On March 21, The Fairfax County Health Department reported its first COVID-19-related death of a hospitalized patient who previously tested positive for the virus.
The Fairfax County Health Department said the patient was a male in his 60s who acquired COVID-19 through contact with a previously reported case. The cause of death was respiratory failure as a result of COVID-19.
This is the third death attributed to COVID-19 in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health reported two deaths earlier in the week in the Peninsula Health District.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the first death due to coronavirus in Fairfax County,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay in a newsletter. “My thoughts are with the resident's family and those who knew him. This is a difficult time for everyone. You don't have to be sick or know someone who is sick to be grieving.The health of Fairfax County residents is my number one priority and we are doing everything we can to contain this virus. But it is the responsibility of every person, to keep each other safe and healthy.”
McKay added that county health officials, first responders, board supervisors, and county staff are working closely with the community to keep everyone informed. "There is a great amount of misinformation, but having the best information and following the guidelines of our health departments is essential," he said.
“We recognize that there are concerns about the national shortage of tests available for residents. Fairfax County is working with our trusted community partner, Inova, to maximize the health care services available for our community during the evolving COVID-19 situation,”McKay added. “We collectively have an enormous responsibility to ensure our community remains prepared during this COVID-19 pandemic. We are working closely with our regional health care partners to accommodate additional capacity, should the need arise.”
Inova has contracted with multiple commercial labs to provide increased testing to patients when they meet the testing criteria. They are also pursuing additional options to provide in house testing capabilities in the coming weeks, according to McKay.
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. If symptoms develop, please contact your health care provider and describe the situation.
“We are saddened by the first confirmed death of a Fairfax County resident due to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his loved ones,” said Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Director of Health at Fairfax County Health Department. “The health of our residents is our top priority and we ask that everyone do their part to slow the spread of the virus in our community: practice social distancing, wash your hands, and cover coughs and sneezes.”
To lower the risk of transmission, the Health Department recommends the following:
- 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 persons of any age with underlying health conditions.
- Avoid travel to all areas where there are outbreaks of COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home except to get medical care.
- Those with high risk factors and who have fever or new or worsening cough, should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick. Call ahead to let them know of your symptoms.
Follow these information resources on COVID-19:
- Call the Fairfax County Health Department Call Center at 703-267-3511 with Coronavirus questions; open 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
- Text FFXCOVID to 888777 to receive updates from Fairfax County about COVID-19.
- Email questions or concerns to email@example.com. This email account will be staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 8 p.m.
- Visit a web portal for coronavirus that serves as a one-stop online resource for information.
- Learn more about COVID-19 on the Health Department Coronavirus (COVID-19) Webpage or FAQ page.
- Follow the Fairfax County Government Facebook Page and Health Department Facebook Page.
- Follow @fairfaxcounty and @fairfaxhealth on Twitter.
- The Fairfax Health District includes Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, and the towns of Vienna and Herndon.
Here are some additional guidelines and resources available to Fairfax County residents during this critical time:
Domestic Violence Services
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please call the County's 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 703-360-7273.
For questions on resources and information you can call the Domestic Violence Action Center: 703-246-4573.
Shelters: Artemis House is still accepting new residents. Call: 703-435-4960.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers support for those experiencing a suicide crisis or emotional distress: 1-800-273-8255.
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board offers a number of mental health services:
A suicide prevention text line in Fairfax: text "CONNECT" to 855-11 and a volunteer will respond within minutes. You can also call 703-527-4077, 24/7.
If it is not an emergency situation, but you are in need of mental health services, call Entry & Referral Services Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, at 703-383-8500, TTY 711. Staff can take calls in English and Spanish and can access interpreters for other languages.
Telehealth services for therapy, counseling, case management, and prescribing are also available. Contact CSB for services.
Coordinated Services Planning provides access and referrals to both government and community-based resources for assistance with, but not limited to: food, shelter, employment, financial assistance, and healthcare.
Call: 703-222-0880, TTY 711
Monday-Friday, 8 am-4:30 pm
The Fairfax County Office for Children maintains an up-to-date online child care search that lists all child care centers and family child care homes that are licensed or regulated in the County. If you need support for finding child care in your neighborhood, visit Child Care Assistance and Referral. Child care financial assistance may be available.
If you are in need of financial counseling, the Financial Empowerment Center is supported by Fairfax County.
How you can help:
There is a national shortage of blood donations, Inova and the American Red Cross are asking healthy individuals to donate.
The Fairfax County Neighbor-to-Neighbor program helps organize volunteer opportunities. Find out how your neighborhood community, HOA, or civic association can get involved: email N2N@fairfaxcounty.gov or call 703-246-8962, TTY 711.
Residents, businesses, and organizations who want to help fill community needs can make donations to local organizations. An updated list of community-based resources for food assistance and donations can again be found at:
- FCPS's list of community-based resources.
- Volunteer Fairfax and Health and Human Services both maintain searches with organizations that need donations and volunteers.
- You can also make monetary contributions and grocery store gift card donations to community-based partners.
