Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Local Real Estate Market Rebounds — “After an uncharacteristically slow spring, thanks to stay-at-home orders and economic uncertainty stemming from Covid-19, Washington’s residential real estate market had a record-breaking July. According to the latest local data, the median home sale price in the DC metro area hit a 10-year high last month.” The median days on the market for Arlington, meanwhile, is seven. [Washingtonian, InsideNova, Twitter]

I-395 Wrong-Way Driver Arrested — “A woman driving the wrong way on northbound Interstate 395 Tuesday morning struck two vehicles before taking off, Virginia State Police said. The crash at 4:49 a.m. sent debris across the interstate and shut down all northbound lanes before Washington Boulevard in Arlington for roughly an hour.” [WTOP]

Long Bridge Project May Be Delayed — “The good news is that the coronavirus pandemic has not derailed one of the region’s most important transit projects: the construction of a second Long Bridge over the Potomac River reserved exclusively for Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express passenger trains. The bad news is that due to revenue shortfalls directly related to the pandemic, the $3.7 billion, 10-year project may be significantly delayed.” [Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Twitter]

W-L Student Dies Unexpectedly — “Generals, it is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of one of our own. Adrian Vega-Alcantara, a student in the 11th grade, passed away suddenly of heart failure on August 10.” [Washington-Liberty High School]

Local Reaction to Veep Pick — “Amid a strong field of highly qualified women, Senator Harris stands out as a powerful and historic choice,” said Rep. Don Beyer. ” I know from our time together in the Senate that she’ll be great for the ticket and more importantly, great for our country,” said Sen. Tim Kaine. [Press Release, Twitter]

Meteor Shower This Week — “Make sure you stay up late one evening (or wake up early) to see the annual Perseid meteor shower! It will peak this week on the mornings of Wed, Thu, and Fri.” [Twitter, EarthSky]

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Arlington County police are again sounding the alarm about opioid abuse and its dangers.

In a press release, ACPD says that it is seeing a new “spike” in drug overdose deaths.

“In the month of August, the Arlington County Police Department has investigated five deaths as possible drug-related overdoses,” the department said in a press release today. “Based on the preliminary investigations, police suspect the deaths are linked to heroin and prescription painkillers mixed with fentanyl. Due to the severity of this spike, members of the public who may be affected by addiction or opioid use are urged to take steps to protect themselves and others through available resources in Arlington.”

As ARLnow reported earlier this month, two people died of suspected overdoses in the Buckingham neighborhood on Aug. 2. Prior to that, Arlington had recorded 10 opioid overdose deaths in 2020, four more than in all of 2019.

On July 23, ACPD said its officers had saved nine people from overdoses so far this year via use of Nasal Naloxone — also known as Narcan.

Advice on recognizing, responding to and preventing overdoses, from today’s press release:

Signs of an Overdose

This is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation. If you observe someone experiencing the following overdose symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately:

  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Vomiting or gurgling
  • Blue lips and/or fingernails
  • Not responsive or sleeping and cannot be woken up
  • Deep gurgling or rattling snore

Overdose Reversal

Arlington County first responders carry Nasal Naloxone (also known as Narcan®), a safe and effective medication that can reverse an overdose from prescription painkillers or heroin. Narcan is available over the counter without a prescription. Arlingtonians can request free Narcan and REVIVE (Narcan) training by emailing the Department of Human Services.

Programs and Services

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there are numerous treatment resources available in Arlington and through the Department of Human Services. Assistance is also available through Operation Safe Station, a designated safe environment where individuals wishing to seek help with their drug use can self-report and receive services, without fear of prosecution and incarceration. Community members are also encouraged to prevent medication misuse or overdose by safely disposing of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medication in one of Arlington’s four permanent drug take-back boxes or by requesting a free deactivation bag.

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Two people were wounded and one is dead after an overnight shooting on Columbia Pike

Police say they were called to the 3000 block of Columbia Pike — the same block as the Days Inn and the McDonald’s — just after 2:30 a.m. for a report of gunshots.

Later, two victims showed up at a local hospital “with injuries considered to be non life threatening.” After that, police say they located another victim deceased in a vehicle on the 3200 block of the Pike, the same block as the Audi dealership and the Westmont Shopping Center. It’s the county’s third homicide of 2020.

Columbia Pike was shut down in both directions between S. Glebe Road and S. Highland Street during the investigation this morning.

“Police remain on-scene and in the area investigating,” said Arlington County police. “Anyone with information is asked to call 703-558-2222.”

On Sunday afternoon, ACPD released more information about the shooting, revealing that it happened after a dispute outside of an unidentified business. The full press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place on Columbia Pike in the early morning hours of June 28, 2020 that left one victim deceased and two victims with minor injuries.

