Police swarmed the Pentagon City area Saturday night after a Virginia State Police pursuit ended in the neighborhood.
“At 10:06 p.m., Virginia State Police attempted a traffic stop on a BMW traveling north on I-95 near Exit 158 in Prince William County. The traffic stop was for excessive speeding,” VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller tells ARLnow. “The vehicle refused to stop and a pursuit was initiated. The pursuit ended at South Hayes and South Fern Street in Arlington. The adult male driver and adult male passenger were taken into custody.”
Geller said two state police vehicles were struck during the chance but no troopers were injured.
“The suspect vehicle struck two state police vehicles during the course of the pursuit,” she said. “The patrol cars sustained minor damage. No state police personnel were injured. No other vehicles were struck.”
Those in the Pentagon City area described a large police response, including a helicopter overhead.
@ARLnowDOTcom tons of police activity and copter circling in pentagon city/crystal city by HQ2. Any idea what’s going on?
— Andrew Tomlinson (@drew_tomlinson) May 24, 2020
MidAtlantic Urgent Care is closing after nearly nine years in business, citing a big financial hit from the pandemic.
The locally-owned clinic at 3301 Wilson Boulevard first opened in 2011. It is closing permanently at the end of May.
In an email to patients, the clinic said it cannot continue meeting its expenses while COVID-19 keeps patients away.
To Our Dear Patients,
It is with mixed emotions that we announce that we will be closing our urgent and primary care practice: MidAtlantic Urgent Care LLC at 3301 Wilson Blvd. effective May 31, 2020. We simply cannot sustain the financial loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been a great pleasure to assist you with your health care needs during the nine years that we have practiced in the Arlington, VA area.
During this pandemic, we are aware of the difficulty of renewing medications and finding a new practice; therefore, we will continue to use our phone mail, patient portal, and telehealth for communication.
We encourage you to stay within the Privia Medical Group system – this will allow easy access to your medical records which are shared within this impressive group of health care providers. Locally there is Pulmonary and Medical Associates, Arlington Primary Care, and Premier Primary Care Physicians – to name a few.
Photo via MidAtlantic Urgent Care. Hat tip to Dave Schutz.
Exactly two months after closing amid the pandemic, Arlington’s parks are partially reopening in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Arlington County made the announcement shortly before 1 p.m., noting that a number of park amenities will remain closed.
“While parks will reopen, amenities in the parks such as playgrounds, picnic shelters, athletic courts, restrooms and dog parks will remain closed,” said a press release. “The County’s nearly 49 miles of trails and community gardens remain open, as they have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Spraygrounds, tracks and skate parks are also still closed, the county said in a Q&A page. Some facilities may reopen early next month.
“Arlington anticipates a phased reopening of its Parks and Recreation facilities, with open spaces as a first step,” county officials wrote. “In early June, the County plans to reopen athletic fields (with restrictions), batting cages, dog parks, pickleball courts, shelters (with restrictions), tennis courts and outdoor tracks. As the County looks towards reopening additional park amenities, we will continue to monitor guidance from the national, state and local health officials.”
Summer camps and programs, however, remain cancelled.
Park-goers are being asked to maintain physical distancing — staying at least 6 feet apart — and groups of visitors should not exceed 10 people. Organized sports are still banned.
“Arlington County Police, park rangers, and park rovers will be monitoring parks, trails, playgrounds and fields to ensure people are social distancing and that groups are no bigger than 10 people,” the county said.
A growing scientific consensus suggests that the risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors is very low, though those who cannot maintain a safe distance from others are still encouraged to wear masks. Brief exposure from walking and jogging is likewise thought to carry few risks, though talking or singing in close proximity to one another for a sustained period of time may still be risky, even outdoors.
More on the park reopening from the county press release, below.
(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) Two of the key metrics to track the coronavirus epidemic in Arlington are pointing in the right direction, but only modestly so.
Both new cases and hospitalizations are down, following the release of Friday’s COVID-19 data by the Virginia Dept. of Health.
Arlington now has 1,795 reported cases, 346 hospitalizations and 91 deaths, according to VDH. That’s an increase of 32 cases and two deaths since Thursday. There were no new hospitalizations, though Arlington’s hospitalization data is full of periodic peaks and valleys.
The new figures follow a downward trend in cases and hospitalizations, though the rate of decline in cases is relatively modest and the 7-day trailing hospitalization rate this week held mostly steady.
Testing, another metric that Arlington officials say is key to allowing the county to reopen, has shown little growth over the past two weeks, remaining steady around 150 PCR-based tests per day.
