County Board Facebook Town Hall with Arlington's Police and Fire Chiefs

All right good afternoon everyone thank you so much for joining us on this latest installment of live updates on COVID-19 on Facebook Town Hall I’m Katie Cristol a member of the County Board I will be your host today along with my colleague Matt de Ferranti a fellow County Board member we also have Jim Schwartz who’s our deputy county manager representing the county’s executive leadership team and we have some special guests focused on Public Safety today joining us fire chief Dave Povlitz police chief Jay Farr, Lissa Friedman who’s the bureau chief for Child and Family Services and Candice Lopez who’s our lead on Project Peace our community response to domestic violence and sexual violence so welcome we’re looking forward to taking your questions before we jump in we have a few highlights to share with some data about the week and upcoming information about COVID-19 in our community so Matt I’ll turn it over to you sure Thank You Katie and thanks everyone for joining us for Arlington our fight against COVID-19 continues and there remain challenging days and evenings as the number of new cases continues to increase in the National Capital Region as of right now we have one thousand and four cases you know confirmed cases in Arlington and we’ve had 42 individuals pass away the region as a whole that’s DC suburban Maryland and suburban

Virginia has seen twenty four thousand four hundred and forty five cases and just over a thousand deaths at a thousand and twenty-six so this confirms we know the disease is present and it is spread it is I mean we should assume that is throughout our County as also that as well as throughout the community this week we took some steps we launched a new dashboard a COVID-19 dashboard on a refreshed website a website page which is a tool that provides the number of cases and fatalities in real time we want you to know and have the most accurate and available information at your fingertips as our County’s current numbers and where we stand in comparison to the region as a whole the data on the dashboard is sourced from the Virginia Department of Health and it is updated at a couple of different points throughout the day we’re also scaling up quickly our testing capacity we have two sites and we had the opportunity for testing at two sites as well as Virginia Hospital Center so we’re continuing to work on that we see we’ve had a slight uptick here in Arlington but it’s not increasing at the rate that you see at many areas across the country of the same size we still need to take those key steps we encourage all all Arlington ian’s to wear cloth face coverings when you’re in the public settings when you’re at risk and when you’re in doubt about whether you’re at risk and then we also want people to be vigilant about those social distancing measures that are the key to flattening and eventually closing and crushing the curve there’s the settings that you should be concerned about are grocery stores pharmacies work settings for those who are essential employees if you are volunteering or if you’re seeking medical attention or caring for your family you should always think about those social distancing steps as well as washing your hands this is not meant as a replacement for staying at home and washing and staying 6 feet distance from people is always best practice and they are the cornerstones in the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus we also have been working this week and steadily throughout this crisis on food and housing assistance which are so important as we work to weather this whole last six, eight weeks and the ongoing work that we’re doing we reached out to over 200 property managers this week in multifamily buildings to share information with renters this week we’re sharing resources about food and domestic violence hotlines as well as steps to protect yourselves and your families the importance of social distancing and face coverings and hand washing were also part of that information we shared with renters in multi-unit buildings so that’s big picture I’ll turn it back over to Katie who’s going to talk a little bit about the governor’s announcement this past week and what it would take to reopen which you may remember was the subject of some of last week’s Facebook Live Town Hall thanks Matt there’s definitely been a lot of attention given to that announcement about the criteria for reopening the governor was really clear any reopening has to be data-driven not date-driven so some of the things that we’re all looking for is a sign that it might be safe to begin reopening or loosening loosening some of the social distancing and stay-at-home provisions are a downward trend in the percentage of positive tests over 14 days a downward trend in hospitalizations over 14 days increased testing and tracing enough hospital beds in an intensive care capacity and an increasing and sustainable supply of PPE we are continuing to work with our National Capital Region partners here in Arlington to ensure coordination and we are also continuing to work as Arlington County along with regional state partners on hastening those latter categories the PPE supply chain increased testing and tracing and ensuring hospital capacity but in the meantime and that brings us to today’s focus of conversation we are still in the middle of response to the pandemic we have several special guests as I mentioned here to talk specifically about public safety in our community during this time we’re going to encourage those who are watching submit questions through the chat box on Facebook I’m tracking that or via text at five seven one three four eight three zero five three Matt is tracking that and we will alternate with your questions we’re taking questions on any COVID-19 related topic we’re going to begin with Public Safety but please feel free to ask others okay so let me begin with Chief Farr to talk a little bit about enforcement this is a major question in our community about the governor’s stay-at-home order in particular how what role

do we have in enforcing that stay home order and particularly enforcing the prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more people in Arlington so one good afternoon pleasure to be here I think the most important thing to sort of take away is even in the best of times when we are normally operating without this whole pandemic the police departments always incredibly dependent upon compliance from our community for us to be successful right now we’d probably need that more than we’ve ever needed it the executive order that the governor put out has been pretty clear when it’s a stay at home order it’s really that’s the message that we need to take away it is a stay at home unless you have some other specific reason to go out as Mr. de Ferranti mentioned there are a number of things whether it’s going out for groceries it’s going out for medical care or whatever that might be predominantly what we’re asking for people to do is to be in compliance and follow those rules where we’ve had some challenges to date have really been focused around the parks or out in the public areas with the weather changing getting nicer and I’m sure of people just trying to get out the social distancing rules become a little bit harder to deal with you’ll know that we sometimes get calls to go out and respond the different things around the community