(Updated at 11 a.m.) COVID-19 vaccinations have reached a new peak in Arlington, but the effort has led to lines at one county vaccination site.
Nearly 5,000 doses have been administered in Arlington over the past four days, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data. The seven-day trailing average of doses administered is now just shy of 900 per day, a new record for the county.
In all, 20,675 doses have been administered, and 4,495 people have been fully vaccinated in Arlington, according to VDH data. The latter represents about 2% of the county’s population.
On Friday and Saturday, those eligible to be vaccinated under Virginia’s Phase 1b group — many of them elderly — flocked to the Arlington County Dept. of Human Services building at Sequoia Plaza (2110 Washington Blvd) to receive their vaccination shots. That led to some reports of crowding.
“Waiting in an outrageous line with my 80 year father to get his COVID vaccine,” one tipster told ARLnow on Friday. “His appointment was for 1:45 p.m. — and the 1:30 group [is] still wrapped around the parking lot. These are ELDERLY PEOPLE standing around for 30+ minutes… maybe 2 or 3 chairs among the entire group. Unacceptable.”
On Saturday morning, the crowding apparently was such that Arlington Transit buses were rerouted in order to avoid the area.
Due to heavy traffic from a DHS event, ART 42, 45, & 77 will not service Sequoia Plaza until the event has finished. Passengers can board at 2nd & S Courthouse.
— ART Alert (@ART_Alert) February 6, 2021
Cara O’Donnell, spokeswoman for the county’s health division, said the lines were the result of a full vaccination schedule, people showing up early to their appointments, the need for social distancing, and other factors.
“It’s taking us a bit longer to process all of our clients today, as it’s a full schedule,” O’Donnell told ARLnow on Saturday. “Quite a few require additional assistance and we’re careful to ensure we take the time we need with each client. From what I’m hearing, that’s leading to some car backups. Our staff and volunteers are working to get through as efficiently as we can.”
Arlington County is getting 2,750 first vaccine doses per week from the state, O’Donnell said. Many of the other doses being reported by VDH are second doses. Virginia Hospital Center and other hospitals are no longer receiving first doses from the Commonwealth, but hospitals still have second doses on hand.
“VHC has been very intentional in managing our existing vaccine supply to ensure that all individuals who received a first dose through VHC will receive their second,” a hospital spokesperson told ARLnow on Friday. “The Hospital is continuing to provide second doses to individuals at our community vaccine clinic, to Arlington Free Clinic patients, and to those staff and healthcare workers who received their first dose at Virginia Hospital Center.”
In all, about 2,000 of the doses administered in Arlington over the past four days have been second doses. There are more awaiting eager arms: Arlington has received 32,825 doses, according to the state health department, meaning 12,150 doses have yet to be administered.
“Available data from scientific studies of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines continue to support the use of two doses of each authorized vaccine at specified intervals,” the hospital spokesperson said. “The use of one dose administration is not supported by adequate scientific evidence at this time.”
The quickened pace of vaccinations comes amid a backdrop of Arlington’s coronavirus caseload remaining in the 400-600 cases per week range.
Just under 500 new cases have been reported over the past week, bringing the cumulative total of confirmed cases in Arlington to 12,262 as of Monday morning. Six additional deaths and 13 hospitalizations have been reported over the past week, bringing the county’s pandemic total to 207 deaths and 742 hospitalizations.
Arlington’s test positivity rate, meanwhile, has been declining over the past couple of weeks and currently stands at 6.1%.
While vaccine supply remains constrained, some health experts are encouraging officials to start planning for an abundance of vaccine supply in the spring, as tens of millions of additional doses become available.
We need to start planning past the period of scarcity for a time when outreach and persuasion becomes important in getting shots in arms
We need state and federal officials to be planning (and communicating) how primary care practices get included in distribution https://t.co/DqlE3BBgqL
— Farzad Mostashari (@Farzad_MD) February 8, 2021
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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.
Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.
About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village