(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) The Fairfax County Government Center’s COVID-19 vaccine site has reached capacity for the day, as families across Northern Virginia rush to get their youngest kids inoculated.
The Fairfax County Health Department announced just before noon that it’s no longer accepting new appointments at the government center today (Wednesday), citing the high demand.
The county was among just a handful of places in Northern Virginia to make the newly authorized vaccines for kids under 5 available as soon as yesterday (Tuesday), according to FCHD spokesperson Lucy Caldwell.
Neighboring Arlington County, for example, only made them available today and is requiring scheduled appointments.
“We are delighted with the demand we’ve seen so far,” Caldwell told FFXnow, noting that the government center has been “very popular” over the past two days. “Our county health department staff have planned for this for months.”
With the health department’s current staffing levels, the government center has the capacity to administer 500 to 600 shots per day.
The county is also offering both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for young kids at its South County Government Center clinic (8350 Richmond Highway). Walk-ins at both sites are welcome, but FCHD warns that it is seeing long wait times for walk-in service.
Due to high demand, we have reached capacity and are not accepting new appointments at our main Government Center site today. We are accepting walk-ins at our COVID-19 vaccine clinics, however we are seeing long wait times for walk-in service. We appreciate your patience. pic.twitter.com/1HeOJBF9tc
— FairfaxCounty Health (@fairfaxhealth) June 22, 2022
In general, COVID-19 vaccine appointments can be scheduled through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Administration Management System, but federal staff have run into some issues with updating the system to reflect the latest expansion of eligibility, according to FCHD.
“We are waiting for those updates to be made and have been told they will be in place this evening,” Caldwell said.
The Food and Drug Administration and CDC gave their support to Moderna and Pfizer’s Covid vaccines for kids as young as 6 months of age last week, opening eligibility for vaccination up to nearly 69,000 more Fairfax Health District residents.
The Moderna vaccine is for kids up to 6 years old and requires two doses spaced four to eight weeks apart. Pfizer’s three-dose regimen is targeted toward kids up to 5 years old.
While the shots are also being delivered to pediatric offices, private medical providers, and some retail pharmacies, Caldwell says the county health department clinics have seen many people who got put on their pediatrician’s waitlist “but tell us they do not want to wait.”
Anecdotally, the government center has also gotten visitors from across Northern Virginia, not just the Fairfax Health District, which covers the county and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.
“They are telling us that they are eager and ready to vaccinate their little ones now and they’ve been waiting long enough,” Caldwell said.
According to FCHD data updated at 10:30 a.m., 996,500 Fairfax Health District residents, or 84.2% of the population, have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, including 92.9% of adults.
While the dashboard doesn’t yet include data for kids under 5, the county health department says its two sites delivered shots to 338 children between 6 months and 5 years of age yesterday. The clinics also administered primary or booster doses to 99 adults.
“Today, as of 2:45, we have done 323 children between 6 months and 5 years already,” Caldwell told FFXnow, noting that an additional 80 adults received primary series and booster shots.
Roughly 18 months after COVID-19 vaccines first rolled out to Fairfax County, toddlers and infants can finally get in on the action.
As of noon today (Tuesday), vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer are available for kids under 5 at the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway) and South County Hyland Center (8350 Richmond Highway), no appointment necessary, the Fairfax County Health Department announced.
The recommendation expanded eligibility for vaccination to about 68,984 kids in the Fairfax Health District, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, the county health department told FFXnow last week.
“This is an important milestone in the pandemic as it is the first time that everyone in our community, ages 6 months and older, is eligible to be protected with life-saving vaccines,” Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu said in a statement. “Vaccinating babies, toddlers and young children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19.”
The new pediatric vaccines are administered in smaller doses than those given to adults.
Targeted at kids under 5, the Pfizer vaccine is about a tenth of an adult dose and requires three shots, with the second coming three to eight weeks after the first one and a two-month gap before the third shot. The Moderna vaccine is for kids under 6, about a quarter the size of an adult dose, and only needs two shots delivered four to eight weeks apart.