generally it’s because someone has called us and asked about community gatherings our mission to date has really been see compliance so if I if we go somewhere and there was people and they were crowded up we’re not out there to see about writing summons or to enforce the order however we see compliance and I’m happy to say Ms. Cristol that the vast majority of time that’s what we get we’ve had some calls to residential homes but they’ve been very few the majority of it’s really been around the parks and open areas of that nature and we have had a few challenges with some of the businesses in the county where we have had to go out more than one time and when we do go to a business we provide them with a copy of the governor’s order we explain to them exactly what the requirements are and it usually starts off with a verbal warning and maybe a written warning and so far and knock on wood so far we’ve not had to issue any actual citations but ultimately I guess the heavy stick and this is a class 1 misdemeanor to violate the governor’s order and we try at every cost to avoid that so overall compliance is generally been pretty good I think our challenge will continue to be in the parks but as long as we maintain some level of social distancing we should be in good shape thank you so much and it’s sort of a similar question for the fire department Chief Povlitz what are you all seeing particularly emergency medical services with regard to responding to COVID-19 thank you very much good question we’ve seen a reduction in overall call volumes by about twenty five percent but we are definitely seeing and transporting and treating some very sick patients so I’ll kind of takes everyone through a typical 9-1-1 call so if someone’s feeling bad or someone needs to call for emergency services you’ll be connected to an emergency communication center operator ask a standard series of questions if there’s any COVID symptoms or someone is COVID positive if there’s not an extreme distress if someone has needs emergency care we’re dispatching units immediately but if someone is just has some symptoms for some questions we’re gonna kick them over to a medical triage line to ask another series of questions from there we may dispatch a non-emergency or non-transport unit just to do a quick assessment and to possibly provide treatment in place or self care now if someone is sick if someone does need critical care we’re immediately responding we’re immediately assessing but we may look a little different we’ll probably have much greater personal protective equipment for our protection and also the patients and we’ll be asking sometimes to step out of the house or step out of a group setting and possibly putting a mask on those those patients we’re going to get them quickly into the hospital so we’re seeing less volume with calls but we’re spending a lot more time on those calls to make sure we’re protected we’re doing heavy decontamination and cleaning of our medic units and also within the fire stations so the focus is to protect us to protect the public and also protect our families so we routinely do a series of medical screenings at the start of the shift in the middle of shift at the end of the shift to make sure we don’t have high fevers we don’t have all the symptoms associated with COVID-19 just to make sure we feel confident that we can help the public and also protect our families at home which is really the most important thing and we’re grateful to members particularly of our fire department and police department who are out not only putting themselves at risk but concerned about their families it’s good to hear everything that you all are doing as departments to prevent that risk you know we know that a lot of our community needs haven’t stopped just because of the shutdown or the the COVID-19 pandemic and I wondered Chief Farr could you far could you talk a little bit about the police response to community needs and and whether any of that has changed those

ongoing calls for service well well I’ll start with the calls for service so the calls for service and how we how we go out and do that really has changed a bit the real difference and the primary difference is that for all of our non-critical calls so if you think about a late report a late theft a late larceny or something that’s not an in-progress call or something that’s a crime against property specifically we have pretty much asked the community to do the online reporting and this is a pretty significant change because for you know for many years people expect you call the police the police officer is going to show up at your door to this and our calls for online reporting are up to I think they’re up almost 50% right now and they’re they’re really the bulk of our calls that come in our overall calls for service in the general realm like the fire department have gone down we are responding to fewer calls but of the things that do come in the online reporting has really helped us to be consistent with some of the others though when we do dispatch units so let’s say it’s a late assault or it’s a more serious crime and we’re gonna have to have contact it’s not uncommon for the officers to go out and ask people to step out of their home maintain that social distancing if we are going to have any close proximity to them our officers are either provided with the N95 mask or other masks and so the overall how we engage with people has changed quite a bit we still have that one on one of the more serious things but the engagements change in the broader sense of the community it’s been sort of challenging you know we have a community engagement team and that’s that’s their really their primary focus is go out and do these community service meetings and others we’ve been able to maintain some of those we’ve been invited to some of the Zoom related meetings that the Civic Associations are having and so we still we do some outreach there but in lieu of doing that our officers our school resource officers and our community outreach team it really divested a lot of their time now into working with the libraries with Diane and with the food distribution networks and basically trying to support some of the other community efforts that and they’ve also spent a fair amount of our time on some of the testing sites so we’re still out there it’s just in a little bit different way and we are still participate as a matter of fact I’m on the C Pro annual meeting on Saturday I’ll I guess will be from home so it’ll be a little bit different excellent and thank you for doing that I think you also forgive the background noise in my home I think you can hear some of Arlington’s finest out there breaking up potentially a traffic accident or something else so there’s another aspect of Public Safety and this is something we’ve been really attuned to and concerned about in our community which is domestic violence and child abuse knowing that the likelihood for instances of those forms of violence could be increasing with the pressure on families right now the stay home orders and other strains so I’m really glad that we’re being joined by first Candice Lopez who’s our coordinator of Project Peace which again is that interagency community response to domestic violence and I wonder Candice could you tell us a little bit about how those services have been impacted or needs that you’re seeing by the coronavirus sure thank you for having us today and for letting