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County Details Commonalities Among Local COVID Cases

Going to work or eating at a restaurant are two of the most commonly-reported activities among Arlingtonians who recently tested positive for COVID-19.

That’s according to new information released by Arlington County.

Among coronavirus patients who were interviewed by local health officials, a third had contact with a known positive case, 38% had recently gone to a restaurant, and 48% had recently gone to work, according to a press release.

This is the first time the county has publicly announced such contact tracing data. It comes amid a surge in new coronavirus cases in Arlington, though that surge has so far not resulted in a spike in hospitalizations.

The press release is below.

Between Nov. 3, 2020, and Nov. 16, 2020, Arlington County interviewed 539 residents who were diagnosed with COVID-19 (cases). Of those cases, 33% reported contact with a known case – 21% had that contact with a known case at home; 12% with a known case in the community.

In addition, public health staff identified sites outside of their homes where cases may have been exposed:

  • 48% reported going to work
  • 38% reported going to one or more restaurants
  • 12% reported going to a gathering (e.g., wedding, funeral, or party)
  • 17% reported traveling out of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia area
  • 7% reported going to a gym

While these were common locations among Arlington cases interviewed, it does not mean they were the definitive source for COVID-19 exposure in each individual case. As a reminder, “correlation does not imply causation.”

These findings are similar to a recent report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which suggests community exposures contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Given the rise in cases in the region, County public health officials remind Arlingtonians that social gatherings beyond your household bubbles makes germ spread more likely.

In general, the more closely people interact with each other and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

To protect against COVID-19 spread, everyone should avoid close contact with people who do not live in their household, wear a mask (cloth face covering), and practice social distancing, and frequently and properly wash hands.

All Arlingtonians should do their part to abide by this public health guidance.

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