Tysons, VA

In recognition of National Blood Donor Month, which occurs every January, volunteer fire departments throughout Fairfax County will partner with Inova Blood Donor Services to host blood drives this month.

While the need for blood donations is constant, it has become especially urgent in recent months after the COVID-19 pandemic made volunteers wary and prompted many blood drive cancellations last year.

“Due to current events, blood supplies in Fairfax County and the nation are at dangerously low levels and dropping,” the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said in a press release.

Inova Blood Donor Services says it must collect 200 units of blood per day in order to adequately support the community. The supply also needs to be continually renewed, because donated blood has a limited shelf life of 42 days.

Inova’s red blood cell inventory indicates that, as of Jan. 4, it is low on supplies for all blood types except for A negative.

The organization has implemented a number of precautionary measures to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 at blood donation events, including requiring staff to wear masks and suspending walk-ins to ensure social distancing can be maintained.

Here is the schedule for this month’s Fairfax County volunteer fire department blood drives:

  • Jan. 13, 1-7 p.m. — Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Fairfax County Fire Station 14. 9501 Old Burke Lake Rd., Burke, VA 22015. NOTE: One appointment left.
  • Jan. 19, 1-7 p.m. — McLean Volunteer Fire Department, Fairfax County Fire Station 1. 1455 Laughlin Ave McLean, VA 22101.
  • Jan. 25, 12:30-6:30 p.m. — Greater Springfield Volunteer Fire Department, Fairfax County Fire Station 22. 7011 Backlick Rd., Springfield, VA 22150.
  • Jan. 30, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. — Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, Fairfax County Fire Station 2. 400 Center Street South Vienna, VA 22180.

The drives will all take place in the individual station parking lots. Access to the fire stations will be prohibited “to help protect our firefighters and paramedics,” FCFRD says.

People interested in signing up to donate at any of the drives can register through the Inova Blood Donor Services website.

Images via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Inova Blood Donor Services

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Monday Morning Notes

Tysons Corner Continues to Draw Crowds Despite Pandemic — “Despite rising COVID-19 cases and consumers’ increasing reliance on online retail, Tysons — the largest shopping mall in the Washington region — still fills up on the weekends with holiday shoppers, moviegoers, loitering teens and restaurant diners.” [DCist]

Inova Hosts Tysons Corner Center Blood Drive — Inova Blood Donor Services is hosting its last blood drive of the year for the Tysons area with an event at the former Lord and Taylor store in Tysons Corner Center. The drive lasts from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today, and donors will receive a special holiday-themed shirt. [Inova]

Longtime McLean High School Teacher Dies — “It is with great sadness that I share with you the passing of Mr. James Bigger.  Mr. Bigger was our Latin teacher for 28 years at McLean High School and he was beloved by his students, families, and the staff at McLean High School.” [McLean High School]

FCPS Extends Superintendent’s Contract — “The Fairfax County School Board has voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand until June 30, 2022. His contract was scheduled to expire on July 10, 2021.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo courtesy Craig Fingar

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Inova Delivers First Vaccine to Healthcare Worker — “Months of preparations led up to an emotional moment for Inova Health System’s CEO after the first healthcare worker received the COVID-19 vaccine.” [ABC7-WJLA]

National Search Underway for Next Fairfax County Police Chief — Fairfax County has hired a search firm to assist in its search for a successor to Chief Ed Roessler Jr., who has announced that he will retire in February. The search process includes an online survey and focus groups with “key community organizations.” [Fairfax County Government]

Falls Church West End Developers Propose Major Revisions — West End Gateway Partners wants to revise its plans for an “ambitious 10-acre mixed use development at the City’s west end…under conditions of the global Covid-19 pandemic. A special public town hall to outline the changes is scheduled to be held online this Thursday, Dec. 17 at noon.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Teen-Run Business Focuses on Outdoor Jobs Amid Coronavirus — “TaskTeens, a spinoff of TeenServ created by McLean High School student Jack Lannin, connects teenagers that can perform yard work for homeowners.” [Patch]

Staff photo by Angela Woolsey

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Inova Health System will open a new cancer screening and prevention center on its Center for Personalized Health campus in Merrifield, the nonprofit healthcare network announced on Nov. 10.

