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Fairfax County starts to plan for a Covid memorial

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approves planning a Covid memorial in the county (via Fairfax County)

Planning is underway for a memorial to commemorate Fairfax County’s COVID-19 victims and the impact of the pandemic.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay said at a meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 8) that his office has been working with county team on the creation of a memorial.

The board approved the proposal to direct staff from Facilities Management, the Park Authority and other agencies to put together, by May 1, a cost estimate, timeline and design options for a memorial to be built on county or park property.

“We started this conversation early on and staff is well on their way to bringing back some formal recommendations on a creative way that we can permanently recognize the loss of life, but also all the personal sacrifices people in and throughout this county and region have made over the last two years,” McKay said.

McKay recalled joining public health officials on March 7, 2020 to announce the first presumptive COVID-19 case in Virginia, now 23 months ago to the day of the board meeting.

“Since that time, as we know, life has not been the same,” he said.

In his board matter, he discussed how residents have embraced vaccinations, masking, physical distancing, testing, and quarantine to protect themselves and the community.

As of Feb. 1, more than 80.0% of all Fairfax County residents have received at least one vaccine dose and there are more than 300 vaccination sites across the county. Our school age kids who have received at least one vaccine dose include: 46.7% of children 5-11 years, 90.1% of those 12-15, and 94.6% of those age 16-17 years.

While this is great positive progress, we all know we still feel the impact of the significant loss of life our community has experienced throughout the pandemic. There have been more than 170,000 COVID-19 cases within the Fairfax Health District. Sadly, this has resulted in more than 4,400 hospitalizations and 1,284 deaths.

Fairfax County has seen a decline in Covid cases over the past few weeks since the omicron variant fueled a spike around Christmas.

As of yesterday, the Fairfax Health District, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, has recorded a total of 173,393 cases, 4,401 hospitalizations, and 1,344 deaths.

McKay emphasized that he wanted the county to do something permanent to memorialize the last two years.

“I want to make sure that we don’t forget ever the lives of so many people in Fairfax County who passed away as a result of Covid, especially those very early on, when we were still learning about the importance of so many of the safety measures and the importance of vaccinations, that didn’t get a chance to even do those right things that I mentioned in my Board Matter and sadly perished,” he said.

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