hello and good afternoon my name is Christian Dorsey and I’d like to welcome

you to our live updates on cold in nineteen I will moderate our Town Hall this afternoon and I’m pleased to be joined by my colleague board chair Libby Garvey and we also have several members of the county’s executive leadership team in attendance for the Town Hall Jim Schwartz our deputy Kent County manager dr. Aaron Miller the director of urgency management and dr. Reuben Varghese director of public health so I’d like to thank everyone for joining us as we continue to host these weekly discussions with the community on Facebook live and we’re thankful for your continued participation although our fight against COBIT 19 is far from over our community has remained active and engaged with one another from food deliveries and making face coverings to clapping for our health care heroes and every Monday and events like our recent town hall address the impact of the corona virus on the decennial census business does continue as usual with our county government despite the emergency and we are pleased to announce that today we opened our application process for our small business grants as you may recall from a previous Town Hall grants of up to $10,000 are available to Arlington based businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees who’ve experienced direct impacts as a result of the social distancing restrictions and the stay at home orders associated with our response to the pandemic applications will be accepted through May 17th and there are excellent resources and webinars along with guidelines that are available at Arlington economic development dot-com for businesses looking to participate now our community does continue to progress in the fight against kovat 19 but there remain challenging days ahead of us as the number of new cases can used to grow in Virginia and in the National Capital Region we currently have nearly 34,000 cases at last count in the region and along with that 1,400 fatalities while in Arlington our case count is one thousand three hundred and nine along with 48 kovat 19 related hospitalizations and we’ve also experienced unfortunately 56 fatalities of Arlington ian’s it is important to note that Arlington along with our sister jurisdictions in Northern Virginia comprise more than half of all kovat 19 cases as well as hospitalizations and nearly half of all fatalities despite the fact that we are a little more than a quarter of the state’s population the impact here is different because of our regional characteristics it is a central that we continue to coordinate across borders to combat the virus and to a plan or our eventual economic recovery which won’t simply begin when we quote reopen unquote but will only occur when we can safely reintegrate all of us into public and communal life we live in an interconnected region where our residents cross our cities counties and states daily to live work play and pray businesses large and small have storefronts and operations throughout our region germs don’t recognize jurisdictional boundaries and we must continue to coordinate policy implementation along with our regional neighbors let me give you just one example before I turn it over to chair Garvey if we consider the closing of bars and restaurants if just one locality were to loosen restrictions and allow bars for example

to reopen before other jurisdictions those establishments would become magnets for patrons who could access them we is very easy with our limited regional geography as well as great connectivity in the transportation network and this could potentially cause the spread of a novel coronavirus across many jurisdictions and make it more difficult for public health officials to do the necessary testing and tracing to control any outbreaks so with that to give you an update on the very many conversations on regional cooperation and coordination I’ll turn it over to Libby Garvey thank you it’s great to be here today and it’s great to have Doctors Varghese and Miller with us and deputy director Schwartz I think the theme today is you know everybody’s thinking about reopening and this is not if I can sort of be such an open-and-shut case this is not going to be a simple thing and I think cooperation and data good data are the themes of the day so as we all know good date is gonna be crucial to our being able to know when and how we can begin to open reopen our local economy and while some data on cases we’ve got it and we look at that data because testing is still not very widespread and not very available as it needs to be this is more of an indication of how we’re doing we do have solid numbers of course and that’s like the number of patients we have in our hospitals and how that’s increasing the number of patients in ICUs and how our protective equipment is going so those are numbers and metrics that we watch very closely here and I think as we all know the last last week governor Northam announced that he’d be announcing this week and probably later today sort of his plans for how we might start reopening the Commonwealth and I think for a while many of us were kind of nervous about this because there’s a sense that um perhaps the governor’s looking at the Commonwealth as a whole which he needs to do but we all know that Northern Virginia is very different and I have been working very closely with my colleagues in the region and the other mayors and chairs and through the Northern Virginia Regional Commission we have a phone call twice a week to try to make sure we’re coordinating we had the governor join us on those calls sometimes as well as our federal representatives and yesterday we had a very good call with the governor and his team and he made it pretty clear and and made us all feel fairly reassured that he understands how unique Northern Virginia is with our density in the amount of cases we’ve got and that when he makes this announcement there’s going to be an understanding and some flexibility for us to do what we need to do depending on the data that that