us talk on this very important topic domestic and sexual violence services are considered essential services so while the way we might be providing those services looks a little different today the same services are still available to the community to anybody who needs them in particular there are some services that are available 24/7 since a lot of folks might need access to emergency and crisis services at any time so for example our Arlington 24 hour domestic and sexual violence hotline is available to anybody who needs it around the clock as well as safe house shelter and access to forensic exams through the FACT Department at Inova Hospital to access any of those 24 hour services including access to protective orders you want to call our 24-hour hotline at 703-237-0881 in addition to those crisis services we still have some non crisis services available as well whether it is counseling through telehealth and video chat support or its again access to support at the court to obtain a protective or restraining order those services are still available by our partners at Doorways as well as legal services of Northern Virginia we are seeing that specifically to our community partners to the Doorways hotline that they continue to get calls for services and requests for support but those calls have declined a little bit in the wake of COVID-19 we are anticipating that those increases for need for service will go up as isolation winds down and as the stay at home or sorry stay at home order stops because

we are concerned that folks just don’t have access to calling the hotline or to get those support services we don’t think it means there is a lull in domestic violence has stopped we’re just concerned that people aren’t able to access so knowing the hotline knowing that those services are still available will hopefully help anybody who’s listening today if you yourself feel like you’re unsafe at home or you know a friend family member or colleague who might be unsafe at home thank you so much Candice it’s incredibly important work as is our Child Protective Services oh as is our response to child abuse in our community and so I’m glad that we’re joined by Lissa Friedman who’s our bureau chief for Child and Family Protective Services and Lissa could you speak a little bit about how Child Protective Services is responding to reports of child abuse and neglect during the pandemic and what community members should know and how they can help sure thank you good afternoon I appreciate this opportunity also to speak to the community well Child Protective Services continues to respond to ensure child safety in the community and we have our investigators prepared with personal protective equipment to respond in person if they need to as you’re hearing from Fire Department and from Candice about domestic violence our calls are also our call volume is also less we attribute that to the fact that the schools are closed and with a family staying at home there’s less eyes on so to speak of the children that need support we depend on our community members to help keep our children safe and with families staying at home we have less of that opportunity but what we do know is that when children when families are under stress then the opportunity for the chance of child abuse and neglect occurring is going to rise so as Candice was mentioning we’re concerned about what child welfare colleagues have started to call a surge of reporting and so we’re starting to think about that and prepare but in the meantime we want to reach out to families to try and help them manage distress so that we can reduce the possibilities of abuse and neglect so Child and Family Services is always been the goal has always been to strengthen and protect children at the same time so that families can stay together and children can stay safe at home so we do a lot of parent education right now Child and Family Services is offering virtual parent education outreach and CPS is doing a specific class on safe supervision safe discipline and safe sleep and residents can access information about those classes from our website we’re also working with our child safety net members our collaborators our law enforcement domestic violence partners and mental health therapists and schools to reinforce what resources are available in the community so that our community members know yes we’re still here we want to help there are resources available please call us because Child Protective Services continues to be available 24/7 7 days a week and we what we’re asking community residents to do is to call us at our hotline which is 703-228-1500 if you have any concerns about children in the community we every call doesn’t mean that we respond and that children have to be removed from their homes most of our calls are for support and for resource connection and we want to hear from our community members if you have any concerns we will help you talk through what the proper response would be so continue to know we’re here and ready to help thank you so much Lissa and I think that’s a really important message for everyone in our community who supports and cares about kids in their lives so we have lots of questions coming in fast and furious and Matt why don’t we start with you because I know we’ve got a lot of questions coming in from the phones and then I’ll try to pose a few that we’re seeing on the Facebook chat sure so there are a lot of questions and there are two related questions that I’ll one regarding for the for the chief police chief Jay Chief Farr it’s one is regarding personal protective equipment and the other is regarding fraud and just give me a second there’s another bucket I wanted to tee those up and there’s one other bucket of questions that has been asked and then I’ll kick it over to you so the there’s some questions that have been asked about there’s a couple in Ballston in their 70s who wants to stay safe and is concerned about how they can do that there’s a individual who wrote in about making sure people who work at grocery stores are wearing masks both those questions related to masks and the answers to

those questions that I’ll just start with and if you have anything to add feel free Katie or others but really washing your hands not going outside ordering groceries if you’re able to schedule them in advance to get them dropped off for you is a great way to do things that’s some of how in Ballston you can help stay safe stay inside when you can wash your hands when you’ve gone outside and when you come back in and that’s gonna going to help work and then on the groceries question we have been working with our grocery stores so you could feel free to email us if you have questions at our County Board email address just countyboard@arlingtonva.us so we have been working to make sure that folks are staying that those who work in grocery stores are staying staying safe and wearing face masks I’ll kind of stop there and see if on the personal protective equipment or the instances of fraud you want to add anything chief let me start off with the fraud question because that does come up we have so far we have not really experienced a real degree of any kind of fraudulent activity specifically in the county but having said that it is becoming more and more rampant there is always somebody out there who’s going to take advantage of somebody in times like this so the things and the majority of what we’re saying is really