VIDEO: Virtual Town Hall Meeting: COVID-19 Updates with Q&A
Click here for the full video (then click on "Agenda" to access skip-ahead bookmarks)
Click here to skip ahead to the presentation by the Fairfax County Health Department
Click here to skip ahead to the Question & Answer session
Mayor David Tarter, School Board Chairman Greg Anderson, City Manager Wyatt Shields, and School Superintendent Peter Noonan provided updates on the status of City and School operations and impacts on our community.
Colin Brody of the Fairfax County Health Department presented critical information about the virus, its history, how it is spread, its symptoms, the number of cases in our area, and the public health response.
Del. Marcus Simon and City Council Member David Snyder also gave remarks. A number of questions were addressed during the Q&A session of the event. Links are above. This video will be made available on YouTube and will be broadcast on FCCTV (Cox 11, RCN 2, Verizon 35).
Question of the Day
These questions and answers are summarized from the Virtual Town Hall.
What has been the Fairfax Health Department's response to the two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at The Kensington assisted living facility? (Video mark 01:21:26)
Upon learning about the possibility of the first case, Fairfax Health sent a "rapid response team" to The Kensington that included an epidemiologist, public health nurses, a data analyst, and a lab specialist. The team worked in earnest even before the lab results were returned. Right now, a public health nurse is present at The Kensington every day giving the facility with technical assistance, advising staff, collecting information, and ensuring safe practices.
Will self-test kits be available soon? (Video mark 01:25:16)
As of the evening of March 23, the FDA had some guidance that self-testing kits might be available within the week through private testing facilities. This would look something like a DNA test you might take at home, in that results are NOT instant, but you send a specimen to a lab for results in a matter of days or longer. Specimens at laboratories will be prioritized for those who are hospitalized.
Do those diagnosed with COVID-19 suffer from a loss of taste and/or smell? (Video mark 01:29:09)
Right now this is anecdotal. There have not been substantiated reports of it not has it yet been documented in a way that the common symptoms -- shortness of breath and coughing -- have been. It is possible, but someone who experiences a loss of taste or smell could also have another illness like the common cold.
How safe is it to order take-out food from restaurants? (Video mark 01:30:37)
According to the Fairfax Health Department, this is safe to do unless someone at the restaurant is obviously sick. The CDC has research that there is a low risk a consumer getting COVID-19 even from food shipped from infected areas.
Don't Flush Wipes, Towels, etc.!
Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down toilets. Wipes (even those marked “flushable”), paper towels, rags, and even, ideally, feminine hygiene products should NEVER be flushed. Doing so will result in damage and backups in personal sewer lines and homes as well as sewer blockages in main lines.
Solid Waste Collection Updates
The City’s curbside residential trash hauler has suspended curbside bulk item pickup for now. Regular Wednesday curbside trash, recycling, and yard waste collection services continue.
Restaurant, Grocery Store List on City Website with Special Hours for Senior Citizens
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. Some have special shopping hours for senior citizens. See the information here, and subscribe to receive emails when the lists are updated.
Fairfax Water Advises on Chlorine Smell, Sediment
Fairfax Water says customers might notice chlorine smell, sediment during their Annual Water Main Flushing Program March 23 through May 4. This is the normal course and not related to COVID-19. See full information here.
All City and Public School playgrounds are closed. It 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. Also, every person should stay at least 6 feet away from others, and this can be difficult for children and teens.
Stay Tuned for Decision about Future Farmers Market
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.
City Events and Meetings
The City posted a Public Meeting & Gathering Guidance on March 13 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.
The City is reviewing Governor Northam's announcements from Monday, March 23. The City will soon advise the public on how the announcements apply to City facilities, programs, and establishments.
Next steps for the City's Proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Budget. This time of year is usually full of public budget meetings. The Budget process is on pause as City staff revise revenue forecasts in light of the economic fallout from COVID-19, and also develop a plan to hold the necessary public meetings for the Budget process to continue.
The City is working to determine if and how how the City Council, School Board, Planning Commission, and other boards and commissions will carry out the public’s business.
Staff is working with State and Federal officials, the Chamber of Commerce, and the business community to gather Information and resources for City businesses affected by COVID-19 shutdowns.
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