In addition to the county health department sites, the vaccines may be available from private pediatricians and medical providers as well as retail pharmacies, though state law prohibits the latter from administering shots to people younger than 3.
Vaccine Finder doesn’t list any sites in Northern Virginia with the new vaccines, but Walgreens announced on Saturday (June 18) that it will have vaccines for kids 3 and older at select locations around the country. The company encourages parents and guardians to make appointments in advance.
What to Know About Covid Vaccines for Young Kids — If recommended by the CDC and Virginia Department of Health, COVID-19 vaccines will be available from the Fairfax County Health Department with no appointments needed. Parents should contact their medical provider to see if they will carry the vaccines, which may be harder to find at pharmacies due to a state law that prohibits pharmacists from giving vaccinations to kids younger than 3. [FCHD]
Friends Stunned by Fair Lakes Shooting Deaths — “Now those who knew them are left to reconcile the image of three bodies with memories of an outwardly cheerful trio…who seemed to be always up for a boisterous evening out, for the karaoke nights they enjoyed at Fairfax bars, at Fat Tuesday’s and the Auld Shebeen.” [The Washington Post]
Mosaic District Restaurant Helps Worker After Crash — The Greek restaurant Our Mom Eugenia is helping share a fundraiser for an employee after her daughter was critically injured in last week’s fatal crash in Oakton. The business operator says Katya is “doing well” after being hit by a car while walking home from Oakton High School with her cousin and friend. [NBC4]
Annandale House Fire Started by Lights — Fairfax County fire investigators have determined that a house fire in the 3900 block of Terrace Drive on Saturday (June 11) was started accidentally “by an electrical event involving outdoor string lights” on the backyard deck. The fire displaced seven people and caused approximately $125,000 in damages. [FCFRD]
Victim Says County Prosecutors “Pressured” Her Into Plea Deal — “Julie, not her real name, said she’s been traumatized. First, by a manipulating online predator. Then, by the Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.” [ABC7]
Prepare for Change at Springfield Town Center — “PREIT CEO Joe Coradino said his eye is on reshaping the property into something that more closely resembles its title as a town center, with a greater mix of uses. The introduction of additional components, including the planned Lego Discovery Center and seven-story hotel will help further that aim, he said.” [Washington Business Journal]
Historic Reston Distillery Gets Spotlight — “Thank you Virginia Department of Heritage Resources for promoting #Reston landmark A. Smith Bowman Distillery on #NationalBourbonDay! Read about the only legal whiskey distillery in Virginia in its day, which operated until the 1950s” [Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Twitter]
Restaurant Crawl Coming to Fairfax City on Saturday — The Old Town Fairfax City Summer Crawl is a timed, self-guided tour through participating restaurants, which will offer exclusive small plates and drinks from their menus. The free event will unfold from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., letting patrons “support local restaurants…while enjoying a variety of bites and beverages.” [Fairfax City EDA]
It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 85 and low of 69. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:37 pm. [Weather.gov]
After watching adults and teens across the country go through three, sometimes even four rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations, families with young kids may soon see an end to the agonizing wait for a first shot.
Vaccines for kids under 5 developed by Moderna and Pfizer appear to be safe and effective, according to analyses by federal health officials that the Food and Drug Administration released on June 10 and yesterday (Sunday).
Advisory committees for the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to discuss the topic on Wednesday (June 15) and Friday (June 17), respectively. If they give the vaccines the go-ahead, they could become available as early as next week under an operational plan announced by the White House on Thursday (June 9).
That would open up the vaccines to approximately 68,984 kids in the Fairfax Health District who are between 6 months and 5 years old, the Fairfax County Health Department estimates.
County health department spokesperson Lucy Caldwell confirmed the vaccine would be available early next week, if approved.
“There will be little delay between when CDC and VDH recommend vaccination and when vaccine is available in Fairfax County,” Caldwell said. “Vaccinators, including the health department, were able to pre-order vaccine — which will then be shipped with recommendation from CDC and [the Virginia Department of Health]. We have been planning for this next phase for months.”
