Tysons, VA

(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) The Fairfax County Health Department has expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine appointments to all Phase 1c workers, bringing the county one step closer to opening registration up to the general adult population.

Starting today (Wednesday), people who live or work in the Fairfax Health District and are employed in the following industries can sign up for a vaccine appointment through the health department:

  • Barbers, stylists, and hairdressers
  • Finance
  • Information technology and communication
  • Media
  • Legal services
  • Public safety engineers, including emergency communication centers and heavy and civil engineering construction
  • Other public health workers, such as public health program administrators and researchers in physical, engineering, and life sciences

The Fairfax Health District encompasses Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and the towns of Clifton, Herndon and Vienna.

Individuals who are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination can register through the Fairfax County Health Department’s website or by contacting the department’s call center at 703-324-7404.

This latest expansion of eligibility comes just two days after Fairfax County opened vaccine registrations up to an initial group of Phase 1c workers, including food service workers, cleaning and janitorial staff, and faculty and staff at higher education institutions.

“We expect to move into Phase 2 by April 18 in accordance with federal and state goals for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout,” the health department says.

President Joe Biden declared yesterday (Tuesday) that everyone 16 and older will be eligible to register for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, ahead of his previous target date of May 1.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced on April 1 that all of Virginia will reach Phase 2 — the general adult population — by April 18, though some jurisdictions could advance to that point sooner than others. Fairfax County has said it can meet that deadline as long as it receives a sufficient supply of doses.

According to its vaccine dashboard, the county received 40,950 first and second vaccine doses from the Virginia Department of Health during the week of March 29 to April 4, a step down from the roughly 55,000 doses that came in the previous week.

The Fairfax County Health Department says that it ordered 18,000 fewer doses last week, because some of its partners had unused vaccine that got carried over from the previous week, which can happen on occasion when there is a delay in a partner coming onboard or fewer people come through a particular site than projected.

“The number of vaccinations performed in the health district was not impacted,” the department told Tysons Reporter. “This week, vaccine orders are at normal levels.”

The county health department is currently making appointments for individuals who registered on March 30. There are more than 36,000 people on the waitlist right now, 9% of the 395,096 people who have registered since December.

According to VDH data, 368,665 Fairfax County residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 196,304 residents have been fully vaccinated. More than 1.6 million Virginians have now been fully vaccinated — 18.8% of the state’s population.

Photo by Karen Bolt/Fairfax County Public Schools

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Fairfax County Public Schools students will offer four days of in-person instruction to select students starting this week, FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand announced yesterday (Monday).

The opportunity to get four days of in-person classes has been extended first to the pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been experiencing the most significant challenges in virtual and hybrid learning.

FCPS says school personnel identified these students using the school system’s Multi-Tiered Systems of Support model, which takes into account students’ behavior and social and emotional well-being as well as their academic success.

Other students may be able to receive four days of in-person classes starting the week of April 20, but only if their families opted for in-person learning in the fall and they are currently attending two days of in-person classes.

“I am thrilled to announce that FCPS is continuing to move forward with bringing back additional students to in-person learning — particularly our students who are experiencing the greatest learning challenges,” Brabrand said. “Overall, we see this as very good news for FCPS students, families, staff, and the community and will help us prepare for five days of in-person instruction this fall.”

Brabrand told the Fairfax County School Board on March 16 that FCPS could expand in-person learning to four days on a limited basis after spring break, with the goal of providing more support to students with disabilities, English-language learners, and others who have especially struggled this year.

To ensure that there would be sufficient capacity, FCPS required students who opted for some in-person learning to confirm that they were attending school regularly by March 26, the day before spring break. If they were not in class, they risked being reverted to all-virtual instruction.

FCPS spokesperson Lucy Caldwell says that the school system does not have an exact figure for how many students were sent back to virtual learning, but those decisions were handled on school-by-school basis.

The expansion of in-person learning comes even though FCPS is instructing all staff and students at middle and high schools to maintain six feet of social distancing, citing Fairfax County’s high rate of community transmission of COVID-19.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance for schools on March 19 to recommend at least three feet of social distancing in classrooms if everyone wears a face mask. However, the federal agency also said that middle and high school students should be at least six feet apart in communities with high transmission levels.

“This recommendation is because COVID-19 transmission dynamics are different in older students — that is, they are more likely to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and spread it than younger children,” the CDC said.

