To the Fairfax County Community,
Starting Friday, March 27, at 5 pm, Fairfax County will close all government buildings and facilities to the public, until further notice. The County government remains open for business online, via phone, and by mail. A full list of services that can be done online and by phone is here. This action was needed to protect County employees who continue to work to ensure services for the community.
I also received an update from Inova: they are ramping up their evaluations and testing. Read more below.
Additionally, the Board met today in an abbreviated and socially distanced meeting. Below, I will detail Board actions that relate to COVID-19. Tomorrow you can expect the return of the McKay Messenger for an overview of other Board action.
Finally, don’t forget to take a look at my new webpage that will serve as a one stop shop for information on County updates and resources. I will continue to send newer developments here. If you have a friend who would like to sign up for this newsletter, they can do so here.
See below for the full March 24 edition:
A note from Inova
Starting Wednesday, March 25, Inova Urgent Care (UCC) locations at Dulles South, North Arlington, and Tysons will staff Respiratory Illness Clinics to evaluate all patients with respiratory illness symptoms.
The three clinics will also be able to collect samples for COVID-19 testing via physician ordered vehicle-side appointments.
Before visiting any Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic, take the following steps:
Contact your regular physician for evaluation. For assistance with recommendations, to arrange for a physician appointment, or if you do not have a primary care physician, call 1-855-IMG-DOCS.
Your regular physician can evaluate your symptoms to determine if testing is needed based on COVID-19 testing criteria and provide a testing order, or refer you to the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic for evaluation.
Upon arrival at the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic, a clinician will greet the patient at their vehicle to collect samples for a physician-ordered test, or escort the patient into the respiratory clinic for evaluation.
For patients who undergo COVID-19 testing, a UCC nurse will contact those whose results are negative. For patients with positive results, a UCC nurse will coordinate with the patient’s regular physician for notification and further instructions. Patients who are tested can expect results in roughly 4-7 days.
Read more on Inova’s response to COVID-19 here.
Today’s Board Meeting
There were two County actions taken in relation to COVID-19:
The Board approved an electronic meeting policy.
Why? Virginia law primarily requires public bodies to meet in person except under certain conditions. Before the public body can meet electronically, they must vote on an electronic communication policy. Even with this however, the law also requires a quorum of the public body to be together in a physical location. Another measure had to be voted on that provides a method for the Board to meet if it is unsafe to do so in person.
2. The Board extended deadlines for Personal Property Taxes and Real Estate Taxes.
What and when? Two resolutions were passed.
The filing deadline for Personal Property Taxes for both individuals and businesses was extended to June 1.
The deadline to pay the first half of Real Estate taxes was extended to August 28.
Why? The County is looking for ways to be flexible to accommodate residents and businesses in this time of need. As this situation evolves, we will continue to evaluate what the County is able to adjust, while still maintaining public services.
Fairfax County Public Schools
Per Governor Northam, all Virginia K-12 schools will be closed for the remainder of the academic year.
All FCPS extracurricular programs, athletic programs, and community use activities are canceled during that same period.
The Virginia Department of Education will issue guidance on continuity of learning, as well as graduation requirements for 12th grade students.
For more information on FCPS’s response to coronavirus click here.
FCPS is continuing to offer grab and go food distribution sites and meal delivery along some bus routes. Details on locations and times are available here.
Non-FCPS related childcare facilities may remain open, with guidance here.
Mass Gatherings, Community Events:
Per Governor Northam, as of 11:59 pm, Tuesday, March 24 until April 24, all gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
This does not include gatherings that involve the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services (see below); operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.
Fairfax County Parks
All Fairfax County Park Authority parks and amenities will be closed to the public until further notice, per Governor Northam’s closure of recreational facilities.
Park Authority closures include parking lots, athletic fields, sport courts, restrooms, nature centers, visitor centers, golf courses, historic sites, picnic areas, playgrounds, amusements, boat launches, skate parks, off-leash dog areas, outdoor fitness equipment, and any areas for open recreation.
Trails will remain open.
Although not under Fairfax control it is worth noting that NOVA Park trails like the W&OD Trail are open, with park offices closed.
Essential businesses as defined by the Governor may remain open, while adhering as much as possible to social distancing orders and enhanced sanitizing practices.
If not included in this list, businesses must adhere to a 10-patron limit, social distancing orders, and enhanced sanitizing practices. If this is not possible, the business must close.
Dining and On-Site Alcohol Establishments
Per Governor Northam, the closure of all dining and congregation areas in restaurants, bars, and farmers markets will be effective at 11:59 pm, Tuesday, March 24 until April 24.
Restaurants may continue delivery and carry-out options.
Recreation and Entertainment Businesses
Per Governor Northam, businesses ranging from theaters, fitness centers, beauty salons, racetracks, and bowling alleys are considered non-essential and must close at 11:59 pm, Tuesday, March 24 until April 24.
A full list is here.
Fairfax Connector Services have not changed at this time, however due to decreased ridership, services will be reduced in the next week to ten days.
Customers are now required to enter and exit the bus using the rear doors. This does not apply to customers in need of the wheelchair ramp.
Fare collection will be temporarily suspended.
Metro has significantly reduced its service.
Metro has closed a total of 19 stations until further notice beginning on Thursday, March 26 due to low ridership and to conserve critical cleaning supplies.
The most up-to-date service information is here.
Common health questions:
Not every case of coronavirus has symptoms, but those that do may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
Shortness of breath
The CDC recommends that only people who have symptoms of COVID-19 wear face masks.
Continue to follow the health guidelines:
Wash your hands
Cough and sneeze into your sleeve
Don’t touch your face
Fairfax County Health Department
To view the number of cases in Fairfax County this page is updated at noon daily.
Sign up for text message alerts: text FFXCOVID to 888777
Call the Health Department from 9:30 am – 9 pm weekdays and 9:30 am – 5 pm on weekends: 703-267-3511
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This account will be staffed Monday through Friday, 8 am – 8 pm.
Inova has a helpful FAQ.
As we have more information to share, my office and Fairfax County Government will continue to update residents.
Thank you for your support and patience as we work to manage this challenging, complex, and rapidly evolving situation.
Jeffrey C. McKay