Arlington, VA

More than 1,000 coronavirus tests were performed in Arlington on at least four days over the past week.

The surge in testing may be attributable to returning college students, traveling relatives and others seeking a virus-free Thanksgiving gathering. It has pushed the county’s seven-day testing average up to 928 daily tests and the test positivity rate down to 6.3%, from 7.6% just four days ago.

Amid the rise in testing, the number of average daily cases continues to rise. Arlington hit a new record today, with 482 coronavirus cases reported over the past seven days, or a trailing seven day average of nearly 69 daily cases.

The cumulative number of confirmed cases in Arlington over the course of the pandemic is now 5,994, just shy of the 6,000 mark. It crossed 5,000 on Nov. 8.

No new COVID-related deaths were reported in Arlington today by the Virginia Dept. of Health, but three new hospitalizations were reported overnight, bringing the seven-day total of local hospitalizations to nine.

The Centers for Disease Control is recommending that Americans avoid traveling for Thanksgiving this year, as the pandemic rages in much of the nation. Arlington County, meanwhile, last week issued “Guidelines for a Safer Thanksgiving During COVID-19,” including keeping gatherings small, hosting guests outside, and wearing masks.

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Morning Notes

Thanksgiving County Closures — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 26 & Friday, Nov. 27 for Thanksgiving. Courts will close Wednesday Nov. 26 at noon… Metered Parking: Not enforced on Thurs. Nov. 26 or Fri., Nov. 27.” [Arlington County]

Development Plan for Silver Diner Site — “The Donohoe Cos. is targeting Clarendon’s Silver Diner for a major redevelopment. The company has yet to file specific plans with Arlington County for the triangular parcel at 3200 Wilson Blvd., a block from the Clarendon Metro station, but it has outlined a mixed-use vision for the newly dubbed ‘Bingham Center’ on a project page on its website. Specifically, the developer envisions 286 apartments, a 224-room hotel, 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, a public park and ‘a new public street designed with the principals of a woonerf (a curbless pedestrian-friendly street).'” [Washington Business Journal]

The End of Snow Days? — “Superintendent Francisco Durán of Arlington County Public Schools said that shifting classes online for snow days was a ‘possibility’ but that he doesn’t expect it to happen often.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Commission Calls for Renaming Powers — “The Arlington Transportation Commission is asking County Board members to seek legislative approval from Richmond to give the county government power to rename the highways and byways within its boundaries. Currently, some (though not all) Virginia cities have broad power on street and highway naming, but counties are much more restricted.” [InsideNova]

Last-Minute Thanksgiving IdeasUpdated at 8:35 a.m. — Here are a few local Thanksgiving options, including for takeout dinners, for those seeking last minute ideas. Check with the restaurant first to confirm they are still accepting orders or reservations. [Twitter, StayArlington]

Nearby: Flurry of Fs at Fairfax Schools — ” Stunning data for Fairfax County, VA’s largest school system, shows HUGE academic cost of online learning — Fs up by 83% this year. Vulnerable children struggling most: Fs for students w/ disabilities up by 111%, for English learners up by 106%.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Arlingtonian to Join Administration — “President-elect Joe Biden said Monday he will nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who served as the top U.S. diplomat overseeing African affairs in the Obama administration, to be his ambassador to the United Nations.” Thomas-Greenfield is a long-time Arlington resident. [USA Today]

Arlington’s Average Income Falls — “The county’s weekly wage averaged $1,926 in the second quarter of 2020, according to figures reported Nov. 18 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up slightly more than 12 percent from the rate recorded a year before, but down from the $2,018 reported for the first quarter of 2020, which had placed Arlington in the rare company of just a handful of localities with incomes that high.” [InsideNova]

Police Investigating Stabbing Near the Pike — “At approximately 6:18 p.m. on November 20, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined the witness was running in the park when the victim approached him and fell to the ground. Medics arrived on scene, began treating the victim and determined he was suffering from a stab wound. He was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.” [ACPD]

Airport Construction Continues — “Anticipating the day passenger traffic returns to a semblance of normalcy, the new 14-gate concourse at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport continues to make progress toward a planned opening next year. The new concourse, attached as a pier off of Terminal C at the airport, is now fully enclosed, with half the passenger jet-bridges on site, according to a recent update from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.” [InsideNova]

Changes for Drivers at DCA — “Construction has reduced lanes on Baggage Claim (lower) level in front of Terminal B/C. Drivers should use any door on the Ticketing (upper) level to pick up and drop off holiday travelers. Taxis are still available downstairs.” [Twitter]

Thanksgiving Travel Tips from VSP — “This year overall, state police have seen fewer crashes on Virginia highways but those crashes have been more deadly. Making sure you are driving the posted speed limit, driving for conditions and wearing your seatbelt are the best ways to stay safe on the road.” [Press Release]

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For the fifth day in a row, Arlington has hit a new high point for coronavirus infections.

