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Authorities encouraging locals to get Covid booster shots, as cases rise slightly

Covid cases in Arlington on 3/17/22 (via Virginia Dept. of Health)

If you haven’t received a Covid vaccine booster shot yet, expect a call or text message from the state health department.

Arlington residents started getting the reminders from the Virginia Dept. of Health this week, at a time when the local decline in Covid cases is showing signs of bottoming out.

The seven-day moving average of cases has risen modestly over the past week or two, from a low of 24 cases per day on March 8 to about 35 cases per day today.

The county’s test positivity rate has continued to fall, however, reaching 3.2% today, the lowest point since late November. And Arlington is still well within the CDC’s new definition of a “low” level of disease, under which the federal agency recommends making masks optional.

Arlington Public Schools, meanwhile, has reported 54 positive tests among students over the past week, equal to the number of cases over the previous seven-day period. Most of the newer APS cases are in the 22207 zip code of North Arlington, with Nottingham Elementary School, Williamsburg Middle School, Yorktown High School and Jamestown Elementary School reporting the highest number of cases weekly cases.

Covid cases in Arlington Public Schools, by zip code (via APS)

No Covid-related deaths have been reported in Arlington over the past week. There is renewed concern, however, about the long-term implications of even mild cases of Covid, with articles published over the past week or so citing new research about loss of brain matter and cognitive decline among those who contracted the disease.

Elsewhere, officials are closely monitoring a pair of new trends: rising cases and hospitalizations in Europe and particularly the UK, attributed to the BA.2 subvariant, and rising Covid levels observed at some U.S. wastewater treatment sites. Cases and hospitalizations are also quickly rising in Hong Kong, South Korea, and China.

The Arlington County press release about the new booster shot push is below.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is sending text and voice messages to Arlington residents who are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot.

The message will read: “Virginia Department of Health records indicate you are eligible for a Booster COVID-19 vaccine. For walk-in clinic times and appointments, visit https://www.arlingtonva.us/COVID-19 or call our COVID-19 hotline at 703-228-7999. Please disregard this message if you have already received your Booster.”

The message will also be sent in Spanish.

COVID-19 vaccine boosters are recommended for everyone age 12 years or older who completed their primary series of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at least five months ago. If you received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least two months ago, you are eligible to receive a booster. If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised and received three doses of Pfizer or Moderna at least three months ago, you, too, are eligible for a booster shot.

Arlington residents who are eligible for COVID-19 booster shots will receive the texts and calls. These voice or text messages are legitimate messages, not a hoax or scam. VDH will use contact information provided during your initial appointment sign up.

Not everyone will be contacted at first, and individuals do not need to wait for this notification to get a vaccine booster. To find a vaccine location near you, visit vaccines.govwalk-in to one of the County’s clinics, or call our COVID-19 hotline at 703-228-7999.

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