we’ve got he has said that he’s got some metrics that he’s going to be looking at one of them is he wants to see a downward trend in the percentage of positive cases over 14 days he also wants to see a downward trend in hospitalizations over 14 days and we need increased testing and an ability to do more contact tracing finally we’ve got to be looking to make sure we have enough hospital beds and intensive care capacity as well as an increasing and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment so those are the metrics he’s got and pleased that they’re gonna be looking at differentially at the state because I think the numbers particularly on the trends will be different for Northern Virginia than it will be for other parts of the state so we will see what’s gonna what’s gonna be happening is as Christian as you said it’s really essential that we coordinate across our borders I think everybody’s understanding this we live in an interconnected region and we really are only going to be as healthy as as the jurisdictions around us because the germs just keep moving so not only I’m working with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission you christiane are working I know with our colleagues in DC and Maryland through the Council of Governments as well as the Northern Virginia region and I know our staff are working extensively all around the National Capital Region which is which is really crucial I think we all realize that this virus if there’s a weakness somewhere in this region the virus will find it and take advantage of it and we’ve got to make sure that we are uniformly strong and uniformly using the same metrics and the same standards to try as we gradually reopen and look at also probably doing things differently in different sectors and with that I think I might turn it back to you Jared Dorsey I think people probably got a lot of questions they want to ask and I look forward to to getting the questions and and talking about it thank you so we are now going to begin with questions and we encourage those who are watching to submit questions you can either do so through the facebook chat box or you can also send us a text message at five seven one three four eight three oh five three we have a number of questions that have come in already before we get to those though I want to provide a framing question that I’d like for dr. Varughese to answer cases in

Arlington have increased nearly fivefold over the last month they’ve increased by a little bit more of a rapid rate for the National Capital Region other data points show that there’s been a slower spread of the virus in our region than in other places the point is with so many data points out there what do you recommend that our public focus on in assessing how we’re doing in managing the pandemic thank you Christian with an excellent question and what I’ve tried to point out to many people in the large scheme is that in many ways we won’t know when the official peak has hit until we see numbers consistently come down and maybe that’s a rather obvious thing and I just want to make sure people actually realize that is something that we really need to be thinking about I’m gonna put up a slide first and if I can if it works here and Christian do you see this slide on the screen we don’t have it yet Ruben but it may take a second for you to share it just want to make sure that anything yet I’m not seeing it all right well then I may let me just make sure I did the right thing there we go it’s coming okay I just had to follow instructions so there you go all right I will okay so what people should be seeing on the screen now is some graphs in purple and on the vertical axis you’ll see daily number of cases and then on the horizontal axes number of days since the first case the big purple bump is imagine this as an outbreak with no interventions at all so you have a virgin population who’s never seen the infection they get exposed they don’t separate in any way they continue to expose each other and eventually you get to the top of this curve but it’s one of these things where you have to realize without interventions the virus has to go through the community before it’s going to burn out if you look at some of the things we can do what if we put interventions in place so to reduce that peak some of the things that we’ve been asking the public to do first or the physical or the personal hygiene habits washing your hands covering your coffee cleaning surfaces at home staying home when ill combine that with now some of the societal hygiene habits that we’ve been asking the governor stay at home order wearing face coverings in public those two different things help to what we do flatten the curve and what people have to recognize this flattening the curve does not mean stamping out the curve and so we’re gonna still see cases happen but they’re going to be pushed along over a greater period of time while these interventions still have to happen so with that sort of concept we’re trying the best we can to put those pieces together I think people a question behind the question that Christian you asked me was what what should the public look at and I will tell people what I’m looking at and I’m hoping that’s eventually going to pop up on the screen here as well it is yeah yeah we say green and pink okay good hasn’t changed on something else so I just wanted to make sure so it’s a lot of busy data what I want people to roughly look at I’ve asked to have to look at the hospitalizations in Northern Virginia all of Virginia and the middle column is the portion outside of Northern Virginia and looking at the data for a 14 day period and basically what we’re trying to see which is not a rocket sciences are we seeing a decrease in the inpatient hospitalizations related to kovat and for the Northern Virginia area there have been days where we’ve actually seen less than the day before which is a trend we’d like but third days when we go back to having it go above that you know the previous day obviously we’d like to see consistently over 14 day period the numbers either staying the same or declining so this is kind of a curve within a curve so Christian you’d ask me about what I’m looking at the predict trends when I see this becoming all green or that’s my desire but at least all yellow first which means there’s no change then it

