Press Club

County: ‘More Work Lies Ahead’ to Keep Coronavirus in Check

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Arlington, though county leaders are applauding residents for helping to slow the spread.

As of Friday there were 485 reported COVID-19 cases in Arlington, and signs that the growth in new cases may have peaked locally.

The latest data from the Virginia Dept. of Health also shows 53 hospitalizations in Arlington and a total of 2,159 test results reported in the county. Statewide, there are 7,491 known cases, 1,221 hospitalizations and 231 deaths, with 48,997 people tested.

In a press release Thursday, Arlington County said residents were doing a good job of slowing the spread of the virus, but emphasized that we’re by no means out of the woods yet.

Arlington’s Public Health and Emergency Management leaders are applauding community members’ efforts to help limit the spread of Coronavirus thus far — while reminding them that more work lies ahead.

Health Director and Public Health Division Chief Reuben Varghese said that, overall, residents have adopted the key behaviors needed to slow the spread:

  1. Keeping at least six feet from other people
  2. Washing hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  3. Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of the elbow
  4. Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces every day
  5. Wearing cloth face coverings in public
  6. Staying at home and going out only for permitted activities when absolutely necessary

“These measures have helped to limit the spread of coronavirus and I thank everyone who is taking these important actions,” Varghese said. “However, the coronavirus is present in Arlington and across the region. We are sharing a new guide to help those who are ill successfully isolate at home.”

To help navigate this next phase, the County is sharing instructions called Steps to Slow the Spread of COVID-19, which tells residents what to do if they or family members are sick or have symptoms. In addition, the guide provides instructions about how to identify people who came into close contact with you while you were sick.

“We need ill residents to tell their close contacts to stay home and quarantine, so we further prevent the spread of this virus in our community,” Varghese said.

Use the Buddy System 

If you become ill or need to isolate or self-quarantine, you may need help from other people–and other people may ask you for help. Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management Director Aaron Miller says now is the time to put plans in place.

“Plan ahead and reach out–safely–to friends, neighbors, social and work networks, faith groups, and school and neighborhood associations to have people who can help and put a buddy system in place,” Miller said. “This will make it easier to get things like food and medicine if you are unable to leave your home. We recommend that every household has two ‘buddy’ households to call upon for help if needed.”

For people who have difficulty identifying buddies, there is a new online tool. The Arlington Community Corps includes listings by Arlington neighborhood and is designed to link people who need help with nearby volunteers willing to help out–by delivering groceries and medication to other residents at higher risk from COVID-19. For more information or questions, email [email protected].

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