The news comes as Fairfax County nears the 1 million mark for people who’ve gotten at least one vaccine dose.
According to the Fairfax County Health Department, at least one vaccine dose has been given to 995,498 residents of the Fairfax Health District, which encompasses the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church as well as the county. That amounts to 84.1% of the population, including:
- 92.8% of people 18 and older
- 98.9% of 16-17 year olds
- 94.8% of 12-15 year olds
- 60.5% of 5-11 year olds
907,014 residents, or 76.6%, are fully vaccinated, including 84.8% of adults. According to the Virginia Department of Health, 518,301 residents — 45% of the population — have gotten a third or booster shot, including 54.4% of adults and 36.3% of adolescents aged 12-17.
After plateauing over the first week of June, COVID-19 cases are now more clearly trending downward in the Fairfax Health District, though local health officials have noted that the increased use of at-home testing means some cases may go unreported.
With an additional 279 cases reported today (Monday), the district is averaging 429 new cases per day for the past week, bringing the average back to early May levels after peaking for this spring at 601 cases on May 25.
The testing positivity rate has dipped from 18.9% on May 31 to 17.9%, as of June 9, with about 400 fewer people getting tested each day.
According to CDC data, COVID-19 hospitalizations have slightly declined in Fairfax County, with 54 new admissions last week through June 10 — a 32% drop from the previous week. However, the percentage of staffed beds used by Covid patients increased by 0.1% to 4%.
With the county recording 287.14 cases per 100,000 residents, the community COVID-19 level is still classified as “medium.”
Overall, the Fairfax Health District has reported 208,182 cases, 4,582 hospitalizations, and 1,522 deaths during the pandemic. The number of deaths remains unchanged from last week due to a two-week blackout period that started last Monday (June 6) for the CDC to reprocess and recode death certificates.
As summer takes hold, COVID-19 transmissions appear to be plateauing in the Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.
After hitting 601 cases on May 25, the peak for this spring, the district’s weekly average dipped to 457.4 cases per day on Thursday (June 2) and is currently sitting at 479.1 cases, according to Virginia Department of Health data.
However, the testing positivity rate continues to increase, reaching 18.7% as of June 2 — the highest mark since Jan. 23 (19.6%). Less than half as many tests are being conducted now compared to this past winter, with encounters declining in the lead-up to and during Memorial Day weekend.
“While the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County has decreased in the past 2 weeks, we urge caution in interpreting this finding,” Dr. Ben Schwartz, the Fairfax County Health Department’s director of epidemiology and population health, said in an emailed statement.
Schwartz noted that many cases are now detected with at-home tests, the results of which aren’t shared with the health department.
Hospitalizations are also still on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which still classifies Fairfax County’s COVID-19 community level as “medium,” since the case rate was 297.68 per 100,000 residents, as of June 2.
An estimated 76 county residents were admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 last week through Friday (June 3). That amounts to 6.6 new admissions per 100,000 residents, a 16.8% increase from the previous seven days.
Patients with a confirmed Covid diagnosis are occupying 3.9% of the county’s staffed, inpatient hospital beds.
The Fairfax Health District reported 355 new cases today (Monday), bringing its totals for the pandemic up to 205,181 cases, 4,564 hospitalizations, and 1,522 deaths — four of them confirmed within the past week.
Schwartz cautioned that the frequency of infections continues to shift with the arrival of different mutations of the omicron variant that fueled this winter’s surge.
A subvariant by the unwieldy name of BA.2.12.1 became the dominant strain in the U.S. in late May. The speed with which it overtook previous subvariants suggests it’s highly transmissible, but there are no indications yet that it causes more severe disease.
“Remaining up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, staying home when ill and getting tested, and talking with your doctor about precautions for people at higher risk of severe illness all continue to be strongly recommended,” Schwartz said.
