Press Club

Coronavirus Hospitalizations in Arlington Reach 50

(Updated at 10:05 a.m.) At least 50 people have now been hospitalized in Arlington due to complications from the coronavirus.

New data from the Virginia Dept. of Health reports 453 overall COVID-19 cases in the county, along with 50 hospitalizations and 15 deaths. That’s up from 12 deaths, 36 hospitalizations and 401 known cases on Tuesday.

Statewide, VDH is reporting 6,889 total cases, 1,114 hospitalizations, 208 deaths and 46,444 people tested.

Virginia Hospital Center has remained mum publicly about the COVID-19 cases it is treating, declining requests from ARLnow to release additional figures and information, but an Instagram post by the hospital reveals a bit more about what’s going on inside the hospital.

The post shows a sign in the hospital indicating that 10 patients have been successfully taken off ventilators and 205 patients have been discharged and are “on their way to recovery.”

A hospital spokeswoman did not respond to a request yesterday for more information. Previously, the spokeswoman said the hospital does not release such information.

“Virginia Hospital Center is committed to protecting the privacy of our patients and complies with all applicable laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA,” said Maryanne Boster, VHC’s Director of Corporate Communications, after ARLnow sought to find out how many COVID-19 patients it was treating and how many were on ventilators. “As always, the Hospital does not share patient-specific information without prior authorization.”

The Arlington County Fire Department has also declined to give specific information about COVID-19 cases and quarantines among department personnel.

On Wednesday ARLnow sought to confirm a tip we received that three firefighters have tested positive and another 37 were in quarantine.

“Arlington’s public safety personnel, like other populations experience fluctuations in staffing throughout the year due to varying of circumstances,” the spokesman said in response. “The County always monitors our workforce capacity and continues to be able to maintain adequate staffing levels for the services needed for Arlington residents”

The head of Arlington’s fire and EMS union, IAFF Local 2800, also did not respond to a request for comment. After the announcement on March 24 of the first member of the department testing positive for COVID-19, the union released a statement calling for ACFD to allow members who have had close contact with an infected colleague to self-quarantine.

“This shows the risks that your firefighters are taking to keep the community safe on the front lines of this public health emergency,” Brian Lynch, President of Local 2800, said at the time. “Despite risks to our health and the concern of bringing this virus home to our families, we will continue to respond when the community needs us.”

The IAFF Local 2800 statement also asked that Arlington residents “only utilize 911 for true emergencies, notify dispatchers if anyone at the location is experiencing flu-like symptoms, [and] practice social distancing and frequent hand washing.”

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