on the Internet it’s not like we have people going door to door and perpetrating these types of activities what I what we do see though is people are getting solicitations whether it’s for donations or it’s for equipment or it’s for gear but oftentimes there is some level of fraudulent activity related to that and they are going to look at the most vulnerable they’re probably going to target people that are elder or people that are in need and so what we always caution anybody anytime you look at any of the emails if they’re if it’s too true to be true it’s probably not what we encourage all the time and this is a and you hear this here all as well if you don’t recognize the email you don’t recognize it delete it if it’s a legitimate thing somebody will get back in touch with you and they’ll follow up on it they’re calling you and ask for account numbers or they ask for information to verify so they can provide services to you never give accounts never give personal data that somebody’s solicited I would encourage if you’re if you think it’s a real serious incident that’s taking place to call us we’ll still come out and take the report if it’s or if you don’t want the police to show up because you’re a little bit concerned about that face-to-face contact remember we do have a very robust online capability and we also have what’s called true reporting so you can actually call in and they’ll somebody will take the report over the phone so there’s multiple different ways for you to bring that to our attention on the PPE question what exactly are they asking Mr. de Ferranti sure thank you the question is actually concern for you and your colleagues and the safety our police is a CPD do you have access to personal protective equipment yes we do and we were you know the county had enough foresight thankfully that they ordered quite a bit of personal protective gear that we had available to us so we have not been in a position where we do not have it we monitor it very closely we do burn rates every day so we know where we are on those things but are all of our staff have the necessary equipment available to them one of the things that we’ll be adding probably next week as we finally were able to get cloth masks which are that you know they so we’re not burning through the N95s and we anticipate those will be available to everybody as of the beginning of next week as well great Katie do you want to give them questions from Facebook I do I’m in a batch a few questions that we’re getting about the the issue of testing really important and so Jim Schwartz these might be questions to pose to you I’m in a batch of a couple the the biggest ones are the questions about the the supply what is the supply of the test kits and then questions also coming in about where can people get tested in Arlington which our team may be able to post a link to that on the chat box as well what are the criteria for being tested and then a couple questions about testing regarding community members who might be more vulnerable testing and can you get tested and how if you don’t have a primary care doctor if you don’t have insurance and what about those without transportation options a lot of our testing sites have been drive up what about walk up so Jim if I might put you on the spot to it to talk a little bit about how we’re thinking about the issue of testing in the county where when how by what measures and by what means sure Ms. Cristol thank you so testing has actually improved quite a bit although we are still looking for further improvements today we have two sites in the county one that is operated by the Virginia Hospital Center that is at

Quincy Street complex across the street from W and L High School and that is as you noted a drive through testing site there is also a site that’s operated by Inova hospitals that’s in the at 4600 Lee Highway that too is a drive-through site we are currently planning to open a walkthrough site it should be open certainly by May 11th we have a particular site in mind on the south side of the county but we’re still working to cement that location that will be a walk up site people can certainly drive there if they have a if they are to be tested but they will walk on to this site to actually have a sample collected right now all of the samples that are being taken are being taken under a doctor’s orders so somebody needs to have their doctor provide them with an order which is typically been done over the phone or via email they present that order at the testing site after getting an appointment for for a timeslot at present the only people being tested are those that are symptomatic those that are actually showing potential signs of the virus now we know that one of the real difficulties in this particular virus is that people who are asymptomatic may also be contagious but at present we don’t have enough testing capacity to test those people look for that to improve here in the weeks to come what’s clear as you mentioned in the governor’s framework for reopening is the testing a lot rests on testing and and the governor has appointed a task force to look at the challenge of testing that will inform our efforts at the local level and and we will see I’m sure improvements in the amount of testing that we’ll be able to do one more area that I would just touch on because I think this goes to people’s concerns about you know the importance of our healthcare facility the Virginia Hospital Center everybody that goes into the hospital center for treatment is tested so that we ensure that that remains a safe space to the best possible degree and that COVID is not actually in the hospital itself really important information I think one one just remaining piece about that you mentioned the importance of getting a prescription for a test from your doctor or primary care provider what about those who don’t have a doctor or don’t have insurance yeah thanks for that I I know that you mentioned at the beginning and I missed that we have actually partnered with the free clinic they will be assisting with us in the walk-in site that I mentioned earlier and they are still in a position to see people who may be uninsured or don’t have access to a primary care physician so that’s one resource there may be others around the area the urgent care facilities that operate throughout the county may also be sites that people can go to be seen and get a script from a doctor that’s great thank you so much one note I think a question I’m going to try to take on myself before passing the mic back to to Matt to ask questions coming in over the chat line speaking of testing and the data that that can yield about the prevalence of COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations or unfortunately the deaths in our community a great question from Simone about whether we’re tracking that data by race and geography because that’s really important for our work on health disparities in Arlington so that data on race is collected by the state the Virginia Department of Health and you can see the data there that’s the the data that we use as well comes from VDH people who get treated within Arlington’s borders may not be Arlingtonians and vice versa so that state-level data look is important rather than trying to do it ourselves but I think the thing I would I would note that is really important for us to wrestle with in our community is that data is not great by far the biggest racial category is unknown or did not report and so we are cognizant of the racial disparities that are playing out in who is getting infected and certainly who is experiencing the most severe symptoms and we have every reason to believe in fact to know that that’s happening here in Arlington County to our destination 2027 and Public Health review that was completed last year really emphasized huge disparities not only in health outcomes by geography by race and by income in Arlington but in disparities around what we call social determinants of health access to healthy food stable housing and so forth so what we know from the national data is telling us what we know from our own review of Public Health and social determinants of health in Arlington is absolutely telling us that those racial disparities exist in Arlington and we’re trying to address our plans accordingly that walk up testing site that Jim was just

