Inova has temporarily closed four of its urgent care centers, including ones in Reston (1488 Northpoint Village Center) and Tysons (8357 Leesburg Pike), to manage an influx of patients without overwhelming exhausted staff.

Inova told FFXnow that it has consolidated staff from the shuttered urgent care centers at other sites “to better accommodate patient volume.” The other centers that have been closed are in Arlington, as reported by ARLnow, and Purcellville.

According to Inova’s website, urgent care centers in Vienna, Centreville, West Springfield, and Chantilly remain open.

“These closures are temporary and we anticipate they will reopen by the end of the year or sooner,” Inova Health Systems spokesperson Tracy Connell said by email.

Typically open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Inova’s urgent care centers provide various same-day medical services, including treatment for minor illnesses and injuries, X-rays, sports physicals, lab tests, and most recently, evaluations for COVID-19.

The temporary closures came in response to “significantly high volumes” of patients that Inova has been experiencing, Connell says, noting that other health systems across the country have encountered the same trend.

On top of an influx of COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant, Virginia hospitals have reported getting more patients with more medically complex conditions, including people who delayed seeking care last year due to stay-at-home orders and fear of contracting the coronavirus, according to Virginia Mercury.

At the same time, many hospitals have been hit by staffing shortages as nurses and other medical professionals strained by months of working through the pandemic opt to quit or retire.

According to Connell, that has not been an issue for Inova, even though it was the first major health care system in Northern Virginia to issue a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees.

“We are not experiencing a staffing shortage, but we are actively working to manage staffing needs so as to avoid fatigue and burnout among our team members who have performed at an extraordinarily high level throughout the pandemic,” she said.

Over 99% of Inova employees received at least one vaccine dose by the organization’s Sept. 1 deadline. 86 workers — just 0.4% of Inova’s workforce — “chose to leave the organization rather than comply with our vaccination policy,” Connell says.

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Lightning (via Breno Machado/Unsplash)

(Updated at 7:20 a.m.) A transformer blowing out? A meteor? Or just really loud thunder?

A big boom was reported across a wide swath of Fairfax County from Reston and Herndon to McLean around 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday, leaving many residents confused regarding the possible source.

The sound was likely caused by loud thunder that accompanied a storm that was crossing the area at the time. 

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported that it dispatched units to the 13000 block of Woodland Park Road in Reston at approximately 10:59 a.m. after a building there was struck by lightning.

One McLean resident told FFXnow by email that she heard “a loud boom/explosion that did not sound like thunder” around about 10:35 a.m.

“We are on Brook Rd between Rt 7 and Old Dominion Dr.,” Diane Van Tuyl wrote. “My friend in Great Falls on Towlston Rd also heard it. She felt rumbling and some shaking.”

Other residents took to social media to share their bafflement regarding the possible source of the sound, which one user compared to a concussion grenade:

Last week, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said a similar boom heard through the greater Shenandoah County region was a fireball

This time, meteorologists with the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang say they’re reasonably confident it was a particularly powerful lightning strike that happened during atmospheric conditions that allowed it to be heard from miles away.

Photo via Breno Machado/Unsplash

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