means it’s a solid plateau then as we see the numbers decreasing this would be a way to say that the severity of the illness which is hospitalizations is also an indirect way of saying that the volume of disease out in the community is also lowering because hospitalizations can’t occur without there being cases in the community and we still have community-wide transmission and that is why we are still saying all of the things we’ve done we need to continue to do because we know not everyone can stay at home and that may be a good way to eventually talk about the zip code data so I’m going to leave it there thank you very much Ruben we appreciate it so let’s get to a number of questions that we’ve got coming from our community both via chat and on Facebook live so why don’t we stay with sort of the public health areas of testing there are a lot of questions about testing and its availability and I want to speak specifically to one person who notes that they have a vulnerable family member who has been showing symptoms but is nonetheless been denied kovat 19 tests and there’s confusion about what is required to get a test if you are symptomatic and why would it be difficult for someone who is vulnerable in a vulnerable population to get access if they are showing symptoms any insights dr. Varughese sure obviously people with symptoms have been prioritized for testing where wherever they can find testing so they can actually go to the hospitals the Virginia Hospital sites set up with Arlington County at the Quincy Street site but that would have to be a drive-thru model all they’d have to do is actually get a prescription from their doctor or using the hospital to screen they can do that as well they just can’t show up that day if they have to be scheduled for that other places like anova are providing that testing at their sites one of the things that we’re trying to do is also move from the walk but from a car model to a walk-up model and that’s what we’re trying to do with hopefully a soft launch on the south side of town as well so there are tests out there it’s just that finding them are not as easy because we have to still have there’s a supply chain issue so I would have the caller or the tech store check with a hospital and they’re their own doctor they get a prescription they should be able to schedule the test at that site but I follow up with a question Christian um dr. varughese cuz we get questions kind of along this line could say we decide there’s a group of people that we want to test maybe in a in a nursing home maybe it could be like a school you know the teacher can we just test you out can we just decide here in Arlington County we want all of these people tested and have them tested great question it’s a complicated answer but we would like to be able to do more testing but there’s a limited capacity so we’ve been working with a Virginia Department of Health and the state they have resources through the Virginia National Guard so that if we need to do say facility wide testing we put in request for that and then they have to schedule those things to be done they will likely our ties the requests because it’s a limited resource for the whole state and so they’ll prioritize places maybe with at risk for an outbreak or trying to help change recommendations at a facility as far as we know new schools are open at the moment so that should not be an issue but also jails are prioritized and have had those things happen having said that we know the hospital has worked with a number of the facilities to do testing as they request we have on occasion going into facilities to help diagnose one or two of the first cases so we can help declare whether there’s an outbreak or not because that’s an important thing for us to do we don’t then try to identify every single person because we have limited resources but we then put infection control recommendations to those facilities and then that’s what we monitor in that process we we have to kind of ask the state I mean they listen to us right and we have a lot of influence which is good you don’t just decide dr. Varughese that these people need to be tested you need to work through the state to make that happen through the state and then facilities have to actually agree to these things as well it is not just a that dr Varughese can order this that or the other thing that’s not something that any of my health director colleagues have as a authority in Virginia thank you I think that’s kind of confusing to people because they sort of assume I would assume that we could just sort of do this but we can’t quite just do it thank you so along the lines there are lots of testing questions particularly

dr. Varughese you know if you see a point at which testing will be available for aids symptomatic people as part of a public health strategy to manage our risk and then to if that’s not going to be possible and not going to be made available what are the key indicators and testing that you’re gonna look to if we can’t broadly test everyone sure and I’ll ask Aaron to chime in afterwards if he’s got any additional things as well as from Schwartz testing is an important thing to altom utley do and the reality is we don’t have as much testing nationwide Virginia wide or Arlington wide or in the National Capital Region it’s the reality the supply chain for all of these things has to be grown and every day that capacity increases but we’re not to where we would like to have testing and ultimately we have to eventually have vaccine to be able to really get away from the physical distancing and face covering recommendations we’re going to ask people to do from now even with whatever level of reopening we do so that’s kind of the important thing to look at having