Community transmission, or "community spread," is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as a "spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown." (News release.)
In plain terms, some cases of COVID-19 infection cannot be traced to a source. The virus is in our community, it is no longer in isolated cases.
Individuals are urged to wash hands frequently; stay home when sick; avoid close contact with those who are sick; cover coughs and sneezes; maintain at least six feet of personal space whenever possible; avoid crowded areas and non-essential travel if you are over age 65 or have a chronic medical condition; and follow local government guidance.
City Actions & Key News
All City and Public School playgrounds are closed. Due to the recently announced "community spread" of the virus, is not safe to play on playgrounds due to community spread of COVID-19. The equipment is not cleaned, and the virus can stay on certain surfaces for up to three days. (Source: National Institutes of Health). Also, every person should stay at least 6 feet away from others, and this can be difficult for children and teens.
All City parks remain open. Parks offer sunlight, solace, and a break from social and indoor isolation. We strongly urge all park visitors to keep their hands clean, avoid touching their faces, and maintain a safe social distance of six feet from others.
Virtual Town Hall with the Fairfax Health Department, City Government, and Schools
We will hold a virtual town hall meeting at 7:30 p.m. this coming Monday, March 23 that will be available online and on Falls Church Community Television (FCCTV: Cox 11, RCN 2, Verizon 35). You can submit your question now to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Restaurant and Grocery Store List in City Website
Launched moments ago is a list of City restaurants who are offering "to go" service, as well as hours of the City's grocery stores. See the information here, and subscribe to receive emails when the lists are updated.
New City Services Information Line: 703-248-5200
The City is staffing a new information line about public services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The line will be answered Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 5pm.
Farmers Market Suspended This Saturday; Stay Tuned for Decision about Future Saturdays
The City is suspending the Farmers Market this weekend, Saturday, March 21. The City is awaiting further guidance from the Commonwealth regarding mass gatherings and food sources. Safety is the City’s number one priority, and we will notify the public as soon as a decision is made about the March 28 and future markets.
Question of the Day
What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and you are concerned you’ve been exposed, you should call your doctor.
Your doctor will evaluate your health and determine if you need testing. The Health Department is NOT offering COVID-19 testing as we are not a primary health care service. DO NOT go to your doctor’s office unannounced. Very specific infection control protocols must be in place prior to your arrival. And, if your doctor facilitates a test for you at a lab or hospital, you must follow their directions specifically so that infection control protocol is appropriate.
If your health care provider declines to test you for COVID-19, it may be because they don’t believe testing is warranted in your situation based on their best clinical judgment.
Your health care provider may also decline testing because they do not have the materials to do such testing in the office. In that case, ask your provider if they can refer you to one of their affiliated health care facilities where they will complete an assessment and you may be tested.
If you are sick with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath) and either have a positive lab test or have been directed by your health care provider to isolate at home, please continue self-isolation at home until:
At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared AND
You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (three full days with no fever and no use of medicine to reduce fever) AND
Other symptoms have gone away or improved
You should NOT go to any emergency room unless it is an emergency, for example, you are having difficulty breathing. If you need to go to the ER, and you have symptoms plus a known exposure, you must call ahead to ensure proper infection control protocols are in place prior to your arrival.
As commercial labs provide more test supplies, and additional laboratories provide testing, these challenges are likely to decrease. In the meantime, we will continue to perform the critical role of reducing the spread of infection in high-risk settings such as facilities for older adults, to provide support and guidance to the health care community, and to facilitate planning and implementation of mitigation strategies that will reduce the impact of the pandemic in the community.
The health department will also continue to approve testing to be done at the Virginia Department of Health laboratory based on criteria established by VDH that is designed to identify COVID-19 among individuals who have severe infections or who pose a particular risk to public.
CORRECTION: Core Service Counters Open 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday
The City Government is operational, but only core services offered at City Hall: Building Permits, Treasurer, Commissioner of the Revenue, and Housing & Human Services. The majority of City Hall is closed to public. (The incorrect start time was reported in yesterday's Daily Update.)
Online payments for personal property tax bills, real estate tax bills, parking tickets, general bills for special trash pick-up and false alarm fees, FCCPS tuition payments, and more: www.fallschurchva.gov/Pay.
The Arlington County and City of Falls Church General District Court has postponed all non-jailable traffic cases through March 31. Criminal trials and preliminary hearings are now status hearings. Subpoenaed witnesses are released. Arraignments and bond motions will be heard. Call the Clerk’s Office at (703) 248-5096 for your new court date or more information.
The Arlington County and City of Falls Church Circuit Court has postponed all jury trials and released witnesses from subpoenas through March 31. Other hearings and sentencing dockets are also postponed. Arraignments and bond motions will still be heard. More here.
All City employees who are able to work from home are doing so. A number of employees have been redeployed to help staff the City's Public Information Line, 703-248-5200, and help with other communication and information efforts.
City Events and Meetings
CANCELLED FOR ONE DAY: Farmers Market on Saturday, March 21. City will determine if the market can continue with a new structure that promotes social distancing and not hosting groups of 10 or more.
CANCELLED: The Budget Town Hall scheduled for Sunday, March 22.
CANCELLED: The City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, March 23.
NEW: Virtual Town Hall with Fairfax Health, City Government, and City Schools: Monday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. It will be available online and on Falls Church Community Television (FCCTV: Cox 11, RCN 2, Verizon 35) . Stay tuned for more details. You can submit your question now to email@example.com.
The City posted a Public Meeting & Gathering Guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City is following this guidance for its events and encourages community groups and businesses to do the same.
Next steps for the City's Proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Budget. This time of year is usually full of public budget meetings. The process is paused as City staff find best practices for how to continue.
How City employees are "Doing Their Part" by teleworking, staying at least 6 feet away from others, and jumping in to emergency roles, all while delivering core services!
Information and resources for City businesses affected by COVID-19 shutdowns.
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The City of Falls Church is committed to the letter and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This document will be made available in alternate format upon request. Call 703-248-5003 (TTY 711).