(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Fairfax County saw its largest-ever increase in coronavirus cases among fire and emergency medical responders this month, mirroring a surge in case rates compared to 2020.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department data shows that there are 53 positive cases and 14 in quarantine, all staying at home to curb the spread of COVID-19. That’s the most cases the department has seen at one time, according to county figures as of Sunday (Dec. 26).
After FFXnow published its story this morning, the FCFRD released an update stating that the positive case count has now reached 66 workers.
Increasing cases have forced the department to reduce extra medic units at three stations: Station 8 in Annandale, the Mount Vernon Station 9 in Hybla Valley, and Station 10 in Bailey’s Crossroads.
The fire department also revealed today (Wednesday) that a tower ladder in Franconia is out of service temporarily, and there are special cross-staffing arrangements in place in two hazardous materials units and four tankers.
“Our goal is to return to normal operations as quickly and safely as possible as the number of positive covid cases decline within the department,” Fire Chief John Butler said in a statement following FFXnow’s coverage. “We appreciate the support and patience of our residents and visitors.”
It’s also relying more on volunteers.
“We use volunteers at those 12 partner stations routinely, so this isn’t anything necessarily beyond the norm; it’s just that we’re utilizing them a little more than usual,” FCFRD spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt said, adding that the volunteers are assisting as needed, such as an extra person or two on a shift.
The department has 1,260 career staff across 38 stations. The three stations that cut medic units typically have two units, so they were reduced to one.
“No one’s without coverage,” Hildebrandt said. “We have a lot of data points, and we looked through a bunch of options to make sure that…no one notices a disruption of service.”
The uptick in infections has not affected any one particular station, but FCFRD says it has made temporary staffing adjustments to keep service as regular as possible.
The department has seen 298 cases overall since COVID-19 became widespread in the U.S. in the spring of 2020. Most new cases in America now consist of the Omicron variant, which might spread more easily than the Delta variant but could be less severe for those fully vaccinated who have also received booster shots, research teams have found.
Most of the cases among Fairfax County’s emergency responders have occurred in 2021. Over 245 cases so far have been logged as fully recovered.
The positive cases mean local rescue workers must stay home for 10 days. That’s based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Fairfax County Health Department.
The CDC, however, changed that timeframe on Monday (Dec. 27), reducing its recommended isolation time from 10 days to five days for asymptomatic individuals, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others. And the county health department announced last night (Tuesday) that it has adjusted its guidance to align with the CDC.
Amidst the changes, Hildebrandt said today (Wednesday) that because the county health department switch just happened, FCFRD has yet to discuss switching its 10-day isolation period for positive cases.
It’s unclear when normal schedules could return, but it depends on a decline in COVID-19 cases, according to the department.
Photo via Google Maps
A man died last night after being hit by a vehicle in the Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) intersection with Allen Street in West Falls Church. The Fairfax County Police Department…
A special education teacher at Marshall High School in Idylwood has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a student more than once, Fairfax County police announced Friday night (Dec. 2). Two…
I-66 HOV Change Starts Today — “The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reminds travelers that starting Monday, Dec. 5, vehicles will need three or more occupants to qualify as a…
Good Friday evening! Today we published 7 articles that were read a total of 11171 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…
If you’re looking for a mental health professional in Virginia, Washington D.C., or Maryland, we can help.
We provide a confidential and convenient way to get the help you need from the comfort of your own home.
We offer a free 15-minute consultation to see if our services fit your needs.
The services we offer are:
Art House 7 is a small art studio in Arlington – offering instruction in painting, ceramics, sewing and more. We are looking for kind, dedicated people who love both creating and teaching.
Ceramic Teachers are needed to teach wheel-throwing to adults and 6-12th graders and to teach hand building to elementary grades. Classes have 3-8 students.
Drawing teachers are needed to teach either kids or adults. For kids, we offer cartooning, manga or traditional drawing. For adults, we only offer traditional drawing.
Painting teachers are needed to teach either kids or adults. We offer oil, acrylic or watercolor for adults or teens. All elementary classes use acrylic and tempera.
Join the chorus this holiday season with The Reston Chorale’s annual MESSIAH Sing-Along, 7:30 pm at St. John Neumann Catholic Church (Chapel), 11900 Lawyers Road, Reston, VA. Featuring Guest Soloists Grace Srinivasen, soprano; Melissa Cregger, mezzo soprano; Joseph Regan, tenor,