said that without the testing information in some ways it is some of the things that I’ve already talked about we will look at things like the hospitalization inflammation how many people are ill that we have reports on and eventually as the numbers increase in testing how many of the tests end up being negative rather than positive but that requires a lot more testing to be available in the community for us to be able to start seeing that we start seeing a high number of tests being done and all and representatively across the county in the region and then still seeing them being neg negative Aaron is there anything you’d like to add I think there was you know I want to emphasize a point that you made earlier and that was sort of how the Virginia Department of Health criteria has evolved and changed based on the supply chain of testing that has become available I want to point people this week earlier the governor and part of announcing a new strategy around testing laid out what is called and then you can find us on the Virginia Department of Health website and we’ll provide the link in the chat box it is the recommendations and prioritization for testing and it lays out the Commonwealth strategy for using its Public Health lab assets and those at Virginia Commonwealth Virginia Tech the division of consolidated laboratory services and the private lab providers and I think you know that strategy outlines answers to some of the questions that people may have about things which we call in in public health emergency management Sentinel surveillance right widespread testing and public health monitoring and then as well how testing is being approached for at-risk populations two pieces of the puzzle that I want to add Ruben’s discussion is the state has recently received and will receive for a month the months of May and June over two hundred thousand two hundred thousand additional test kits that the Virginia Department of Health will be able to use this is supplemental from the CDC and over a hundred and seventy-five thousand transport mediums and so sort of the goal is as Ruben mentioned to stabilize the supply chain and testing resources so for the next two months we have this back stock and then localities like Arlington are working with the state to establish and expand our own capacity where we’re able and the walk up testing site is a great example of how we are working to do that and provide more access for the community thank you and Erin why don’t we stay with you because we’re gonna get into a question of questions about masks and masks use and maybe if we can sort of talk about where we stand with the current science and guidance on the use of face coverings where they’re most effective where they’re most necessary and how should people respond if their environments out in public or within their multifamily buildings for example where someone doesn’t have a face cover sure a great question I think we’ve been fortunate enough to cover this in a number of town halls but I think this is one of the important things that we can hit our public health professionals continue to recommend that wearing a

mask in public wearing a cloth face covering in particular is very important not only to protect yourself but also other people so this is about spreading germs as many folks have mentioned in a chat there is there are concerns of a symptomatic trend of transmission so having that cloth cloth face covering does help reduce transmission so keeping that social distance is the other key to that so that six feet distance and maintaining the appropriate distance as well in public dr. Varughese said this last week I have my cloth mask here I wear this cloth mask every time I step out of my office door so I’m in my office right now obviously just me when I step out even into the common areas of my office when I’m in the hallways of our buildings and when I go in public I have this or another cloth mask actually have two with me one that keep in my car so that’s what I would say if you’re in a multi-family blowing you’re out in public as soon as you leave what is considered your sort of private space so whether that’s your room your office your apartment you should be wearing that cloth mask to protect not only yourself but also the rest of the community and maintaining those those distances are key and critical to the continued Public Health strategy those are the reasons that we’ve been able to see this flattening of the curve that Ruben mentioned and as we have discussions of people going back into public and resuming activity there are a key component of the strategy it’s not one or the other all of these things are fundamental building blocks to keep the community safe can we follow up on that a little bit Erin if you would I got my mask here too we got a question if everybody bore mass whatever they were outside their their home there you would that mean the virus go away away in a couple of I know so I’ll let them I’ll let Rubin speak more more specifically but this is I’ll say this the the virus is not just going to magically go away we know that there are a lot of things that have to happen particularly vaccine development as dr Bernie’s mentioned but also more research on therapeutics that can help us understand better how to treat this however there are a number of studies and Public Health has shown throughout decades decades and decades of research that wearing these face coverings should large portions of the population where these face coverings we can bring down the transmission rate of viruses from individuals spreading germs and it’s not just through this particular virus it’s proven from flu it’s proven from cold it’s proven from a number of other respiratory viruses that having these simple face coverings can reduce transmission to manageable amounts and that’s what’s important about what little invention it’s about continuing to manage the impact and make sure that our healthcare system as well as everyone out there can’t handle the impacts of the virus dr. Varughese sure very little