The CDC determines community transmission levels primarily based on testing positivity rates and the number of new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days. Fairfax County has recorded 103.4 new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days, and 5.2% of all PCR tests have been positive, as of the week of March 27, according to the Virginia Department of Health’s school metrics dashboard.

Caldwell says that the ability of schools to accommodate four days of in-person learning varies widely based on current occupancy, the size of classrooms and lunchroom spaces, furniture, and staffing.

“Some of our schools DO have open space,” she said in an email to Tysons Reporter. “Some students who were expected to come back in-person did not; school staff reached out to those families who’s students did not show up and ascertained whether or not we might have open seats through those discussions. We are addressing these open seat opportunities now.”

In-person attendance currently ranges from 20 to 80% depending on the specific school, according to Caldwell, who also noted that staffing levels could become insufficient if employees need to quarantine.

As of Monday, FCPS has recorded 1,253 COVID-19 cases since Sept. 8, including 660 cases among staff and 440 among students. Public health officials are currently investigating outbreaks at McLean High School, South Lakes High School, and the Word of Life Christian Academy, according to VDH.

The outbreak at McLean High was reported to the state on March 25. According to the dashboard, this is the second outbreak at the school after another one was reported on March 11.

“Each school is working within their own capacity to accommodate additional in-person opportunities for students whose families have already expressed a desire for them,” Caldwell said.

Photo via FCPS

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The Fairfax Health District has officially opened eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to select groups of essential workers in Phase 1c, the Fairfax County Health Department announced this morning (Monday).

Individuals who can now register for a vaccine appointment include:

  • Food service workers
  • Housing and construction workers
  • Higher education faculty and staff
  • Workers who deal with water, wastewater, and waste removal
  • Workers in transportation and logistics roles, a broad category that ranges from airline pilots and taxi drivers to car mechanics and warehouse or storage employees

This applies to anyone who lives or works in the Fairfax Health District, which encompasses Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and the towns of Clifton, Herndon, and Vienna.

Fairfax County’s advancement to Phase 1c comes shortly after Gov. Ralph Northam declared on April 1 that Virginia will reach Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout by April 18, meaning that all residents 16 and older will be able to register to get vaccinated.

“We expect to move into the rest of Phase 1c later this week and move into Phase 2 by April 18 in accordance with federal and state goals for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout,” the Fairfax County Health Department said.

The remaining priority groups in Phase 1c are workers in finance, media, information technology and communications, and legal services as well as public safety engineers and barbers and hairstylists.

While vaccination efforts have been picking up in recent weeks, COVID-19 case levels have remained fairly consistent in Fairfax County and Virginia as a whole since mid-March after a two-month-long decline.

The Fairfax Health District reported 127 new cases today, including 123 cases in Fairfax County, one case in the City of Fairfax, and three cases in the City of Falls Church. The district has now recorded 73,175 COVID-19 cases, 3,820 related hospitalizations, and 1,072 deaths.

Fairfax County has averaged 150 new cases per day over the past seven days, a slight dip after the weekly average hovered between 160 and 180 cases throughout the latter half of March.

The plateau in case levels throughout the D.C. region has raised concerns that public health restrictions are being relaxed too quickly, potentially setting the stage for another surge in transmission before vaccines are widespread enough to curb the novel coronavirus’ spread.

According to the Virginia Department of Health dashboard, 355,871 Fairfax County residents have gotten at least one vaccine dose, and 186,701 residents have been fully vaccinated. Statewide, more than 1.5 million people have been fully vaccinated — 18.1% of Virginia’s population.

The Fairfax County Health Department vaccine dashboard indicates that the county received just 12,870 doses for the week of March 29 to April 4, a significant drop from the more than 55,000 doses that came from the state one week earlier.

An FCHD spokesperson says that the county ordered fewer doses last week because some of its partners did not utilize their full supply the previous week. The spokesperson also noted that the dashboard only includes first doses.

“Last week was also a large second dose week,” the spokesperson said. “…With first and second doses, we had a combined 40,950 doses last week.”

The spokesperson added that the dashboard will soon be updated to reflect both first and second dose supplies to provide “a more complete picture” of the county’s weekly inventory.

Images via Fairfax County Health Department, Virginia Department of Health

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(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Fairfax County is continuing to partner with Giant to offer COVID-19 vaccinations at eight pharmacies, county health officials say.