At approximately 2:39 a.m., police were dispatched to area of the 3000 block of Columbia Pike for the report of shots fired and a large crowd dispersing outside of a business. While investigating the initial reports of shots fired, officers were notified that two victims had arrived at an area hospital seeking treatment for minor injuries. The preliminary investigation indicates that following a dispute between multiple parties, the suspect entered his vehicle and fired gunshots in the area of the crowd as he fled the scene.

As the investigation into the initial call continued, officers were dispatched to the 3200 block of Columbia Pike, where a third victim was located inside of a vehicle with trauma to the upper body. The victim was subsequently pronounced deceased on scene. Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The decedent is identified as Donovan A. Green Jr., 21, of Upper Marlboro, Md.

This incident remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

This is the third homicide in Arlington County in 2020.

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Morning Notes

Utility Pole Catches Fire in Penrose — “100 blk S Wise St, Power pole fire. Area structures may experience power disruptions as the power company addresses the issue. Initial fire crews had to wait for ⁦@DominionEnergy⁩ to arrive to take down power, after which they could extinguish the fire.” [@ArlingtonVaFD/Twitter]

Robbery from Clarendon 7-Eleven — ” At approximately 4:46 a.m. on June 7, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, approached the counter and stole a jar containing an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect attempted to flee, however, the victim ran after him and the suspect produced a knife and hammer and struck the victim. During the altercation, the jar fell and shattered. The suspect fled in a green Nissan pick-up truck.” [Arlington County]

Library Material for Confronting Racism — “We have compiled a list of books, movies, podcasts, articles, and organizations where you can learn more about structural racism in the United States, how to engage with and act against anti-black racism, and what you can do to eradicate systematic racism and fight for justice in your community.” [Arlington Public Library]

Local Mail Carrier Dies from Coronavirus — ” An Arlington community is mourning the loss of its beloved mailman who died over the weekend from COVID-19 complications. Jesus Collazos suffered a stroke about a month ago that was caused by the coronavirus. Collazos was 67-years-old and and was most looking forward to being a grandfather to his three grandchildren.” [WDVM]

Evictions in Va. Temporarily Halted — “The state’s Supreme Court issued the ban Monday following a request from Gov. Ralph Northam. It extends previous orders that had put a hold on evictions, but expired last month. Under the new rule, even renters who have been threatened with eviction but have not been served a formal notice cannot be legally removed from their homes until June 28 at the earliest.” [DCist]

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(Updated at 11 a.m.) Arlington saw the biggest one-day rise in reported coronavirus deaths since April 30 overnight, while the rate of new cases continues to fall.

According to the latest Virginia Dept. of Health data, there are now 1,416 known COVID-19 cases in Arlington, up just 17 since Monday. Hospitalizations are up two overnight, to 288, while reported deaths — which typically trails reported cases by a week or two — jumped from 60 to 66, a 10% rise.

Statewide, VDH reports 25,800 cases, 3,395 hospitalizations, 891 deaths, and 171,239 “testing encounters.”

The number of cases per capita in Arlington is roughly twice that of the state as a whole, according to a Virginia Public Access Project analysis.

Sorted by zip code, VDH continues to show the highest number of cases and test positivity rate in the 22204 zip code, along the Columbia Pike corridor. The 22203 zip code, centered around Ballston, has the second-highest positivity rate in the county.

Arlington officials say they want to see a number of trends and milestones before the county starts reopening, as other parts of the state are set to do as early as Friday.

Among those metrics is a 14-day downward trend in hospitalizations. Currently, the trailing 7-day hospitalization rate is at a peak of 92.

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Arlington’s coronavirus outbreak is continuing to take a grim toll.

The latest figures from the Virginia Dept. of Health report 967 known COVID-19 cases, 167 hospitalizations and 41 deaths in Arlington. That’s up from that 912 cases, 163 hospitalizations and 32 deaths reported yesterday (Wednesday).

The growth of 55 cases ties the county’s previous record for new daily cases, set on Sunday, April 19.

VDH reported 206 new test results in Arlington today, up from 115 test results yesterday.

Statewide, the health department reports 15,846 cases, 2,322 hospitalizations, 552 deaths and 90,843 people tested. The number of new positive cases across the Commonwealth rose by 885 overnight. Arlington’s neighboring jurisdictions of Alexandria and Fairfax County now have 754 known cases and 3,611 cases respectively.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s blueprint for starting to ease restrictions, released late last week, calls for “a 14-day downward trend in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.”