Across the Commonwealth, the picture is rosier, with the number of new daily cases continuing to fall, tests performed continuing to rise and the average test positivity rate now below 15%. In all, Virginia is reporting 34,950 cases, 4,145 hospitalizations, 1,136 deaths, and 223,433 PCR tests performed statewide.
Work on Virginia Hospital Center’s expansion project has hit a new milestone.
After months of excavation at the site, the first concrete footers are now being poured for the hospital’s new parking garage.
“These footers will support the foundation of the garage and ensure it remains steadfast and strong through the many years to come,” VHC said on social media.
The project was approved in 2018, on a split 3-2 County Board vote amid objections from some nearby residents. It includes a large parking garage and a seven-story outpatient pavilion, “which will provide direct, easy access for patients from their arrival at the parking garage to treatment areas.” The outpatient facility will allow the addition of about 100 beds to the hospital.
The parking garage is expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2021, while construction on the pavilion is set to wrap up by the end of 2021, according to a project web page.
Exciting update on our Hospital #expansion project: The first concrete footers for our new parking garage have been poured! These footers will support the foundation of the garage and ensure it remains steadfast and strong through the many years to come. https://t.co/7nvuvZK00m pic.twitter.com/EEEql7yxhi
— VirginiaHospitalCtr (@VHC_Hospital) May 21, 2020
Special Election Voting Starts Today — “Arlington election officials have announced plans for two Saturday dates for in-person absentee voting in advance of the July 7 County Board special election. Saturday voting will be available on June 20 and July 4, augmenting the usual Monday-to-Friday early voting that will begin May 22.” [InsideNova]
Big Food Donation to Green Valley Church — “3,300 lasagna and vegetable meals donated by chef Jose Andres’ @WCKitchen were given to those in need at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington [on] May 21.” [@ZoeyMaraistACH/Twitter]
Flags In at Ceremony Despite Pandemic — “The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment has continued their tradition of placing American flags at every grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day.” [NBC 4]
Arlingtonian Aims to Run Every Street — “Before the pandemic hit, I hadn’t taken a big vacation in years. Since I’m at a dramatically reduced salary from not working full-time and, like so many Arlingtonians, dealing with underlying stress and anxiety while still feeling incredibly thankful, I’ve decided to use this time to discover my own city by walking or running every street.” [Arlington Magazine]
Local Wages Were Rising at the End of 2019 — “The average weekly wage for those working in Arlington (wherever they may live) stood at $1,963 in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data reported May 20 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s an increase of 4.7 percent from the same period a year before, well above the national growth rate of 3.5 percent (to $1,185).” [InsideNova]
Local Artist Creates Virus Sculptures — “The sculptures seem to be inspired by the latest breaking news headlines. A figure in a stark white face mask. A giant virus cell mutating into a tentacled sea creature that morphs back into a virus… The centerpiece was a spiky model of “a virus, with seven figures running away,” said [Hadrian] Mendoza, 46, a ceramic artist, sculptor and full-time art director at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington since 2017.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Rain and Storms Today — “Waves of showers or storms are a good bet as the slow-moving upper level low pressure system finally decides to wander by. Round one will end in the morning to midday, but skies remain mostly cloudy. If we do see enough sunshine and heating, it’s not impossible some severe storms will develop nearby.” [Capital Weather Gang]
A contingent of National Guard members, some in camo and others in full protective gear, descended on the Sunrise at Ballston Park senior living center today for mass testing of staff and residents.
The coronavirus testing comes amid a worsening outbreak at the facility, located at 5910 Wilson Blvd. While Sunrise had for weeks avoided the kind of large outbreak that has sickened dozens at Regency Care of Arlington in Pentagon City and Brookdale Senior Living in Virginia Square — and possibly others — on Tuesday the facility’s executive director informed families that it had just confirmed the first cases among residents.
“We unfortunately need to report that we currently have three (3) residents who have tested positive for COVID-19,” Sunrise said in an email, obtained by ARLnow. “We continue to serve residents in our community and are working closely with impacted families to support them during this challenging time.”
“We now have had a total of four (4) team members who have tested positive for this virus, 2 more than from our last update,” the email added. “We continue to have ample staff to appropriately serve our residents and are following CDC guidelines to determine when a team member is free to return to work following any exposure, symptoms or diagnosis.”
Sunrise said in the email that it was participating in a state program to test everybody, all at once, at nursing homes and senior living centers that request it.
“We are pleased to confirm that we will be participating in the State of Virginia’s Point Prevalence Survey this Thursday, May 21,” the company told family members. “Virginia’s National Guard will administer COVID-19 testing for all residents and team members… The results are expected back in approximately 72 hours and we will be reaching out to any families where a COVID positive outcome is the result.”