Giant Food announced earlier this week that vaccines will be available at all 152 in-store pharmacies in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. Previously, the supermarket company was offering vaccines at about half of its in-store pharmacies.

The announcement, however, does not change the ongoing partnership between the county and Giant first established in February, in which Giant uses a portion of its vaccine supply to inoculate individuals on the county’s waitlist, county health officials confirm to Reston Now.

The eight Giant pharmacies working in partnership with the county are using the Pfizer vaccine and include locations in Annandale, Alexandria, Herndon, and Springfield, according to county health officials.

The Fairfax County Health Department’s vaccine dashboard shows that 26,395 people remain on the waitlist, meaning they are eligible, registered, and waiting for an invitation to schedule an appointment. As of noon today, the county is currently making appointments for those who registered on March 25.

Giant’s vaccine supply comes from the federal vaccination program, while the county receives allocations from the Virginia Department of Health.

There are also more than dozen other Giant locations in Fairfax County that are offering the vaccine but not in partnership with the county, which can be obtained going through the store’s appointment scheduler.

A Giant spokesperson tells Reston Now that each in-store pharmacy in the county currently has, on average, 15 to 20 appointments daily. They are using the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.

Overall, local health departments and retail pharmacies like Giant have administered the most doses by far in Virginia. Pharmacies have administered nearly 880,000 doses, and local health departments have administered about 1.17 million doses.

While Giant notes on its website that those 65 and over will be “prioritized,” all individuals in Phase 1a and Phase 1b are eligible, including first responders, grocery workers, and public transit workers (including rideshare drivers).

Officials needed to maintain continuity of government, clergy, and janitorial staff were also added to Fairfax County’s eligibility list earlier this week.

The county announced yesterday (Thursday) that they will move into Phase 1c next week and plan to expand eligibility to all adults by April 18, per Gov. Ralph Northam’s timeline.

The county health department and its partners have administered 390,740 vaccine doses so far — an increase of 27,000 doses from yesterday and enough for approximately 34% of the county’s population, though the total includes first and second doses.

According to the VDH, 333,353 Fairfax County residents have received at least one vaccine dose, and 170,365 residents have been fully vaccinated.

Photo via Google Maps

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Fairfax County is committing to expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults by April 18, as long as there is sufficient supply, county officials tell Tysons Reporter.

This comes on the heels of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s announcement earlier today (April 1) that all individuals in the Commonwealth over the age of 16 should be eligible for the vaccine starting Sunday, April 18.

“I know that our residents are looking forward to getting vaccinated and to be able to again spend time with their loved ones,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement to Tysons Reporter. “Fairfax County is ready and prepared to move forward to meet the Governor’s and President Biden’s deadlines. I’m excited that we can continue to open eligibility and vaccinate even more people.”

The April 18 goal is ahead of the May 1 deadline set by President Joe Biden in mid-March for making all American adults eligible for the vaccine.

Governor Northam’s press release notes that this is because the state is making solid progress on delivering the vaccine to currently eligible populations.

“Nearly every Virginian in the highest risk groups who has pre-registered for a vaccination appointment has received one, and those still on the pre-registration list will receive appointment invitations within the next two weeks,” the governor’s office said.

The release also says that nearly 4 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the Commonwealth. More than one in three adults have gotten at least one dose, and one in five are fully vaccinated.

21 out of 35 Virginia’s health districts have also moved to Phase 1c, which encompasses additional essential workers like food servers and construction workers.

After opening eligibility for all people in Phase 1b earlier this week, Fairfax County officials now say that the plan is to move to Phase 1c sometime next week to meet Northam’s target date as well as Biden’s expectation that 90% of adults in the U.S. will be eligible to get vaccinated by April 19.

To meet these goals, Fairfax County plans to open registration for Phase 1c early next week and transition to Phase 2 by the governor’s deadline,” the Fairfax County Health Department said in a newly published blog post.

The health department previously predicted that the county would enter Phase 1c in mid-April.

According to the county dashboard, 363,601 people have been vaccinated by the county health department or one of its partners — a nearly 10% jump from two weeks ago.

That’s approximately 32% of the county’s population, which is slightly lower than the overall percentage of Virginia residents who have been vaccinated based on the governor’s release.

As for when those eligible to register will get appointments and actual shots, that remains to be seen. The health department is currently making appointments for people who registered on March 24 and has gotten its waitlist down to less than 30,000 people.