Arlington officials, meanwhile, detailed efforts to improve the coronavirus information on the county’s website at Tuesday’s County Board meeting. The efforts have included a revamped COVID-19 landing page, which attempts to make it easier for residents to find key information, and a new data dashboard page that includes charts and graphs that will be updated daily.

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Morning Notes

Local Business Owners Still Waiting for Loans — “Like many business owners across Northern Virginia, Cyrille Brenac is still waiting to hear back from his bank about his application to the Paycheck Protection Program… For Brenac, who lives in the Cherrydale neighborhood of Arlington, the money would help him rehire about 50 employees of his two French restaurants he laid off when the economy abruptly shut down as the result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.” [Connection Newspapers]

County Board Salary Raise Unlikely — “The COVID-19 health pandemic and resulting economic downturn have snagged another victim – big pay raises for Arlington County Board members. Raises totaling more than $50,000 spread across the five board positions, which were included in County Manager Mark Schwartz’s pre-virus budget proposal in February, have been red-lined out.” [InsideNova]

Bearded Goat Barber Dies During Home Isolation — “We’ve already had quite a tragedy of our own — a barber who was in recovery from heroin addiction. He told us a couple times in the first few weeks, ‘It’s not good for me not being busy like this… not being able to work.’ We didn’t know just how bad it would be for him. He relapsed and got a bad batch and died.” [InsideHook, Facebook]

Campaign to Help Nurses, Restaurants Raises $30k — “The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) began its ‘Buy a Nurse Lunch’ initiative several weeks ago to raise money for restaurants along Columbia Pike in Arlington, while simultaneously providing meals for nurses and medical staff at the Virginia Hospital Center. In just two weeks, the organization says that over $30 thousand was raised, providing much-needed revenue for small, locally-owned restaurant.” [WJLA]

County to Consider More Retail Conversions — “For many years, county officials were insistent that retail be placed in office and residential buildings in certain areas. The problem – as developers apparently knew but county leaders seemed to miss – is that retail spaces are dependent on visibility and foot traffic, which each can vary widely even within the same building. (At one business-organization meeting years back, developers simply shrugged their shoulders, saying they often penciled in ‘zero’ for the expected revenue.)” [InsideNova]

Local Man Recounts Coronavirus Experience — “He had been in the hospital for seven days when doctors declared he might not make it out alive. His blood oxygen levels sank. His lungs struggled. The ventilator helping him breathe, doctors at Virginia Hospital Center said, did not seem to be doing much good. Nurses called his family. His family called a priest. They wanted to make sure Francis Wilson, 29, received last rites before the end.” [Washington Post]

Raccoons Rescued from Trash Can — “Officer Cameron got a surprise yesterday when she responded to a call about a raccoon stuck inside a bag inside a trash can. After she ‘unstuck’ the raccoon, she found 2 raccoon kits with her! Officer Cameron made sure they were all safe, releasing them to a quiet place nearby.” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington]

Arlington Musicians Play Mozart From Self-Isolation — A group of Arlington musicians joined those from elsewhere to perform Mozart: Serenade No. 13 in G Major, K. 525 ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ (1st movement) remotely. [YouTube]

Falls Church Senior Care Centers Face Outbreaks — “Three Falls Church area senior homes are now confirmed to be fighting outbreaks of the coronavirus, with Chesterbrook Residences telling the News-Press today that a total of 17 of its residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Flickr pool photo by P Ranfone

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Twelve people have died from COVID-19 complications in Arlington, according to new data from the Virginia Dept. of Health.

That’s up from just three reported deaths yesterday. VDH is also reporting 36 hospitalizations in Arlington, and 401 known coronavirus cases among 1,951 reported test results.

The 401 confirmed cases in the county is up from 390 the day before. Arlington has seen three consecutive days of lower reported new cases, after reaching a peak of 37 new cases on Saturday — though a similar pattern played out two weeks ago before the number of new cases started going back up.

Statewide, VDH is reporting a total of 6,171 known cases, 978 hospitalizations, 154 deaths and 42,763 people tested.

Northern Virginia local government leaders are continuing to urge residents to stay at home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of the disease. In a public service announcement video, released late last week, leaders including Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey also encouraged residents to wear face coverings and to check in on neighbors who might need assistance.