The Fairfax Health District has 994,503 residents, or 84%, who have gotten at least one Covid vaccine dose, including:
- 92.7% of people 18 and older
- 98.8% of 16-17 year olds
- 94.7% of 12-15 year olds
- 60.2% of 5-11 year olds
There are 905,960 fully vaccinated residents, who make up 76.5% of the population. That includes 84.7% of adults.
According to VDH, third or booster shots have been given to 515,281 Fairfax County residents, or 44.8%, including 54.2% of adults and 35.9% of adolescents aged 12-17.
Photo via sarah b/Unsplash
Roughly 27 months after its first reported infection, the Fairfax Health District has officially recorded more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases.
To be exact, there have now been 202,162 cases in Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, according to the Fairfax County Health Department. 4,568 residents have been hospitalized, and 1,518 residents have died during the pandemic.
The spring surge in transmission continued over the three-day Memorial Day weekend, with 1,469 new cases reported for Saturday through Monday (May 28-30). Another 335 cases were added today (Tuesday), bringing the district’s weekly average up to 604.4 cases per day.
That is slightly down from 614 cases yesterday (Monday), which was the highest seven-day average since Feb. 2 (636 cases).
The Virginia Department of Health’s data dashboard suggests the current case trajectory is starting to flatten out. After climbing from around 300 cases at the beginning of May to more than 500 cases at the month’s midpoint, the district’s weekly average increased at about half that rate over the latter half of May.
However, the testing positivity rate remains high, reaching 18% as of Friday (May 27). That’s the highest mark since Jan. 24. The number of tests conducted per day has ticked down over the past week, from a spring high of 2,808 encounters last Tuesday (May 24) to 2,587 on Friday.
With a case rate per 100,000 residents of 355.81, Fairfax County’s community COVID-19 level is still “medium,” per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been 7.7 new Covid-related hospital admissions per 100,000 residents over the past week, and 3% of staffed, inpatient beds are being used by people with the disease.
According to the county health department, 993,197 Fairfax Health District residents, or 83.9% of the population, have received at least one Covid vaccine dose, including:
- 92.6% of people 18 and older
- 98.7% of 16-17 year olds
- 94.6% of 12-15 year olds
- 59.97% of 5-11 year olds
The district has 904,487 fully vaccinated residents, who constitute 76.4% of the population. That includes 84.6% of adults.
According to the VDH, 512,434 Fairfax County residents, or 44.5%, have gotten a third or booster dose, including 54% of adults and 35.5% of adolescents aged 12-17.
Neither the county nor the state health department lists data for how many kids aged 5 to 11 have gotten a booster now that they’re eligible.
More than half of the school-aged kids in Fairfax County — 53.6%, to be precise — are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
That means more than 57,000 Fairfax Health District residents aged 5 to 11 have gotten both shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine since they became eligible for it in early November, according to the Fairfax County Health Department.
The FCHD confirmed on Friday (May 20) that booster shots are now available for that age group after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee issued a recommendation the previous day.
Kids are eligible for the booster once at least five months have passed since they took the original two-dose regimen, which is the case for most fully vaccinated kids in the district, the county health department says.
“Data showed that side effects from a booster dose for children aged 5-11 years were similar to those seen after the primary series,” the FCHD said. “They were generally mild and could include pain at the injection site, fatigue and headache.”
In general, vaccination demand has leveled out since February, though the nationwide campaign could get another jolt if a vaccine for kids under 5 is finally authorized this summer.
In the Fairfax Health District, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, 992,580 residents have gotten at least one vaccine dose. That is 83.9% of the population, including:
- 92.6% of people aged 18 and older
- 98.7% of 16-17 year olds
- 94.6% of 12-15 year olds
- 59.8% of 5-11 year olds
903,645 residents — 76.4% of the population — are fully vaccinated, including 84.5% of adults.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, 507,835 county residents, or 44.1%, have gotten a booster shot, including 53.8% of adults and 35% of adolescents aged 12-17.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in our community, testing remains critical to stop community transmission.
❗❗ Testing is important as prevention because those who are positive should stay home and away from others.