Earlier in March, Virginia’s Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said that everyone who wants the vaccine should be able to get their first dose by May 31.

However, Fairfax County could not commit to that goal at the time. A health department spokesperson Reston Now on Tuesday that the pace of vaccine administration will depend on “many factors,” including the number of doses that the county gets from the Virginia Department of Health.

Photo via Fairfax County Health Department/Twitter

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Drivers passing through Vienna might notice a different kind of banner hanging over Maple Avenue near the Town Green.

In place of the usual advertisements for upcoming town events is a directive: “Protect Yourself and Our Community. When you are eligible, register for an appointment for your COVID shot.”

The banner went up last month as part of a “Vaccinate Vienna” campaign that officially launched on Tuesday (March 30). Organized by the Town of Vienna and Rotary Club of Vienna, the campaign aims to raise awareness about the ongoing, nationwide COVID-19 vaccine rollout and encourage residents to make an appointment when their turn comes.

“As Vienna’s mayor, my top priority always is our residents’ safety,” Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert said. “In an effort to mitigate this ongoing global pandemic and to reach the 75% mark to achieve herd community, I want to encourage as many people as possible to get vaccinated.”

For residents who aren’t eligible yet, the opportunity to get vaccinated may arrive sooner than anticipated. Gov. Ralph Northam announced today that all Virginia residents 16 and older will be able to register for the COVID-19 vaccine starting on April 18 — almost two weeks ahead of the state’s May 1 target date.

Fairfax County is currently permitting everyone in phase 1b to register for the vaccine. The health department has said registration will open to phase 1c essential workers in mid-April and to all adults on May 1, though Northam’s declaration suggests eligibility could potentially expand sooner.

According to its vaccine dashboard, the Fairfax County Health Department is now making appointments for people who registered on March 23. 30,052 people remain on the waitlist, just 8% of the 368,676 individuals who have registered overall.

While there’s no Vienna-specific data on how many people have been vaccinated or plan to get the vaccine, town officials and the Vienna Rotary Club hope the “Vaccinate Vienna” campaign will convince any concerned or skeptical residents that the available vaccines are safe and effective.

“I understand that there are some individuals who don’t feel comfortable getting a coronavirus vaccine, but if you do, please get vaccinated for yourself and for our community,” Colbert said.

Founded in 1965, the Rotary Club of Vienna is the town’s chapter of Rotary International, a global service organization dedicated to promoting peace, supporting education, providing clean water and sanitation, and addressing other issues.

The Vienna Rotary Club says its parent organization has “a long history” supporting successful vaccination efforts, including campaigns to eradicate polio and smallpox.

“By partnering with the town, we hope that this history will alleviate some people’s reluctance to get vaccinated,” said Vienna Rotary Club President Yasmine Bonilla, who got her first shot earlier this week.

In addition to hanging the banner over Maple Avenue, the rotary club is promoting “Vaccinate Vienna” by gathering videos of Vienna community members sharing their experiences of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The videos will come in multiple languages and are being posted to the organization’s Facebook page.

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(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Everyone who lives or works in the Fairfax Health District and falls under a phase 1b category can now register for an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Fairfax County Health Department announced this morning (Tuesday) that, starting today, it is opening eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to essential government workers, clergy and faith leaders, and janitorial and cleaning staff — the last three priority groups in phase 1b of Virginia’s vaccine rollout.

Approximately half of the Fairfax Health District’s population — which includes the county, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and the towns of Vienna, Herndon, and Clifton — is now eligible to register for the vaccine, according to Fairfax County Director of Epidemiology and Population Health Dr. Benjamin Schwartz.

“We anticipate those who’ve registered today will get an appointment in a few weeks,” FCHD spokesperson Tina Dale told Reston Now, Tysons Reporter’s affiliate site.

This is the third time Fairfax County has expanded eligibility for vaccine appointments this month, a pace that the health department says reflects a growing supply of vaccine doses.

The county received 55,470 doses from the Virginia Department of Health during the week of March 22-28. Its weekly shipments have been increasing by more than 10,000 doses per week over the past couple of weeks.

“We are moving through our current waitlist at a faster pace,” FCHD said in its blog post. “We expect to move into Phase 1c by mid-April and move into Phase 2 by May 1 in accordance with VDH guidance.”