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Morning Notes

Ballston Residents Cheer for Healthcare Workers — A video shows residents in Ballston giving healthcare workers and other essential caregivers a round of applause at 8 p.m. last night. [Twitter]

New School Budget Coming Soon — “Arlington Superintendent Cintia Johnson this week will formally outline her plan to reduce spending in the wake of the health and economic crisis. Johnson will report to School Board members on April 16 with an updated budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning in July, supplanting one she had detailed less than two months ago.” [InsideNova]

‘Strong Response’ to School Board Caucus — “Less than a week after announcing a transition to a vote-by-mail process for its School Board candidate endorsement caucus, the Arlington County Democratic Committee (Arlington Dems) has received more than 2,000 ballot requests representing all 54 Arlington voting precincts.” [Press Release]

Former Va. Hospital Center Patient Donates Gowns — “In light of the coronavirus pandemic, a breast cancer survivor decided to donate her colorful hospital gowns to people going through the same thing she did.” [NBC 4]

Local TSA Employee Dies — “A second Transportation Security Administration employee died from coronavirus the same day the agency announced its first worker had died. Alberto Camacho, a branch manager for the TSA’s Acquisition Program Management in Arlington, Virginia, died April 3, according to a TSA news release.” [USA Today]

‘Buy a Neighbor Lunch’ Pilot Program — “Volunteer Arlington… announced today a new initiative to facilitate community support for local families in need of meals called Buy a Neighbor Lunch. The program enables supporters to donate individual meals to be delivered to families in need.” [Volunteer Arlington]

Dog Daycare Owner On Coronavirus Challenges — “We lost over half our business in just three short weeks… Every day puts us more and more at risk of losing everything. I’m not one who backs down from a challenge easily, but the uncertainty of this one is life-crushing and breaking my soul.” [Arlington Magazine]

Photo courtesy Amy Kelly

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(Updated at 2 p.m.) Two locals have died after contracting COVID-19, the first reported deaths from the disease in Arlington.

Arlington County announced the deaths Sunday afternoon. The victims were older and had “chronic medical conditions,” the county said.

“The first patient was a 72-year-old with chronic medical conditions, who had been ill with COVID-19 for a few weeks,” the county said in a press release. “The second was a 60-year-old with chronic medical conditions, identified with COVID-19 this past week. The close contacts of both patients have been identified.”

“We are saddened by the deaths of two Arlington County residents related to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to their loved ones,” Arlington Health District Director Dr. Reuben Varghese said in a statement. “These deaths, along with the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases we are seeing in the region, are a reminder that we all must be vigilant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The health of our residents is our top priority and we know our residents and our community share that priority. We ask that everyone do their part to prevent germ spread: practice social distancing, wash your hands, and cover your coughs and sneezes.”

As of Sunday, there were 84 known cases of COVID-19 in Arlington, up from 26 seven days earlier. Statewide, there have been 890 reported cases, 112 hospitalizations, 22 deaths, and 10,609 people tested, according to the Virginia Dept. of Health.

Also today, the Fairfax Health District — which includes Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church and towns within the county — reported 188 positive cases, including 32 new cases, and two deaths. As of Saturday, the District of Columbia has reported 342 positive cases and five deaths.

To slow the spread of the virus, Arlington County is advising residents to stay at home, frequently and thoroughly wash one’s hands, and avoid close contact with others. More from the county press release:

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To decrease the potential for the virus to spread, the Arlington Health District recommends:

  • Avoid non-essential travel and public gatherings, especially if you are an individual who is at increased risk for severe illness, including pregnant women, older adults and person of any age with underlying health conditions.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Immediately wash your hands if you used a tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces with an EPA approved agent effective against human coronaviruses and flu.
  • Practice social distancing by staying six feet or more away from others.
  • If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home. If you need medical care, call your healthcare provider prior to going to their office. If it is an emergency, as always, call 911 immediately.
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The number of known coronavirus cases in Arlington has jumped from 17 on Friday to 26 on Sunday.

That’s according to new numbers from the Virginia Dept. of Health, which is now reporting 219 cases statewide and 3,337 people tested. Arlington has the third-highest number of positive COVID-19 tests in the state, after Fairfax County (31) and James City (32).

As of Friday afternoon, 173 people had been tested at Arlington’s new drive-through testing site, which opened on Wednesday on N. Quincy Street near Washington-Liberty High School. Officials from Virginia Hospital Center expected to conduct another 60 tests on Monday, having received a new shipment of tests on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Sunday that a Defense Security Cooperation Agency worker has passed away after contracting COVID-19. As reported on March 9, the worker had spent time at the agency’s offices in Crystal City, leading to tenants in a pair of buildings being notified of the possible coronavirus exposure.

Also today (Sunday), Arlington Transit announced that it would be temporarily increasing service on one of its routes due to an unexpected rise in ridership.

“The ART 41 is seeing an increase in ridership this afternoon,” the local transit agency said. “We encourage social distancing on buses, so there will be an increase in frequency this afternoon to accommodate our passengers and keep everyone safe and healthy.”

Jay Westcott contributed to this report

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