Expected to open in fall 2021, the new 24,000 square-foot cancer screening center will be an expansion of the Inova Schar Cancer Institute, which opened on Innovation Park Drive in May 2019.

The center is being supported by a $20 million donation from Paul and Linda Saville, Inova says.

Paul Saville is the president and CEO of the Reston-based home construction company NVR, Inc., whose founder and chairman, Dwight Schar, and his wife Martha donated $50 million to build the Schar Cancer Institute, according to the Washington Business Journal.

“We’ve all been impacted by cancer, and many of us know someone who has died from cancer due to a late diagnosis,” Paul Saville said. “We hope that many more people will have access to early detection and treatment and avoid serious disease.”

Inova says the new center made possible by the Savilles’ donation will be the first of its kind in Northern Virginia, which currently lacks a “comprehensive, multidisciplinary, organized cancer screening and prevention program.”

The center will provide screenings to detect breast, lung, prostate, bladder, pancreatic, colorectal, head and neck, skin, cervical, uterine, ovarian, and other cancers.

Preventative resources for patients who may be at high risk of developing cancer will include genetic testing, opportunities for clinical trials, and education on nutrition and exercise.

“The Savilles’ commitment to help us create a state-of-the-art early detection and prevention center is bringing us a giant step closer to becoming the leading cancer institute in our region,” Inova Health System President and CEO J. Stephen Jones said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently list cancer as the second most frequent cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease, but that appears to be based on data from 2018.

According to Inova, cancer surpassed cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in America this year.

“By providing members of our community accessible, multidisciplinary screening and prevention services in a ‘one-stop-shop’ approach, we hope to cure more cancers by catching them early,” Schar Cancer Institute President John Deeken said. “And through programs such as smoking cessation, as well as dietary and exercise interventions, we hope to prevent more and more cancers in the years ahead.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Falls Church Officials Enact New Firearms Ordinance — “Culminating a grueling 5 hour, 15 minute virtual meeting Monday night, the Falls Church City Council voted unanimously, 6-0, to enact a ‘Firearms on City Property and Events’ ordinance that will go into effect Nov. 1.” [Falls Church News Press]

Women’s Suffrage Exhibit in Vienna — “The Freeman Store and Museum in Vienna is closed indefinitely because of the pandemic, but when it reopens, visitors to its ground-floor gallery can learn plenty about the women’s suffrage movement and how its victories benefited future generations of women.” [Inside NoVa]

Public Safety “Heroes” Visit Hospitalized Kids — “Patients at Inova Children’s Hospital in Fairfax received a superheroic visit Monday morning from a group of public safety heroes. Volunteers from the Fairfax County fire and police departments, as well as the Herndon Police Department, rappelled down the outside of the hospital building on Gallows Road and greeted patients through their hospital room windows.” [Patch]

ICYMI: FCPS Town Hall Tonight — “FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand will discuss the virtual return to school on Sep. 8 and address any questions. The event plans to run from 6-7 p.m.” [Tysons Reporter]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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After area hospitals began to see the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Vienna company LaserShip decided to donate its services to help deliver personal protective equipment and other necessities to several Inova locations.

For medical workers, PPE can save lives by limiting the contact healthcare professionals have with people who might be carrying COVID-19. Josh Dinneen, LaserShip’s VP of Commercial Development, said the company decided early on in the pandemic to help deliver this equipment at no cost to the medical centers.

“We are just managing it, getting it where it needs to go for them,” Dinneen said. “Whatever we can do to leverage what we have in our resources, we need to do it in this time of crisis.”

As a “last-mile delivery service,” the majority of LaserShip’s business comes from medical supply and e-commerce, Dinneen said, adding that it made sense for them to help community members in need.

During this three-month partnership, which will likely be renewed in July, Dinneen said the company has delivered life-saving supply to three Inova Hospitals and 10 additional affiliated medical centers  — including Inova Alexandria, Inova Fair Oaks and Inova Fairfax hospitals. 

“What’s good for the community now will be good for us in the long-run,” he said.

Dinneen said the company chose to affiliate with Inova because they have coordinated on things like blood drives before.

Though LaserShip began with shipments to hospitals and medical centers nearly every daily when the partnership first began in April, Dinneen said that demand has lessened somewhat, and now they are only sending drivers out once or twice a week.