Phase 1c covers remaining essential workers, including food service workers, housing and construction workers, water and waste removal workers, and media. Reaching phase 2 by May 1 would mean making vaccine appointments available to all adults, a stated goal of Gov. Ralph Northam and President Joe Biden.

Fairfax County remains cautious about committing to a timeline for when all adults will actually get at least one vaccine dose. Virginia’s vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, has suggested that everyone who wants to get vaccinated could receive their first dose by May 31.

“We continue to add more county vaccination partners and continue to receive more doses of vaccine,” Dale said. “But whether or not everyone will have their first dose by May 31 is dependent on many factors.”

In addition to advocating for more doses, Fairfax County has been working to expand its capacity to administer the vaccines. Inova opened a mass vaccination site in Alexandria yesterday (Monday) that could accommodate at least 6,000 people per day.

According to the FCHD vaccine dashboard, which updates roughly every hour, Fairfax County is now making appointments for people who registered on March 16, when 4,412 individuals signed up. There are currently about 40,000 people on the waitlist, 11% of the 355,438 people that have registered for an appointment through the health department.

Newly eligible individuals can register to get vaccinated in Fairfax County, which is still operating its own registration system separate from the state, by filling out the health department’s online questionnaire or contacting its call center at 703-324-7404.

More than 300,000 people in Fairfax County have now gotten at least one dose of vaccine. According to VDH data, providers in the county have administered at least one dose to 309,338 people and fully vaccinated 158,541 people.

3.7 million total vaccine doses have been administered in Virginia, and 1.3 million people have been fully vaccinated — 15.5% of the state’s total population.

Photo via Fairfax County Health Department/Twitter

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(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (March 29)

  • COVID-19 Sports Informational Meeting (Online) — 6 p.m. — The Fairfax County Health Department will discuss COVID-19 & athletic programs. The county has provided a handout with policies related to COVID-19 and its effect on athletics. There will be time to voice any questions or concerns during the meeting. Questions may be sent in advance to [email protected].

Wednesday (March 31)

  • Celebree School Groundbreaking — 11 a.m. at Valo Park (7950 Jones Branch Dr.) — Celebree School, a private early childhood education franchise, will break ground on its new location in Tysons. Families and other community members are invited to attend as construction begins on the school, according to a press release.

Thursday (April 1)

Friday (Apr. 2)

Saturday (Apr. 3)

  • Outdoor Yoga — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at The Boro (8350 Broad Street) — Join The Boro for an early morning of yoga in celebration of the beginning of spring. All registered participants will receive a $10 gift card from Flower Child and a cherry blossom treat. Tickets are $20 per person, $10 from each ticket will be donated to Autism Speaks.
  • Bunny Hop — 10 a.m. on the east side of Falls Church City — The City of Falls Church canceled its annual Easter egg hunt, but families can celebrate instead by greeting Mr. and Mrs. Bunny as they drive through neighborhood streets, escorted by city staff, police, and the sheriff’s department.
  • Mini Golf and Egg Hunt — 11 a.m. at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Road) — Celebrate Easter at Burke Lake Park with socially-distanced mini golf and an egg hunt. Groups of up to five people can register for $10 per person to play through the specially decorated course, which will culminate with the egg hunt at the 18th hole. For more information, call 703-323-6600.
  • Drive-In Movie at Mosaic — 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Market Garage (8295 Glass Alley) — Pull up for a springtime movie at the Mosaic District. For $28 per car, enjoy a movie on the roof of the Market Garage. Saturday’s two movies are “Mary Poppins” at 4 p.m. and “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off” at 7:30 p.m. See the Mosaic website for tickets and more information.

Sunday (Apr. 4)

  • Drive-In Movie at Mosaic (8295 Glass Alley) — 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. — The Mosaic District’s spring-themed drive-in movie series continues today with “Hop” at 1 p.m. and “42” at 4 p.m. Screenings will again cost $28 per car and take place on the roof of the Market Garage. Sunday’s shows will include a special appearance from the Easter Bunny. See the Mosaic website for tickets and more information.

Photo via The Boro/Facebook

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The trajectory of COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County is starting to trend upward again after a roughly two-month decline.

The Fairfax Health District, which also includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, reported 154 new cases today (Monday), bringing the total to 72,111 cases over the course of the pandemic. The district has now recorded 3,752 hospitalizations and 1,066 deaths due to the novel coronavirus.