Healthcare for Medicaid members
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is working to increase access to healthcare for Virginia's Medicaid members and low-income households by:
- Eliminating all co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS).
- Ensuring current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
- Permitting Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions,
- Waiving pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services, and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
- Expanding access to telehealth services.
The Sheriff's Office is now able to suspend new eviction orders and the execution of any pending evictions through April 6.
It has also notified the court that it may extend the delay in pending evictions for a longer period.
For small businesses in need of relief, we have created a web page that is continuously being updated. There is information on taxes, loans (also below), and other guidance.
Businesses can apply for emergency loans from the Small Business Administration.
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also request to defer the payment of state sales tax due March 20, 2020, for 30 days. When granted, businesses will be able to file no later than April 20, 2020 with a waiver of any penalties.
You can continue to support small businesses in a number of ways. For example: ordering take-out, maintaining your membership for small gyms and fitness studios, or declining refunded tickets for art performances run by non-profits.
Fairfax County Animal Shelter
The Animal Shelter is still open and facilitating pet adoptions.
They have made a few changes to their services however. For example, they are not accepting supply drop-offs, but have options for remote donations.
Fairfax County Government
Fairfax County officials strongly encourage residents to conduct County business online if possible.
All County agencies have been directed to identify the core functions that must be continued to be carried out.
Fairfax County Parks, Libraries, Community Facilities, Senior Centers, and Adult Day Health Care Centers
Fairfax County parks (indoor), libraries, and community facilities are closed until further notice.
This includes: recreation, nature, community, resource and teen centers, golf courses, historic sites, athletic fields, and picnic shelters.
Dog parks and trails remain open.
All Fairfax County Senior Centers and Adult Day Health Care Centers are closed until further notice.
SACC will not be operating until further notice.
Fairfax County Public Schools
All FCPS school buildings are closed until further notice.
All FCPS administrative offices are closed until further notice.
Only essential personnel as defined by FCPS will be asked to report to work until further notice. All other employees will work remotely.
All DMV offices and mobile sites are closed, but online services will remain available.
For those who cannot renew online, or whose license or registration expires before May 15, the DMV will grant a 60-day extension.
Governor Northam has directed the Virginia Department of State Police to suspend the enforcement of Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections until July 31.
Affected workers and employers
The Virginia Employment Commission will waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive unemployment benefits as soon as possible.
Virginia is enhancing eligibility for unemployment and allowing for fewer restrictions to receive unemployment insurance. They recommend that everyone apply if you think you could be eligible because federal rules on eligibility change.
Employers who slow or cease operations will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits.
Child care services guidelines
The Virginia Department of Social Services has released guidelines recommending classroom child care settings should limit capacity to 10 individuals per room to include staff.
Child care services should encourage families to remain home to care for their children if at all possible.
The Supreme Court of Virginia has declared a judicial emergency.
All non-essential state court proceedings are suspended through April 6, 2020.
Mass Gatherings, Community Events:
Virginians should avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people, per the Governor. This does not include normal operations at essential services such as manufacturers, distribution centers, airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, grocery stores, or pharmacies.
Fairfax County now recommends cancelling public events with 10 or more people.
For events of any size (public or private), organizers and participants each have a responsibility to reduce the chance of disease transmission. They should also consider the risks and benefits of executing and attending the event.
Restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters
Fairfax County cannot tell a private business how to operate, change its hours, or force it to close.
Per Governor Northam, all restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters are mandated to significantly reduce their capacity to 10 patrons, or close.
Restaurants are encouraged to continue carry-out and takeaway options.
Per President Donald Trump, the deadline to file federal taxes has been moved to July 15.
The filing deadline for Virginia income tax remains the same, however the due date was extended to June 1, 2020. Please note that interest will still accrue, so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadlines should do so.
The deadline for seniors and people with disabilities to apply for County tax relief has been postponed to June 1.
The following programs have been extended:
- Real Estate Tax Relief for the elderly (65+)
- Tax Relief for People with disabilities
- Personal Property or “Car Tax” Relief
There have been no changes to Fairfax Connector services.
Metro has made several significiant changes to its service this weekend.
WMATA asks that customers do not use Metro unless absolutely necessary.
The remaining community meetings for the 2020 Paving and Restriping Program scheduled for March 2020 have been cancelled. Residents can view the meeting presentations online for each district and give feedback through April 14.
Fairfax County officials say they have reached out to area utility companies to assure that they are working to protect those at risk of utility disconnection. They say they have received confirmations from:
- Verizon, Comcast, and Cox, have pledged to keep customers connected for the next 60 days and not terminate services to any residential customer or small business that are unable to pay their bills.
- Cox is also offering a low-income internet tier with no annual contract and relaxing data usage overage charges for all tiers.
- Dominion Energy suspended service disconnections. If your service was previously shut off for nonpayment, they are reconnecting residential customers.
- Washington Gas will be waiving late fees and suspending disconnections.
- NOVEC is suspending all electric service disconnections and associated penalty fees for 60 days.