— Fairfax County Government 🇺🇸 🌻 (@fairfaxcounty) May 23, 2022
The FCHD has emphasized the importance of vaccinations and testing for combatting COVID-19, as other protocols like masking and social distancing have largely fallen away, despite an ongoing surge in cases.
The Fairfax Health District’s 17% positivity rate as of May 19 is the highest it has been since Jan. 25.
After recording more than 700 new cases twice last week, the first time daily case counts have reached that level since late January, the Fairfax Health District is averaging 586.7 cases per day for the past week, according to VDH data.
That remains well under the pandemic’s all-time peak of 2,590 cases on Jan. 13, but it’s seven times the number of cases seen in March, when the seven-day average reached a low for the year of 77.1 cases on March 22.
Hospitalizations have ticked up again, as an estimated 79 new COVID-19 patients were admitted last week through Friday, a 60.5% increase over the previous week, according to the CDC. That amounts to 6.9 new hospital admissions per 100,000 residents, and 2.9% of staffed inpatient beds are currently being used by people with Covid.
Fairfax County saw 338.9 new cases per 100,000 residents from May 15 through Saturday (May 21), keeping its COVID-19 community level at “medium.”
With 405 cases added today (Monday), the Fairfax Health District has now reported 197,931 cases, 4,537 hospitalizations, and 1,517 deaths during the pandemic.
The Fairfax Health District could potentially reach 200,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of May, if the ongoing surge in transmission continues at its current rate.
After seeing a single-day high of 630 cases for this spring on Friday (May 13), the district is averaging 530.7 cases a day for the past week — the highest seven-day average since Feb. 4, when it was at 562 cases.
The current testing positivity rate of 15.4% is the highest that metric has been since late January, though about 2,000 fewer tests are being conducted each day.
In a more hopeful sign, hospitalizations have dipped slightly after increasing by more than 50% last Monday (May 9). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 49 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals last week as of Friday, an 8.5% decline from the previous seven days.
Fairfax County has reported 4.3 new hospital admissions per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, and 2.3% of beds are occupied by Covid patients. Because the county is recording 298 cases per 100,000 residents, its COVID-19 community level has been classified as medium for a second consecutive week.
In total, 4,523 Fairfax Health District residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 1,514 people have died, with the most recent confirmed fatality coming on May 7, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Per the Fairfax County Health Department’s dashboard, 991,353 residents, or 83.8%, have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose at this point, including:
- 92.5% of people 18 and older
- 98.6% of 16-17 year olds
- 94.5% of 12-15 year olds
- 59.6% of 5-11 year olds
902,264 residents — 76.2% of the population — are fully vaccinated, including 84.4% of adults.
The VDH reports that 504,480 county residents, or 43.8%, have received a booster or third shot, including 53.5% of adults and 34.7% of adolescents aged 12 to 17.
The national COVID-19 death toll reached 1 million people today, with roughly three out of every four deaths involving someone who was 65 or older, according to the Associated Press. Flags across the county and the U.S. were lowered to half-mast over the weekend in recognition of the losses over the past two years.
The U.S., state and county flags remain lowered to half-staff today at all county government facilities in memory of the one million American lives lost to COVID-19 and their loved ones left behind. The flags will remain at half-staff until sunset today. pic.twitter.com/Zvora2UE8c
— Fairfax County Government 🇺🇸 🌻 (@fairfaxcounty) May 16, 2022
(Updated on 5/16/2022) Hospitalizations for COVID-19 remain low in Fairfax County, but they have started to climb in recent weeks as the latest surge in the disease continues.
An estimated 52 new residents were admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 last week through Friday (May 6), a 54.2% increase from the previous seven days, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The county has seen 4.6 new admissions per 100,000 people in the past seven days, and 1.8% of staffed, inpatient hospital beds are currently being used by Covid patients. Both of those numbers fall well within the threshold for a “low” level of COVID-19, but with the county reporting over 200 new cases per 100,000 residents, the CDC increased its community level to “medium” on Thursday (May 5).
