians in all crosswalks, not just in their lane, are subject to a $500 fine in Virginia. NBC4
Vision Zero Survey & Virtual Meeting
Vision Zero promotes safer streets: fewer injuries, more healthful travel, and ultimately, a safer transportation network that benefits our daily quality of life. The nationally-recognized Vision Zero Network defines Vision Zero as, “a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.”
Vision Zero Survey
Share your experiences when walking, biking, rolling, or driving in Arlington.
SURVEY: LV Flu Shot Clinic Possible Holding a flu shot clinic at the Lyon Village Community House is being explored to see if there is sufficient interest. The clinic would be run by CVS and open to all residents age 4 and above. This would help:
● Residents wishing to avoid high-traffic pharmacies and doctor offices.
● Families with kids wishing to get the entire family vaccinated together.
Participants will be responsible for any costs so should contact their health insurance provider to ensure a CVS-administered flu shot is covered.
If there is enough interest, the clinic will be held as soon as possible (likely mid-Oct). Survey participants will get email with details and sign-up information.
If interested, please fill out a short survey before 8 PM on Sat, Sept 26.
Major Retailers Offering Flu Shots In 2020 CVS/Target: Pharmacy walk-ins welcome. Make MinuteClinic appointment online. Rite-Aid: No appointment necessary. Safeway: No appointment necessary (can submit paperwork in advance online). Walgreens: Walk-ins welcome or make appointment online. Story at AARP
County Board Kills Anti-COVID Ordinance
At the County Board’s Sept 15 Recessed Meeting, the Board voted 4 to 1 to let the Emergency Ordinance expire at the end of Sept. Voting to kill the ordinance were Christian Dorsey, Katie Cristol, Matt de Ferranti & Takis Karantonis. Only Board Chair Libby Garvey (up for re-election this Nov) voted in favor of the ordinance.
The ordinance sought to to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus by keeping large groups of people from gathering without appropriate distancing on public sidewalks and streets in front of bars and nightclubs where this has been a problem. Violators could face a fine of up to $100.
Christian Dorsey said that Arlington police determined that it was impractical to cite hundreds of violators a night and have not issued a single citation. The County Staff presentation reported that “Groups of people congregating increases risk of COVID-19 virus spread” and “Efforts to spread out long lines of patrons by officers and restaurant security have been met with defiance, confrontation, and hostility.” Most of the area where the ordinance applied was within Lyon Village. The LVCA was not consulted or given prior notice of this turnabout. News Release County Staff Presentation Letters Opposing the Ordinance
Arlington Bans Firearms in County Buildings, Parks & Special Events
The restrictions will apply where the County has posted notice at entrances to buildings, parks, recreation and community centers, and at entrances to events. News Release
Eating At Restaurants Doubles Likelihood of COVID
A CDC study found adults with COVID-19 were twice as likely to have eaten at restaurants. The study found that both positive and negative cases went to gyms, hair salons, shops and in-home group gatherings at about the same rate, but COVID positive individuals were about twice as likely to report dining at restaurants within 14-days before feeling sick. NPR
Plan to Get Your Flu Shot!
September and October are good times to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue, even in January or later. CDC FAQ
Restaurant Inspections Now Virtual
A curious note appears on many restaurant inspections conducted by the Arlington County Public Health Department (ACPHD). “ACPHD conducted this inspection virtually. Any violations cited may not be an exhaustive list of potential violations at the food establishment. As owner/operator of … please remember you are responsible for compliance with the Virginia Food Regulations.” Arlington Restaurant Inspection Website
“As a matter of state policy, local health inspectors now avoid in-person inspections of restaurants whenever possible.” The Virginian-Pilot explains. “In one of the ironies that has come to characterize life during the pandemic, the process of certifying safety isn’t as safe as it used to be. The traditional process involves surprise visits while restaurants are in operation, bringing inspectors into close contact with restaurant staff.” The Virginian-Pilot
Bad News for Politicians
Talking less, more quietly, or not at all reduces the risk of viral transmission by a degree comparable to properly wearing a mask. “The truth is that if everybody stopped talking for a month or two, the pandemic would probably die off,” Professor Jose L. Jimenez said.
Labor Day Street Festival Cancelled
The Arlington Labor Day Weekend Festival of the Arts, that was to be held in Clarendon, has been cancelled due to an “unforeseen issue with local authorities is preventing the show from taking place.” The cancellation occurred prior to the results of LVCA’s quick poll being communicated to the County. Kudos to the County for figuring this out on its own. Thank you to all 261 LV residents who responded to the poll.
Arlington COVID-19 Cases Trending Up
Despite peaks and valleys the overall trend in new cases in Arlington has been up since late June. Most cases are among those in the 18-29 age range. Arlington Public Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese reported during a County Board meeting: “You look at the overall picture and this has not being going in the right way… We’ve been seeing emergency room visits also going up for COVID-like illness,” The timing of the uptrend roughly coincides with the lifting of state-imposed restrictions, as Virginia entered Phase 2 and the current Phase 3 of its reopening. ARLnow Get latest data at COVID Act Now, Arlington Page
Libraries Will Remain Closed
Library staff shares Arlington’s belief that the Library is a cornerstone of our community and acknowledges the hardship it causes to many when its physical Library spaces are inaccessible. However, because COVID-19 cases remain above target thresholds and Arlington continues to experience community spread the library and its branches will remain closed. Library staff believes it is of paramount importance to protect the safety of Library patrons and staff, and that slowing community spread of the COVID-19 virus is a community-wide effort. The status of the library will be reevaluated in October.
Physical Distancing Signage Up, Warnings Begin Fri, Aug 28 CORRECTION: “Enforcement” has been changed to “warnings”
As part of the County’s efforts to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, the County Board adopted an emergency ordinance prohibiting groups of more than 3 people from congregating and requiring pedestrians to maintain at least 6 feet of physical separation from others on posted streets and sidewalks.
Following several weeks of public education, the County has installed physical distancing ordinance signage and will begin issuing warnings on Fri, Aug 28. The focus will be on nighttime hours of 8 PM to 2 AM. A date for actual enforcement of the ordinance was not announced.
There is community-wide transmission of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region, including Arlington. Groups of people congregating increases the risk of spread of the virus. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another and staying for a period of time. News Release
County Board Abruptly Cancels Meeting on COVID & Public Health
This morning the County Board announced a virtual public meeting on Thu, Aug 27, to consider adoption, on an emergency basis, of an ordinance concerning the closing hours of operation for bars and restaurants. Before the sun went down the meeting was cancelled. News Release