describing is driven by the recognition that people who might be at greatest vulnerability are sometimes are those who are least likely to be able to have a vehicle to participate in a drive-through testing site the partnership with a free clinic is another good example we’re gonna continue to push forward on the assumption that that these disparities are existing in Arlington and we’re going to do our best to make sure that our response addresses them so with that Matt let me turn it back over to you lots more questions coming in over the chat line sure that’s I think that answer we got a couple other questions similar one was on whether results are reported by zip code and and we are the purpose for that I think is to make sure that we’re addressing inequities and we’re really focusing on that so that we are using the Virginia state data on that as well so that’s just a data piece just a couple of quick items before I check in with chief Povlitz regarding personal protective equipment a similar question to Chief Farr and there are two just quick questions regarding taxes and whether there’s changes in property taxes and then another question regarding whether home cleaning services are essential with respect to taxes the procedures we we are keeping the procedures are staying the same regarding when your personal your property taxes are due but we are ready to work with we have a system for working with those who need extended periods with with which to to pay in light of the this crisis there’s a system for pre agreement where you could extend pay a small amount in addition but then extend the time with it with which you can pay those taxes over the course of the full year so that’s one where we suggest you reach out really to our treasurer Carla de la Pava on that one on home cleaning services whether they’re essential or not I live in a multi-unit building and so the the cleaning that’s in the building the common areas is continuing and that is is an essential feature with respect to your individual home if you live in a single-family home or a townhome I think that’s really a judgment decision in many cases we want to limit the spread and so we want to limit those interactions that we have with people so I would lean towards advising you not to do to continue that but if you’re healthy if you need that cleaning service for your health then there may be reasons why you should do that so it’s just really a matter of being very safe about it if you do it with respect to those services so now I want to check with Chief Povlitz regarding same questions for you how or do you have personal protective equipment for all the members of the fire department and are you taking steps to keep everybody safe there I want to echo what Chief Farr said through advance planning within Arlington county with also within the region there was a lot of foresight to start to accumulate personal protective equipment for large possible medical incidents no one thought we would see this large global pandemic here now so for those the equipment that was acquired over many many years helped us during the month of March and through April we’ve been diligent in our trying to acquire that specialized personal protective equipment for all essential employees for all public safety providers now one of the most important things the public can do to help us is please keep distance but also please use masks and facial coverings regardless if you feel like you’re in great health regardless of whether someone either had the disease and recovered please wear masks that goes a very long way to contain the disease to contain the spread of the disease we just want to make sure we practice what we preach because we live in the stations for 24 hours when we are not distancing from each other ten feet we are wearing the masks when we’re preparing meals we are wearing masks when we walk through the hallways we are wearing masks when we are not responding to calls training or educating we are doing that ourselves so this is gonna have to be a new habit we all practice so if I wear a mask you wear a mask and everyone wears the mask that’s going to go such a long way to just protecting everyone great Thank You chief so we have tons more questions but Katie do you want to jump in with any that have come your way absolutely so definitely lots more follow-up questions about testing happening and I think some of which have already been covered in terms of testing for non symptomatic people and testing at our hospital so some folks may want to rewind a little bit when it when the

session wraps up to see some of that covered and definitely some great suggestions about other places we want to see walk-up testing sites in the county and as we continue to expand and certainly as access the testing expands I think those are ones we can take under advisement one of the early questions that I wanted to go back to is a good one about contact tracing Michelle Sullivan in particular noted that the Bloomberg philanthropies was working with Johns Hopkins on a playbook for contact tracing but here’s another one I think maybe to put to you Jim to talk a little bit about contact tracing in Arlington how we’re preparing to or have been executing that preparing to continue to execute that since that’ll be such a key criterion for being able to slow the spread if and when we are eventually able to gradually reopen yeah thank you Katie so you know I would just start out the answer this question by observing that our public health staff has been working on the problem of COVID since the beginning of January you know for most of us this is at this point a six to eight week set of challenges but Dr. Reuben Varghese and his staff have been at this literally since the beginning of the year we have been or he has been relying on both his staff and what’s called the Medical Reserve Corps which are people in the community that have medical backgrounds and volunteer their time to augment the professional staff in the Public Health Service and currently we have or again Dr. Varghese has a hundred and seventy people that are engaged in contact tracing so this is when we get a case Public Health is following up with that case contact tracing does not mean you know one contact with somebody who is judged to be positive but they’re typically multiple contacts to ensure that they are appropriately quarantining or isolating depending on what the case is that their needs are met as they are following that Public Health direction and that they are monitoring