The Fairfax Health District, including the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, added 300 cases today (Monday), bringing its seven-day average up to 450.7 cases — the highest it has been since Feb. 6 (456 cases), according to the Virginia Department of Health.
The district has recorded 190,109 COVID-19 cases, 4,493 hospitalizations, and 1,512 deaths so far in the pandemic. The most recent confirmed death came on April 16.
Attributing the current surge of coronavirus cases to the spread of highly contagious omicron subvariants, Fairfax County Health Department officials said in a blog post on Friday that testing and vaccinations have become especially critical as mask-wearing, social distancing, and other mitigation measures have largely fallen by the wayside.
“We all want COVID-19 to be over; but unfortunately, we are not seeing that,” Fairfax County Director of Epidemiology and Population Health Dr. Benjamin Schwartz said in a statement. “Even if you think your symptoms may be due to allergies, getting tested is important to make sure it’s not really COVID-19.”
Averaging 2,464 encounters as of May 5, the Fairfax Health District’s testing positivity rate has quadrupled over the past month, climbing from 3.8% on April 4 to 13.7%. The last time the positivity rate hit that mark was Jan. 30, though more than 4,500 people were getting tested at that time.
More than 900,000 district residents — 900,815 people, to be exact — have gotten fully vaccinated. That constitutes 76.1% of the population, including 84.2% of people 18 and older.
There are 990,491 residents, or 83.7%, who have received at least one vaccine dose, including:
- 92.4% of adults
- 98.6% of 16-17 year olds
- 94.4% of 12-15 year olds
- 59.3% of 5-11 year olds
According to the county health department, a total of 487,809 residents have gotten a booster or third shot, ranging from 30.2% of adolescents aged 12-15 to 80.7% of people aged 75-84.
The calendar may have turned a page, but COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County keep going up.
The Fairfax Health District, which also includes Fairfax and Falls Church cities, has added 812 cases over the past three days, according to the Virginia Department of Health, which didn’t report new cases on Saturday or Sunday (April 30-May 1).
The district is averaging 307 cases per day for the past week — nearly four times the 77.1 cases recorded on March 22, which remains the lowest weekly average of the year. The district last averaged over 300 cases on Feb. 11 (319.9 cases), as the pandemic’s winter surge was waning.
While hospitalizations are still relatively low, they have noticeably increased over the past month. Another 30 Fairfax County residents were admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 last week, a 23% increase from the previous seven days, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through Friday (April 29).
Virginia’s northern region is averaging 60 hospitalizations per day for the week, a roughly 60% increase from three weeks ago.
In addition, four more district residents have died from COVID-19 since last week, bringing the overall death toll to 1,511 people, according to Fairfax County Health Department data. The district has recorded 186,954 cases and 4,484 hospitalizations.
While the BA.2 omicron subvariant has been the predominant Covid strain during this surge, the VDH reported on Friday that another, even more transmissible omicron subvariant, dubbed BA.2.12.1, “is beginning to make inroads” nationally, particularly in New York and the northeastern part of the U.S.
In a blog post last Tuesday (April 26), the county health department again urged community members to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so already.
“There are instances where some vaccinated people get COVID illness, but the disease will be milder and they will have a reduced chance of hospitalization,” the FCHD said. “Consider wearing a mask in indoor settings, avoiding crowds and taking other precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safer.”
More than three-quarters of Fairfax Health District residents — 76% or 898,938 people — are now considered fully vaccinated. That’s 1,312 more people than this time last week, and it includes 84.1% of all people aged 18 and older.
A total of 988,831 residents, or 83.5% of the population, has gotten at least one dose:
- 92.3% of adults
- 98.5% of 16-17 year olds
- 94.3% of 12-15 year olds
- 59.1% of 5-11 year olds
According to VDH, about 43.3% of county residents, or 498,156 people, have received a booster or third shot, including 52.8% of adults and 34.1% of adolescents aged 12-17.