that I can add there excellent but just as the visual as people may think about if you’ve ever seen pictures of people coughing or sneezing and seeing what comes out you know when they do the special photography what these masks do in many ways is you’re reducing the volume of germs that are going out into the atmosphere being landing on surfaces okay so that helps but as Aaron also said you know still stuff is come to come out these are not airtight things because if they’re airtight we can’t breathe anyone who wants to wear an n95 all day long I welcome they’re trying it it is not the easiest thing to do that’s why we’re also other than just recommending it for healthcare workers and EMS there are practical reasons but let me as you pointed out this is a way to help lower the curb reduce the volume of germs buying us more time as Aaron said till we get to better treatments and ultimately to the day with a vaccine to be able to come out of having to do this just to be clear the next dimension of this is people wondering whether or not the local government is going to mandate the use of masks and I want to assure people that is actively under consideration and we’re looking at the best ways to pursue pursue that and we recognize that for some people until it comes with the government imprimatur of being a mandate they’re not going to do it but we also have to be mindful that once something is mandated we have to have an effective way to enforce it which is

another dimension that requires some considered thought but we we do want the message overall for people to understand that we want to also make sure that issues of mask availability are not an issue so we’ve stood up a task force to make sure that we can make these cloth vapes coverings available to people who don’t have an easy means to either get them or make them and then we create the culture of voluntary compliance that we figure out what’s the best way that government can affect people to comply through some sort of a mandate but that also that our enforcement makes sense and that we don’t put ourselves in a position that unfortunately we’ve seen in other communities when various officials have tried to enforce social distancing restrictions they’ve been met with violence harassment and even in some cases being killed so we don’t want that obviously to happen here so we are we are taking an approach to make sure we can do it effectively to protect everyone in the ways that have been described anything else to add Libby I wonder if maybe Jim Schwartz would like to talk a little bit about our experience with enforcement um there’s the mask issue there’s Parks and Rec and I know he’s been working on that and I and any trends and that he sting and comments he might like to make Thank You Man yes thank you madam chair so we are actively out in the community when I say we I mean our Park staff and the police department but sort of in keeping with mister Dorsey’s comments we are encouraging people we are I would call it kind of a soft enforcement we’re not in a position to be citing people the way we might for a traffic violation or that sort of thing so we’re really trying to just encourage people to follow these good practices and not have the heavy hand of government imposed and imposed here all right thank you and one last question asks should people wash their mass cloths I think the answer is yes how often anybody well the recommendation is if you’re gonna use the same mask you should be washing it every single day obviously if you have a supply of other material remember a lot of people think they need something with loops and so on all you need is a bandanna tied around your face would qualify and if you’re gonna reuse it then you need to wash it every day why don’t we stay with the science for a little bit we have some questions about what has changed in terms of what constitutes symptomatic patterns for kovat 19 at the beginning there was a lot of talk about fever and news since has shown not only that there are many asymptomatic carriers but the symptoms themselves have changed what should the public be looking out for with their own health for determining whether or not they need to seek kovat related medical attention sure good question so what we learned from abroad was be focused on things like fever coughing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing that was what was originally coming out and we have the benefit of being able to put in more systems in place as a nation to collect more data and so we’re able to learn more as we’ve been dealing with this crisis and so as the all the contact trade information that close the case identifications we’ve done here in Arlington and elsewhere all of that information gets summarized and assent to the c-d-c and as they recognize there are more things than fever cough and shortness of breath that seemed to be associated chills muscle pain sore throat including and also including a new loss of taste or smell others less frequently reporting things like GI symptoms like nausea vomiting and diarrhea none of this is unusual in one sense because the body can only respond in certain ways with a virus but this is a virus that apparently now has both respiratory and some non respiratory symptoms and that’s a little bit different for most things as we learn more about it having said that unchristian one of the things we talked about and is why we sent out the mailer to the households just because you have these symptoms doesn’t mean you have to go get tests testing done I understand people want to know but they need to realize that what we’re recommending at this time is if you can you stay home you rest get the support you need to be able to recover from this because the vast majority people will recover the value of testing from an individual perspective is if you eventually need to be hospitalized where they’ll do the testing as well it may qualify people