the health conditions of those folks so we have really extraordinary resources dedicated to contact tracing the county manager has already indicated that he will increase the staff to support the public health staff as necessary but right now Dr. Varghese feels for Arlington we’re in a good place for all of our efforts great thank you so much Matt I’ll hand it back to you sure so a couple of questions regarding nursing homes and I wanted to sort of Jim I think this you may have additional pieces to add to this the I will say one is regarding how nursing homes are being disclosed in LA County and in DC and the locations of nursing homes whether they can be disclosed and as I understand it and Jim certainly add this really is an area where the governor has taken some steps and the governor’s authority is is controlling at the moment I do feel we’ve had a number of conversations with Dr. Varghese to really and he is touching base as I understand it on a daily basis with a number of facilities to keep people safe and to minimize infections but Jim do you want to add on nursing home disclosure and and those questions yeah Matt I think you hit on the key points but the one the fundamental point I think people should be aware of is that although we have a local public health department it is still what you could effectively call an instrument of the state and it is the Virginia Department of Health that guides all of our decisions regarding in this case how information is reported I believe the governor may be making an announcement today about some changes to some of that reporting so we’ll look to see if he hasn’t already I think it’s scheduled for later on this afternoon we may see some slight changes in that however the current practice is not to not to report data below the county level and not at the level certainly not at the level of an institution like a nursing home or long-term care facility other states may have different policies and practices but that’s what is that’s what the state what the Commonwealth does here I would echo what you just said about what our public health does in practice however and that is that they are visiting each of the long term health care facilities every single day we have provided them with PPE so that they can take adequate protective measures as they care for the residents there and we are as I said in constant contact to ensure that they’re meeting all of the the appropriate requirements

and doing the best that they can to keep the infection out of their facilities great thank you Jim we are mindful of how hard this is for so many households we also are trying to think based on the expertise of Dr. Varghese and our health our doctors really it’s a difficult difficult situation for folks to deal with we have to provide healthcare for individuals in those facilities that may have been pre-existing healthcare challenges that they face so we’re working to solve problems as as best as we possibly can I don’t know Katie if you want to add anything on that or wanted to start with another question no that is an incredibly important one for out of concern for those residents right now so I’m glad you all spent a little time on it I think one one question that would be great to get our police chief to weigh in on that has been recurring throughout these Facebook town halls is the question about couldn’t Arlington open some of our major streets especially in the in the more densely populated areas or up to walkers and cyclists by closing them off to vehicular traffic one of the the challenges with that has been the issue of enforcing that and keeping all of those users safe so I wonder Chief Farr if you if you could talk to a little bit about any considerations there from from your perspective of traffic safety and traffic enforcement sure I mean I understand that there are some in the community that are very interested in opening up segments and making the roads available I think the it’s easy to see sometimes when we do special events when you close the road for a very short duration of time in a very short specific time period and we have tremendous amount of resources and assets out there to keep the roads safe that it looks like closing the road is really not going to be that complex the thing however there I just wanted to remind everybody that when we start to look at any road closure there’s a number of factors that go into it and it’s not simply a matter of the lane size or the width size but it also includes do I have parking on that roadway what are the expectations for parking right now you know we have other challenges that we have many businesses that are dependent upon the conversion of some of our parking to pick up in drop-off spots most of the places that I’ve seen identified also include a number of avenues in and out of apartment buildings or in and out of somebody’s home and so the when you start to take a look at okay we’re thinking about closing a piece of roadway who is going to be impacted by this it starts to expand well beyond just the time period many of the areas down in Crystal City or Southside are also very much dependent on mass transit capabilities and keeping those roadways open and flexible so we look at all those factors that come into play and even if you would get to the point where they say okay we’re going to open a roadway or close a roadway then you have to have the resources to do that that’s literally thousands of traffic cones that’s literally having some level of monitoring staff to keep an eye on it and so each one of them poses their own individual problems so I wouldn’t suggest that it’s always just an absolute no but anything that’s going to be looked at all the other factors that come into play have to be considered in to that and I think right now for us it’d be a bit challenging to take on that responsibility from a law enforcement perspective but I can tell you I know for a fact we do not have the resources barricades cones et cetera to cover most of the areas that have been discussed it just really requires thousands of these things that make it safe for individuals so I know it’s something that’s being considered but I know it’s something that would have to be looked at pretty pretty much in depth for each area that they want to consider and then maybe sort of walk through it from that perspective Thank You Chief Farr I think that’s a hopeful and it’s a really common question Matt I’ll turn it back to you sure so we’ve got two areas of questions one is with respect to masks and I’ll give a start to it and then ask to see if Jim might add and then another two or three questions regarding the rate of increase in the numbers of cases we’re seeing and what might be involved in reopening first on masks we had a question from Fairlington and another question about where can we where can we get masks so there that’s a good question masks there’s not a hundred percent requirement on masks we strongly encourage it it’s we’re gonna have to work together and encourage people to be safe there’s some you want to just make sure you’re social distancing whenever you are outside and we recommend the masks in addition regarding obtaining masks that’s something we’re working on but