Going forward, LaserShip will also be helping Food For Others, a Merrifield based organization that helps community members facing food insecurity.

“We’ve offered to come in and do some logistics advice,” he said, adding that the company is also helping the organization with food delivery.

Photo courtesy LaserShip

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(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Inova has opened three coronavirus testing sites today (Wednesday) in Northern Virginia — including one in Tysons.

Fairfax County shared that Inova’s new Respiratory Illness Clinics will evaluate patients with respiratory illness symptoms and offer tests for COVID-19 for people who have test orders from physicians.

“The Fairfax County Health Department is not involved in setting them up or running them, though we are now publicizing them,” a county spokesperson told Tysons Reporter.

More from the announcement:

Upon arrival at the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic, a clinician will greet the patient at their vehicle to escort the patient into the respiratory clinic for evaluation or to collect samples for a physician-ordered test.

For patients who undergo COVID-19 testing, a UCC nurse will contact those whose results are negative. For patients with positive results, a UCC nurse will coordinate with the patient’s regular physician for notification and further instructions. Patients who are tested can expect results in roughly 4-7 days.

Before visiting any Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic, contact your regular physician for evaluation. For assistance with recommendations, to arrange for a physician appointment, or if you do not have a primary care physician, call 1-855-IMG-DOCS.

Your regular physician can evaluate your symptoms to determine if testing is indicated based on COVID-19 testing criteria and provide a testing order, or refer you to the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic for evaluation.

The three testing sites are at local Inova Urgent Care Centers in Tysons, North Arlington and Chantilly. The Tysons location is 8357 Leesburg Pike.

The clinics will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.

The Inova Urgent Care Centers at North Arlington and Tysons will only operate as respiratory illness clinics, while the Chantilly one will remain open to other patients, according to the county.

As of today, Fairfax County now has 77 presumptive positive coronavirus cases — up from 46 yesterday (Tuesday).

The state’s expanding testing capacity, which now includes commercial labs, might be behind the increase of confirmed cases.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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Happy Friday! Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

Inova Announced New Hospital Visitor Policy — “Inova Health System announced changes… effective at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 12. The health system changed the policy ‘to protect the health and safety of our patients, their families and staff from the spread of COVID-19.’ The restrictions apply even to visitors who are healthy.” [Patch]

Vienna Officials Praise Low Rate for Bond Sale — “Vienna officials on March 10 issued $34.5 million in general-obligation bonds that will pay for public improvements, including a new police station. The town accepted an interest-rate bid of 1.86 percent from J.P. Morgan Securities, as well as a $3.1 million premium, which is a bonus offered by the investment firm to the town.” [Inside NoVa]

Little League Suspend Activities — The McLean Little League is suspending all activities, while the Vienna Little League “has suspended all activities through April 6, 2020.” [Twitter, Facebook]

Immigrants Contribute Billions to NoVa Economy — “A new report on the impact of immigrants in Northern Virginia found they are injecting $57.7 billion into the local economy — accounting for more than a quarter of the region’s $224.9 billion gross domestic product.” [Inside NoVa]

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NFL Network reporter Kim Jones went on the Today Show Wednesday to tell the story about how local doctors saved her life.

In November, Jones suffered a medical emergency while covering a Washington Redskins practice. She ended up at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where doctors determined she was suffering from a rare aortic dissection and quickly performed emergency surgery that saved her life.

An aortic dissection is a tear in the heart, the same condition that killed comedian John Ritter.

Jones told the Today Show anchors that she’s lucky to be alive and grateful for the doctors who saved her.

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One pint of donated blood can save up to three lives.

Even if you’re squeamish about needles, next Friday (Jan. 18) is a chance to overcome that fear and donate to the Inova Blood Drive.

From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Inova Blood Drive will be held at the Vienna Community Center at 120 Cherry Street SE.

For those who can’t make it out to the blood drive on Friday, the closest spot to donate is the Woodburn Donor Center at 3289 Woodburn Road.

Appointments can be made online or by calling 866-BLOODSAVES and using the sponsor code 1058.

Donors will receive a pair of “lifesaver” socks. This year’s sock is blue with white snowflakes that include various blood types.

Be sure to check the chart below to ensure that you’re eligible to donate:

Photo via Facebook

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