Now at 174.4 cases per day, the county’s weekly average has hovered around 160 to 170 cases since hitting a low for 2021 of 133.6 cases on March 15. That mark followed a two-month-long drop from an all-time high seven-day average of 696.7 cases on Jan. 17.

Fairfax County still has yet to return to the relative lull in the pandemic that came last summer, when the county had weekly averages of 40 to 50 cases.

The county’s plateauing case levels aligns closely with what is happening statewide. Virginia is currently averaging 1,506 cases over the past seven days, and like in Fairfax County, cases have been slightly but clearly increasing since mid-March, a potentially worrying sign as the Commonwealth prepares to further loosen public health restrictions.

Effective April 1, Virginia will increase the number of people permitted at both indoor and outdoor social gatherings and recreational sporting events, while removing caps on the number of attendees at entertainment and amusement venues, though a 30% capacity limit will remain in place.

Gov. Ralph Northam cited rising COVID-19 vaccination rates when announcing those changes on March 23, reporting that approximately one in four Virginians had received at least one dose of vaccine at that point.

While the upward trend in cases might be cause for concern, the pace of vaccinations continues to accelerate in Fairfax County as well.

The Fairfax County Health Department got 55,470 doses from the Virginia Department of Health during the week of March 22-28, the largest supply yet.

Last week, several Northern Virginia leaders urged the state to increase the region’s allocation of vaccine to match its capacity, which will further expand today with the opening of a mass vaccination site run by Inova Health Systems to serve Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria.

According to its vaccine data dashboard, the county health department is now making appointments for people who registered on March 16. As of 10 a.m. today, the county has whittled its waitlist down to 37,837 individuals — 11% of the 350,429 people who have registered since the COVID-19 vaccines became available in December.

VDH data indicates that 296,241 people in Fairfax County have gotten at least one vaccine dose, and 151,223 of them have been fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received both shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Virginia has now administered more than 3.5 million vaccine doses. 1.2 million people — 15% of the state’s population — have been fully vaccinated.

Like the state as a whole, Fairfax County hopes to open registration for vaccine appointments to all adults by May 1, and after expanding eligibility to additional phase 1b priority groups, the health department anticipates reaching phase 1c by mid-April.

Images via CDC on Unsplash, VDH

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Morning Notes

Virginia Becomes First Southern State to Abolish the Death Penalty — Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation yesterday (Wednesday) that made Virginia the 23rd state to eliminate the death penalty. The move reflected a “dramatic shift” for a state that has recorded the second-most executions in the U.S. Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna) celebrated the new law as “one of the most consequential votes” he’s cast in his 12 General Assembly sessions. [Associated Press]

Inova Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Site to Open Next Week — The mass vaccination facility that Inova Health Systems is setting up in Alexandria will open next Monday (March 29), Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay says. The site has the capacity to vaccinate about 12,000 people per day and “will be particularly helpful to those in South County.” [Chairman Jeff McKay]

Judge Sets Hearing for Park Police Shooting of McLean Resident — U.S. District Court Judge Claude M. Hilton has scheduled a status hearing for April 23 to determine whether the two Park Police officers charged in the 2017 fatal shooting of Bijan Ghaisar “can be criminally prosecuted by the state of Virginia…or whether they fall under amnesty for federal officers from state criminal laws.” [The Washington Post]

Virginia Senator Discusses Experience with COVID-19 — “During a Senate health committee hearing earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine made a surprising admission: Long after contracting COVID-19, the Virginia Democrat is still experiencing strange symptoms. Kaine revealed last May that he and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies following an onset of symptoms in March.” [U.S. News]

Falls Church Native Develops Website to Help Navigate Vaccine Registration — 20-year-old Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology graduate Eric Lin worked with a classmate at Harvard University to design a website called COVID Vaccines Info Guide that “would act as a one-stop-shop that provides comprehensive information for all 50 states.” [Falls Church News-Press]

McLean Resident Opposes Proposed Comprehensive Plan Changes — A Dominion Woods resident argues that Fairfax County’s proposals for revitalizing downtown McLean would overburden schools and create longer commutes by inviting an influx of new residents with “little upside” for existing residents. He says residential construction should be capped at 960 units over the next 10 years, high rises should be prohibited on properties next to Franklin Sherman Elementary School, and additional traffic studies should be conducted. [Connection Newspapers]

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