having enough for everyone is a bit of a challenge we can if you have a question we have a hotline set up but I don’t know Jim if you want to provide any more background on our work on masks Matt just the only thing I would add is that actually this afternoon the manager has a meeting to discuss how the county takes on the role of providing masks it’s sort of seeing how we can coalesce all of the organic efforts that are you know building up in the community and make sure that those who don’t have access to masks can get access to them I know the supply chain for you know the the masks that are formally referred to as PPE is challenging enough but if but if people look around there are an awful lot of their neighbors that are making masks maybe even their family members that are making them so there’s a lot of things going on out there and we’re going to try and coalesce those efforts into something that can provide masks to those that just have or are having really difficulty finding them yeah I’m glad you described that just triggered in my mind our board chair there’s an on our website on the COVID-19 Arlington website our board chair Libby Garvey has shows you how to just make a very simple mask which is one way to address things but it’s also great to hear of the ongoing work we’re trying to do to make sure that folks have masks for questions that we don’t get to hear there’s both our website Arlington’s COVID-19 website as well as we have our hotline number which is 703-228-7999 which is another way you can try and get your questions answered I’ll just touch briefly on the second bucket of questions which is reopening and the rate of increase and the numbers of increases in cases that we’re seeing we are still seeing increased numbers but the rate at which that increase is occurring has slowed down and that’s how we know that social distancing is working at least in part in Arlington doesn’t mean that we’re we’re done and we have much more work to do we need to be really vigilant about social distancing staying home washing our hands those key steps but that’s you do see an increase in numbers but the rate is slowing down so some of our efforts we know are paying off on the other end of the spectrum there was a question about reopening and Katie touched in the beginning on the on the standards that the governor has set forth for reopening and we really feel that at the current time we’re not seeing that 14-day decline in the percentage of positive tests we’re not seeing enough of an increase in tests and a low enough rate that we can really contact trace for everything we’re not at that step yet that doesn’t mean we won’t keep evaluating but we’re not there yet so that’s a couple of answers Katie I don’t know if you wanted to pick up with next questions sure I’d be happy to I’m gonna take prerogative and actually ask one that came in over the text line you know throwing a curveball into our system just because I think it’s a great one for Candice and Lissa who are with us which is concern about whether that information and resources for domestic violence victims in particular but this may also be true for child abuse and neglect concerns how do we know those resources are reaching the people who need them and could you talk a little bit about some of your efforts to publicize these resources as well as work any partner agencies are doing to proactively reach out to families they know might be at risk Yeah thank you, I’m happy to answer that question and Lissa please join me in answering as well if you have anything to add we have been working really hard to try to get the word out about the Doorways services specifically because they house the majority of services for victims here in the community they have the 24 hour hotline they have safehouse shelter they support people through the forensic assessment consultation team they also provide counseling services crisis management and referrals for anyone who’s impacted by violence domestic and sexual violence specifically so we have been pushing out that information through social media we’ve put together a few different types of flyers we put together a web banner that anyone can use and download their website if you go to our website you’ll see the banner and can use it so we’ve been trying to push out as much information online as we can however we know that’s not the only place that people are getting information today and there are some harder communities to reach through online outreach and so we’re also working with our partners at Child Protective Services and other agencies to put together some flyers and some handouts that we can distribute to

the food distribution sites so making sure that we’re getting to the families who are picking up grab-and-go meals at APS or picking up food at AFAC so really utilizing our community partners to make sure the word is out there about services so that not only are they encouraging people to seek services if they need them but also people then have that information at home to use we also know that it may not be safe for people to call up the hotline during this time and so we’ve been encouraging people to look at some other resources outside of our community such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline and the National Domestic Violence Hotline because they offer chat services so if you can’t pick up the phone because it’s not safe but you can get services on your phone you can go to those chat lines and they can provide you some support and resources as well and also connect you back to local resources in a safe way so those are some of the things that we’re doing to get the word out there but we really rely on you our community members to know this information to know the warning signs and red flags of domestic violence so that you can recognize if you need to give the phone number to a friend or family member or use it yourself I do want to add that I think a lot of people have concerns about accessing services right now the idea of leaving a safe home or sorry leaving a home during the virus what does congregate living look like are services is going to be safe just like every other Public Service Agency domestic and sexual violence services are taking exceptional precautions to make sure that we are maintaining the health and safety of everybody who’s looking for those types of supports and I just wanted to add Thank You Candice this is a really timely question because we’ve been having these exact conversations the schools and Candice and our Doorways partners about making sure that the community knows that we’re here and what our resources are so Child and Family Services and the Department of Human Services has a specific link on our website that is about COVID resources so in addition to what’s generally there you can go to a particular spot and that will talk about the extra resources that are available for community and for residents in this time of stress we’re also as Candice mentioned going to we’re creating a flyer that’s going to go out with lunches but we’re creating sort of a companion flyer about resources for teachers and for who are you know in contact with their students so that they can remember the kinds of things that they can be looking for and what they can be referring the families to so that’s an extra as well and then I just want to remind how I said previously that we have parenting education classes online for parents who need that support can can go to the website and they can see where those resources are so we’re definitely worrying it’s on our mind to know that families know that we’re still here and that we have there are resources to