The Virginia Dept. of Health reported 59 new COVID-19 cases in the county overnight, bringing the seven-day trailing total to 412, or an average of 59 cases per day. That’s 10 times the level of infection at the end of June, at a local lull in the pandemic.

Arlington’s seven-day test positivity rate, meanwhile, has risen to 7.5%, above the statewide rate of 7.0%.

No new deaths nor hospitalizations were reported today, however, bringing Arlington’s seven-day hospitalization rate down to eight, from 16 two days ago.

The county’s relatively low level of hospitalizations compared to new cases can be at least partially explained by demographics: nearly two-thirds of new infections over the past two weeks have been among those under the age of 40. Younger people are generally less vulnerable to the worst virus complications.

The cumulative number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Arlington is now 5,603, 566 and 156, respectively, according to VDH. At the current rate of infection, Arlington would reach 10,000 cases in early February.

With virus cases surging in Arlington, in Virginia, in neighboring Maryland, and nationwide, officials are asking people to consider cancelling Thanksgiving travel and to rethink holiday gatherings.

“Americans should avoid travel for Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Thursday,” NBC News reported yesterday. “It was a last-minute attempt by the nation’s leading public health agency to curb what’s sure to be yet another dangerous spike in Covid-19 cases if families gather next week.”

On Wednesday, Arlington County offered a number of tips for safer Thanksgiving gatherings.

We can all make it a safer holiday season by continuing to practice the public health guidance we know slows the spread: wear a mask; stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you; and wash your hands.

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, Arlington County is encouraging everyone to take steps to make your celebration safer by following the suggestions and guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you must attend a gathering, CDC recommends bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils. Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking. Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen. Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets. Bring supplies to stay healthy including extra masks, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and tissues.

If you must have guests to your home, CDC suggests you consider a small outdoor meal with family and friends and limit the number of guests. Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together. If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows. Have guests bring their own food and drink. If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils. Provide supplies to keep everyone healthy including extra masks, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and tissues. Stock bathrooms with enough hand soap and single use towels.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, is waiting for COVID-19 test results, or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days should stay home.

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With the holidays right around the corner, we’re feeling a glimmer of excitement — but we’re also very, very tired.

It’s been quite the year, so if you’re not in the mood to prepare a whole Thanksgiving feast this year, we get it. Also, with many families cancelling travel plans and get-togethers due to COVID, is it really worth spending an entire day in the kitchen for just a few people?

If you’re hemming and hawing over what to do, consider keeping things simple this year with RSVP Catering’s curated holiday meals — delivered straight to your doorstep.

Whether you’re a Thanksgiving party of two or you’re feeding your whole family, you can order anything from individual meals to entire spreads, featuring roasted turkey or cajun fried turkey with stuffing and gravy.

Or, hey, if you’d rather just fill up on sides and desserts this year, no one will judge. Go all out with deep-dish corn custard, mac ‘n’ cheese, pimento mashed potatoes, butternut squash apple bisque and sweet potato biscuits. Finish the meal with apple crisp cheesecake, a rustic pear tart or pumpkin butterscotch cookies — or all of the above.

RSVP Catering has a ton of options, including gluten-free, plant-based and keto-friendly dishes.

This is also a simple way to share some love and appreciation this year. If you can’t get together with family, friends or coworkers, you can send them a holiday meal, dessert or even a whole turkey — anything to brighten their day.

RSVP Catering is making Thanksgiving deliveries throughout the DMV area, so head over to its website to check out the menu (fair warning: it’ll make you hungry!) and place your order.

The second annual Cranksgiving charity bike ride returns to Arlington this Saturday (Nov. 21), and this year the choose-your-own adventure experience includes COVID-19 safety rules.

“Cranksgiving is a way to have a lot of fun on a bike while also helping others during the holiday season,” said event organizer Sarah Billington. “COVID-19 has caused dramatically increased demand for food assistance, and we’re trying to engage people who ride bikes to help contribute to fulfilling that need.”

