Home Coronavirus Five Largest Northern Virginia Localities Urge Governor Northam to Implement “Forward Virginia”...

Five Largest Northern Virginia Localities Urge Governor Northam to Implement “Forward Virginia” Plan “Only Once Regional Threshold Metrics Have Been Met”

Leaders of Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William: "all five metrics for Northern Virginia are either unmet or cannot be determined based on currently available data"

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See below for a press release this morning from Fairfax County Emergency Information, which says: “The chief elected officials of the five largest localities in Northern Virginia have sent a letter to Governor Northam, supporting his “Forward Virginia” reopening plan in general but urging him to implement it for the region only once regional threshold metrics have been met…’We eagerly wish to rebuild our economy and help our residents recover,’ wrote Mayor Justin Wilson (Alexandria) and Chairs Libby Garvey (Arlington County), Jeff McKay (Fairfax County), Phyllis Randall (Loudoun County) and Ann Wheeler (Prince William County). ‘It is only through our regional achievement of these milestones that we will be positioned to avoid a more damaging return to business closures later in the summer.’” They add, “all five metrics for Northern Virginia are either unmet or cannot be determined based on currently available data.”

Northern Virginia Localities Urge Governor to Set Regional Targets for Reopening

coronavirus (COVID-19) update from Fairfax County

Posted at 10 a.m.

The chief elected officials of the five largest localities in Northern Virginia have sent a letter to Governor Northam, supporting his “Forward Virginia” reopening plan in general but urging him to implement it for the region only once regional threshold metrics have been met.

Although the metrics appear likely to be met statewide by May 15, this does not appear to be the case for Northern Virginia. The 2.5 million residents of the city of Alexandria and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William represent nearly a third of the population of Virginia and half of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

We eagerly wish to rebuild our economy and help our residents recover,” wrote Mayor Justin Wilson (Alexandria) and Chairs Libby Garvey (Arlington County), Jeff McKay (Fairfax County), Phyllis Randall (Loudoun County) and Ann Wheeler (Prince William County). “It is only through our regional achievement of these milestones that we will be positioned to avoid a more damaging return to business closures later in the summer.”

The Forward Virginia plan requires the following metrics be met before the first phase of reopening can occur statewide:

  1. A downward trend of positive test results over a period of 14 days;
  2. A downward trend of hospitalizations over a period of 14 days;
  3. Sufficient hospital beds and intensive care capacity;
  4. Increasing and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment such as masks, respirators, gloves and gowns; and
  5. Increased testing and tracing.

According to an analysis by the region’s public health directors, all five metrics for Northern Virginia are either unmet or cannot be determined based on currently available data.

Regardless of the timeline for reopening, it is critical that everyone continue to vigilantly practice the actions proven to help stop the spread of COVID-19. These include staying home as much as possible and especially when sick; frequent hand washing; covering coughs and sneezes; cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly; staying at least 6 feet apart from other people when outside the home; and wearing a cloth face covering over the nose and mouth when it is essential to be in public and physical distancing practices are difficult to maintain.

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From Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay:

Reopening our businesses is crucial to moving forward and I share our community’s desire to do that soon. The health of our residents is necessary for the health of our economy. I appreciate the Governor outlining the strategic criteria he will use as the Commonwealth moves to reopen. I agree that any decision to reopen be made following the specific criteria that the Governor outlined.

Northern Virginia’s Health Directors tell me that those same health criteria needed to move forward are not currently being met in our region. We are hopeful this will soon change. I’ve provided information from our Northern Virginia Health Directors to the Governor, jointly with the mayors and chairs of our surrounding jurisdictions, so he can take it into consideration before he makes a final decision later this week. We all want to reopen our economy in the safest, data-driven way possible. Regardless of the Governor’s decision about how we move forward, we will continue to monitor our local statistics and be fully transparent about where we stand as a region. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our state and federal partners throughout this pandemic.

See below for my joint letter with Chair Randall, Chair Wheeler, Chair Garvey, and Mayor Wilson and a memo from the Northern Virginia Health Directors to the State Health Commissioner.