help and that they should continue to call and ask for support or if they see something that they’re concerned about or they hear something because we do get reports that family that neighbors are hearing noises in apartments or in houses that they’re worried about and they should absolutely call us if that happens and we will help talk through what a response could be for them Ms. Cristol if I could just have one Oh please do yeah yeah so all the resources that they’ve been talking about you know the police department is very well integrated with our partners in Project Peace and with Child Protective Services the the important thing I would stress is we are an outward we’re out there all the time we encounter people all the time we are we are certainly in a position to put people in the right direction for resources and assist them in any way possible and the officers receive extensive training on this not just for the calls we go on domestic violence calls or the calls that come out but when we get involved in any activity if anybody wants to come up and ask an officer this is what I’ve heard of this what I’m seeing they’re always available to assist so we do a lot on our own outward facing public pages and our Facebook page and Twitter and we’re constantly trying to push that information out but you know we’re while we may be the police on the front end of this thing we’re really a tremendous asset for this as well thank you that’s absolutely right your partnership has been integral to the coalition in non socially distanced times and is more important than ever Matt do we maybe have one final question coming in over the text line sure so I’ll just touch on a couple of questions that came in regarding our employees who have risen to the really risen to this moment all of them and first a question about where folks might be able to volunteer if they’re an employee really Arlington Cares is is a great resource in addition to the great work that you do for for Arlington as a community there’s a question about some additional questions about reopening and whether parks and recreation would reopen and

whether employees whether whether there would be testing for employees before they if they’re working remotely if they come back to a central location if there would be testing the answers to that is that that is those are questions that we have been working on and really it’s it’s a the county manager and and Jim Schwartz we’re we’re not quite at that stage yet and Jim if you have anything to add let me know I just will add one last thing we just passed the budget yesterday and there’s some questions about the need for investments in our employees and and for compensation and then there’s also other investments that the entire board and the county manager we all wanted to make we have really had to recalibrate and and we’re focusing our resources on making sure that we keep don’t have to furlough or let go of any employees that’s a strong goal of ours but there’s a whole set of budget investments we would have loved to do but because of this COVID challenge we’ve struggled to so Jim I don’t know if there’s anything on the on the employee or the testing on that part of the questions that you wanted to touch touch base on just I would add Matt that so we have begun the internal discussions about reopening government I would at the outset caution people that that is not going to happen until at least the end of May we will be in this for a number of more weeks and then we’ll have to decide how to open safely because the virus will still be with us even though we may have seen a decline in numbers even though we may all be out of our homes and outside where typically these kinds of things see less in terms of transmission rates but we still want to ensure that the interactions that we have with the people that we serve the public are safe and in our work spaces for the employees that have to provide those services are also safe so we have begun those conversations we haven’t gotten very far in them we will still be guided as Katie said at the outset of this discussion by the governor’s sort of metrics but then there are just the practical operational aspects of how we turn back and turn things back on with regard to the question of the parks that obviously is a high priority for us because we know how much you know outdoor activities and exercise recreation are important to people having you know to be able to thrive in their lives so we have a particular focus on that I would just caution that again it’s going to be several more weeks before we’re there and even then we’re still going to have to be practicing the social distancing and wearing face coverings so with that I’ll leave it there for now great so thank you very much Jim that really helps sort of updates folks on right where we are as a leadership so Katie I didn’t want I want it just to didn’t want to leave this one o’clock hour without seeing if you have closing thoughts that you wanted to sum up with great thanks so much Matt just again want to thank everyone who’s participating with us via Chat via Facebook live we’re gonna keep doing these so if your question wasn’t answered your questions evolve over the next week our colleagues will be back Christian Dorsey and Libby Garvey to answer your questions and Matt and I will be back two weeks after that and I just want to give a particular thank you to our special guests today Jim Schwartz for the county manager’s office thank you for helping represent some of those remaining public health questions and Chief Farr Chief Povlitz thank you I think a lot of those questions about making sure your teams are staying safe is really are really indicative of the fact that our community cares a lot about those who care about and are serving us in police and fire and EMS and we’re really grateful to you to your leadership and to your teams who are out there every day Lissa and Candice thank you thank you thank you too for your work and your teams really we talk a lot about those who are vulnerable in many forms but when it comes to kids and individuals in situations of domestic violence or child abuse those really are some of the folks who are absolutely most vulnerable in our community we’re so grateful to your work and I hope community members have learned something from your comments today about the role they can play in helping neighbors who might be in danger to get help so with that Matt I’ll turn it back to you for the please for the official wrap-up Sure so you covered a couple of up sure so you covered a couple of things I I was I was going to emphasize two last thoughts really one I want everyone to know that we’re all fighting against COVID-19 and it is essential to

remember that we’re in this together and that with patience compassion and understanding we will get through this minimizing infections and helping to save lives I also want to just make one more point for resources if you didn’t get your question answered or you have additional ones please visit our website at arlingtonva.us/COVID-19 or our hotline which is 703-228-7999 for questions on what to do if you feel sick information additional information on testing access to food and housing assistance or other questions you might have about the virus please stay home and if you do go out practice safe social distancing wear your face covering and wash your hands often stay well and stay safe everyone thanks you