for special compassionate use of medications that are traditionally used for other conditions to get that permission to use it but it may seem like it’s doublespeak saying don’t we need more testing and I’m going to say yes but any one individual they shouldn’t get so worked up and start worrying that they because they don’t have a test something as bad is going to happen looking at the larger picture we’ve told doctors you can make a clinical as opposed to a laboratory diagnosis and encourage people to still follow the recommendations we’ve made and seek care if you’re not getting better okay let’s turn a little bit to some of the questions that we have on reopening and a reopening strategy and so maybe we start at the 25 thousand foot level and what are the Arlington specific issues and needs and concerns that we are looking at when determining when it is safe and practical to reopen from some of our restrictions mr. Jim Schwartz why don’t you start us off with that that high level approach Thank You mr. Dorsey so this is actually a topic that has engaged the county manager and his executive leadership team for the better part of the last couple of weeks now that conversation is mostly driven around how we begin to look at with the restoration of some of our services and the potential to continue doing some business the way that we have over the course of the last seven or eight weeks what has worked and what we can continue to to apply to our providing services in the community in the terms of the broader community obviously we’re going to be informed by the governor’s actions as was alluded to earlier we expect some more information later today from the governor as to how he is seeing things a key point in in the governor’s change of view has been that there seems to be an understanding now that the Northern Virginia region who as we’ve already indicated has been more affected by the virus than other parts of Virginia at least to date will in all likelihood be allowed to measure our reopening at a different pace than the rest of the state the county manager Marc Schwartz is actually on a regional call as we speak with his colleagues as they are looking to how that would be coordinated across the across the Northern Virginia region so we’re looking at a lot of this we’re trying to come up with ways that would both protect the public as we provide services to them and certainly our workforce when we’re talking about the restarting of some of the ways that we provide services and then I’ll let Erin would be good to follow on that sure so as as Jim mentioned the leadership team across the county has been looking at this from a policy standpoint but those of us in the Emergency Operations Emergency Management world have been looking to coordinate not only what that means as far as resources and supplies so whether that is what additional disinfecting and cleaning materials we need to be cognizant of cleaning public spaces more often whether it is what supplies do we need to provide our employees including face coverings and other personal protective equipment and more importantly what lessons have we learned from the last several months as the chair said and as mr. Dorsey said government has not stopped we are still delivering vital services and critical services for our community everything from crisis intervention and behavioral and mental health to food and rental assistance for those members of our community who are having an especially tough time with this disaster we know that those needs are going to continue and is important for us to ensure that we have continuity of those services and determining ways in which we can Kenny can continue excuse me to deliver those services in a quote new world right in a new fashion and you know I think it’s it’s just as important for those of you in the community to know that we take that seriously and as it focus and work with us to provide feedback in those particular areas to how we can better deliver some of these services and partner with the community in those regards I had a question Krista just to kind I don’t know who this is for because you know

we’re obviously doing a lot of thing and think thank you Erin for that because we are really rethinking what we do and how we do it are we gonna be giving guidance to our business community and the rest of the community I know the the governor is looking at breaking out his guidance along sectors so in other words there there’s a restaurant and beverage sector those kinds of things there are retail where it’s bricks and mortar that’s different from gyms from personal care you know there are all these different levels beaches I think is the one we maybe don’t have to worry about but we do have pools so are we gonna be providing some guidance by specific I don’t know sectors quite the right way of doing it because different kinds of businesses and organizations handle people differently so the virus would behave differently any any thoughts of what kind of guidance we might be providing there yeah so a wonderful question and yes we actually had talked about this in the last couple of days based upon what the governor’s framework looked like so I’ll give a good shout out to our Arlington economic development partners and the team there has worked throughout this to provide guidance as we mentioned things like grant opportunities for our small businesses that have been impacted but yes we’re working to not only take the CDC best practices and for those that are familiar with this OSHA the Occupational Safety and Health Administration release new guidance on protecting workers in the workplace so we’re taking documents like those and as they are developed and helping to translate those best practices for our community we are working to develop some of those resources that will include things like this right town halls or virtual opportunities dr. Varughese and I talked about this sort of you know chances for those sectors or those businesses within Arlington to ask a public health professional I thought about it like office hours that we used to have with teachers right you know have an opportunity for those businesses and