Arlington, VA

(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) As Arlington officials take measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the county has again gone up.

As of noon today, the Virginia Dept. of Health reported 13 coronavirus cases in Arlington. That’s the highest count of any individual jurisdiction in the state — up from 9 cases in Arlington yesterday.

By contrast, there are currently 12 reported cases in Fairfax County, with about 5 times the population of Arlington, and still only 2 positive coronavirus tests in Alexandria.

Statewide, 1,028 people have been tested and 67 people have tested positive across the Commonwealth, up from only 489 people tested and 51 cases yesterday.

Given the relative lack of testing so far, and the continued spread of a highly-infectious disease that doesn’t present symptoms for a few days, it’s a near-certainty that cases will continue rising, perhaps dramatically. And it’s not clear to what extent more proactive testing or reporting may be playing a role in Arlington’s higher numbers relative to other jurisdictions.

To slow the spread, officials from the national to the local level have been urging people to frequently wash hands, avoid touching one’s face, and to practice social distancing — maintaining six feet of separation from others when out in public. Last night Arlington County’s top officials released a statement urging restaurants to close their dining rooms, even though Virginia has not followed the lead of other states in mandating such closures yet.

Many restaurants across Arlington have announced temporary closures or takeout– and delivery-only options over the past 24 hours. A few others, however, remain open to dine-in customers.

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