Solo and team riders (up to 10) get a scavenger hunt list of tasks, like buying up to $15 in high-demand food for the Arlington Food Assistance Center and ALIVE! in Alexandria. But due to the pandemic there is no designated starting point, and participants will need to take pictures of completed tasks and share progress on social media.

Participating organizations include The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail. A virtual award ceremony will conclude the Thanksgiving-themed event, which runs from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

“Join your Cranksgiving family for a physically, but not socially distant Award Ceremony via Zoom to hangout, meet other participants, announce the winners, and earn fabulous prizes!” the event registration page says.

There are dozens of Cranksgiving bike events held around the country each year between September and December. The first was held in New York City in 1999.

Courtesy photo (above) from 2019

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(Updated at 9:50 a.m.) Thanksgiving is only three weeks away, and with coronavirus on the rise in much of the country, plans for the holiday are in flux.

The usual gatherings of family and friends are now subject to a calculation: is a big turkey dinner worth the risk of contracting a potentially deadly or debilitating disease?

For some, the solution will be a smaller dinner, perhaps with only some of the fixin’s. For others, however, it might be business as usual.

Asked about it last week on CNBC, two prominent figures in the medical field said the traditional Thanksgiving gathering was out for them this year.

What are your current turkey day plans? If they’ve changed from your usual Thanksgiving plans, let us know in the comments.

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An irate man exposed himself to a rideshare driver after being dropped off at his destination along Columbia Pike early Thanksgiving morning.

The incident happened just before 3 a.m. on the 1900 block of Columbia Pike, near the Columbia Crossing Apartments.

It’s not clear why the man was upset, but police say he “threw himself against the vehicle” after exposing himself. He fled the scene before police arrived.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2019-11280041, 1900 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 2:50 a.m. on November 28, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly subject. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect was in a ridesharing service vehicle when he began acting irate. At the conclusion of the trip, the suspect exited the vehicle and began walking away, however he re-approached the vehicle and exposed himself to the driver. The suspect continued acting disorderly and threw himself against the vehicle, causing damage. The suspect fled the area on foot, prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a dark-skinned black male, 5’6″-5’7″, in his mid 20’s, with short curly hair styled in a fade or mohawk, wearing a black sweatshirt and dark pants. The investigation is ongoing.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) A Thanksgiving Day stabbing in Ballston sent one to the hospital and another to jail.

The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. in the area of the Ballston Metro station and the Hilton hotel. Police say a dispute escalated to physical violence — a 73-year-old suspect allegedly stabbed an acquaintance with a knife.

More from Arlington County Police:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-11280121, 900 block of N. Stuart Street. At approximately 2:28 p.m. on November 28, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that a dispute between known individuals escalated and a physical altercation ensued, during which the suspect allegedly produced a knife and stabbed the victim, causing a laceration. Arriving officers located the suspect in the area and he was taken into custody without incident. The victim was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Stanley Oliver, 73, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding. He was held on no bond.

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It’s time to batten down the hatches and get ready for your tryptophan coma: a windy Thanksgiving is upon us.

While we take a brief holiday break (we’ll have a lighter than usual publishing schedule Friday), feel free to discuss anything of local note in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving from ARLnow!

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Much of the D.C. region, including Arlington, will be under a Wind Advisory starting tonight.

Strong winds with gusts up to 50 mph are expected to start whipping up Wednesday night and will continue through Thursday afternoon, making for a blustery Thanksgiving holiday.

Forecasters caution that the wind gusts could topple trees and power lines, causing widespread power outages. Drivers — including those taking last minute trips on one of the busiest travel days of the year — should also take caution.

More from the National Weather Service:

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
156 PM EST WED NOV 27 2019

…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THIS EVENING TO 1 PM EST THURSDAY…

* WHAT…WEST TO NORTHWEST WINDS 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS AROUND 50 MPH EXPECTED.

* WHERE…THE WASHINGTON AND BALTIMORE METROPOLITAN AREAS, CENTRAL MARYLAND, AND PORTIONS OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

* WHEN…FROM 8 PM THIS EVENING TO 1 PM EST THURSDAY.

* IMPACTS…DAMAGING WINDS COULD BLOW DOWN TREES AND POWER LINES. WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE. TRAVEL COULD BE  DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

USE EXTRA CAUTION WHEN DRIVING, ESPECIALLY IF OPERATING A HIGH PROFILE VEHICLE. SECURE OUTDOOR OBJECTS.

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