The Point Prevalence Survey (PPS) program was announced by Virginia officials last month as an early intervention tool for slowing outbreaks that spread quickly at long-term care facilities. PPS testing has been conducted in at least one other such facility in Northern Virginia, as reported by NBC 4. A county spokeswoman declined to say whether other facilities in Arlington have received the wide-scale testing.
“The Commonwealth receives and approves the requests for point prevalence surveys at facilities,” said Cara O’Donnell. “Arlington Public Health has encouraged all facilities to conduct point prevalence surveys, and submits the requests from the facilities to the state. We cannot provide information on which facilities have requested this due to health privacy laws.”
As of this morning, the Virginia Dept. of Health reported 14 known COVID-19 outbreaks in Arlington, including nine in long-term care facilities and three in healthcare settings. The county has 1,763 known cases, 346 hospitalizations, and 89 coronavirus-related deaths, according to the latest VDH data.
Nearly half of the 89 deaths were among those ages 80 and above.
Two Arlington teens are facing felony charges after an alleged vandalism spree in the new Dorothy Hamm Middle School.
Police were dispatched to the under-construction school on Vacation Lane — which formerly housed the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program — just after 11 p.m. Wednesday, following a burglar alarm activation. They found two 18-year-olds and a slew of damaged property, according to the Arlington County Police Department.
“Arriving officers established a perimeter and observed the suspects exit the building,” police said in a crime report. “One suspect was taken into custody, while the second suspect attempted to flee on foot. Officers later located the second suspect nearby and took him into custody without incident.”
The teens “were arrested and charged with Burglary with Intent to Commit Larceny/Assault & Battery/Other Felony, Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, Destruction of Property and Consume/Purchase/Possess Alcohol: <21 Years Old,” the crime report said. “They were held on no bond.”
A police spokeswoman said the damage was mostly from graffiti.
“The suspects allegedly tore down posters and papers and spray painted various items throughout the building,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “A cost estimate of damages is ongoing.”
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Arlington and Alexandria firefighters assisted their Fairfax County counterparts in battling a restaurant fire along Route 7 this morning.
Firefighters from several jurisdictions were dispatched shortly before 11:30 a.m. to Edy’s Chicken & Steak Restaurant, at 5240 Leesburg Pike, in a shopping plaza just across the Arlington border in Fairfax.
Fire was reported in the ductwork of the Peruvian rotisserie chicken eatery, complicating the firefighting efforts.
Employees were evacuated from the business. As of 12:30 p.m., the fire was out and no injuries were reported. Fire marshals are investigating the cause of the blaze.
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) May 21, 2020
A man wearing shorts that apparently did not fully cover his genitals prompted calls to police Wednesday in the Donaldson Run neighborhood.
Arlington County Police were dispatched to the area of Zachary Taylor Park, on the 2900 block of Military Road, around 11:30 a.m. and again shortly after 1 p.m. Callers described a tall man who was exposing himself, in sight of children.
On Nextdoor, one poster said her daughters encountered a tall man “with very short athletic shorts and tattoos on his legs.”
“He had short hair and an athletic build and was listening to headphones,” she wrote in a post sent to ARLnow. “The shorts did not cover much if you get my drift! I reported it to the police.”
ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said officers located the man but were unable to find evidence of a crime.
“At approximately 1:18 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of an exposure involving a subject with a similar description to the earlier call for service in the same area,” Savage said. “Officers located an individual matching the description and made contact with him, however, he denied having exposed himself. The reporting party was no longer on scene and did not wish to respond to the Magistrate’s Office to swear out warrants. The incident was documented by responding officers.”
The future of Cafe Pizzaiolo in Shirlington is in doubt, with most of its equipment and furnishings listed on a commercial auction website.
Everything from light fixtures to kitchen equipment to trash cans are on the auction block. The auction website says the restaurant, which is not named but is clearly Cafe Pizzaiolo in photos, “is closing and will make a liquidation.” The auction closes on Wednesday, June 3.
Still, it’s unclear whether this will mean a permanent or a temporary closure for the pizzeria at 2800 S. Randolph Street, which has a sister location nearby on Fern Street in Alexandria. The latter remains open for delivery and takeout.
“Is Cafe Pizzaiolo in Shirlington closing for good or just moving/downsizing?” asked a tipster who sent a link to the Rasmus Auctions site.
Owner Larry Ponzi tells ARLnow that no decision has been reached quite yet.
“The pandemic has caused us to pivot and rethink all of our businesses,” he said. “We have not made any final decisions about [what] our business in Shirlington will look like/function as when the time is right. We are using the time to strip down, clean, and rethink what the future of the business may be.”
Ponzi and wife Christine own Cafe Pizzaiolo, St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub, Market to Market, and the future replacement of Catch on the Ave — all in Alexandria.