those sectors to ask questions of our local workforce and our subject matter experts to help them out yes we are looking at that and want to be able to roll those out and concert with what the governor announces for instance today once we have more information on what his framework is going to be in her thank you and I know I would say one of the things we’re looking at ways we can adapt I think one things we’re looking as longer hours so I think that’s great the the doctor is in for consultations as you mentioned there and if people have got questions that you know we might nine-to-five is probably not going to do it so that’s great thank you dr. Varughese did you want to say something excuse me for interrupting well why don’t we stay here for a minute because we do have some questions about how the governor’s plans for reopening interact with Arlington’s own local authority to operate within an emergency and if I could frame it and maybe turn it over to Jim Schwartz to bring further context to it but the way that we operate in Virginia is that the governor through his executive orders has the effect of instituting laws that are applicable to the entire state including our lling ttan that fundamental fact does not change during an emergency while we during the course of our local emergency have much broader authorities than we would have normally those do not go up to conflicting with executive orders issued by the governor and in the case of closing of certain businesses the executive order that we are operating under as of right now permits businesses that are not considered not explicitly designated to close it allows businesses to operate provided that social distancing is implemented and it is our understanding as the legislative body that instituting ordinances that violate that are contrary to that are not within our purview so our approach is to hopefully give the governor or have the governor provide us the latitude through his broad executive orders for the state anything you want to add to that mr Schwartz no I think you hit it very well mr Dorsey this is just a matter of us taking the governor’s orders and implementing them at the local level in a way that quite frankly he’s not being as specific and detailed that we will take to you know put our government operations into practice and then Christian I’d like to just build on this a little bit back to where we started which it’s not only the governor in us then we’re working with the region again so that we may come up with some things and I don’t know if um if mr. Schwartz or or dr Varughese or Aaron want to talk about that at all but I think it there’s so many different levels of coordination it won’t work unless we do that so I know

people sometimes wonder why we can’t give just a real clear answer we’re gonna do this but we’ve got a lot of different things to consider no I think that you’re exactly right the that that’s why we participate in the Council of Governments it’s why we participate in the Northern Virginia Regional Commission it’s why every day dr Varughese is on multiple calls with his colleagues across both the Northern Virginia and the Commonwealth so that we are coordinating our activities we are not stepping out in a way that sends a signal to our respective citizenry’s that you know what it what we’re doing in arlington is somehow out of alignment with what our partners you know right across a jurisdictional boundary that as was alluded to before does not pose a barrier to the transmission of the virus we do have a question about the economic health of our county as we manage this crisis what economic indicators are we using to gauge our financial health I’ll kick us off and and then certainly living Jim add-in where you feel appropriate you know overall you know when you consider the biggest issue that we are facing as a result of this is the dramatic increase in unemployment and those numbers while I do not have them off the top of my head it is an exponential increase in unemployment from the start of the crisis to now where weekly unemployment claims were in the teens as a regular course of business pre restrictions they are now in the thousands of new unemployment claims every week it is incredibly severe when you look at the overall rate of unemployment as a result of kovat Arlington and in Northern Virginia as well are better situated than other parts of our Commonwealth so relatively we are in an okay place economically but that’s that’s relative to others during the pandemic relative to where we were at the start this is incredibly incredibly severe we certainly see the impact on our budget in anticipated revenues for fiscal year 21 where we we just passed a budget to fill a 57 a 56 million dollar you know revenue hole and that’s something that we were able to to to manage thoughtfully I believe but you know to put it in an overall perspective you look at unemployment you look at the impact on revenues that come from taxes generated locally you look at the amount of people who are able to stay in hotels hotel occupancy rates are down to unprecedented ly low numbers we have some severe economic stress and it’s going to take a while to dig our way out of it thank you and Kristin you started off at the beginning talking about the grant program that we’re working on to try to give loans or an outright grants to businesses to keep going and sometimes that’s a bridge hopefully to getting to some federal support that may come in but we really want to keep our businesses going and and I’m really pleased the way the community has been stepping up because we had a we had a grant program that we just repurposed and immediately moved the funds into this new new program to help during the pandemic and I think it was the Crystal City bid I think immediately jumped in and provided some more funds and some other organizations have been doing that as well I think this whole community realizes that we’ve got to keep everybody going to get us to the other side and then one of the programs I’ve mentioned before which I think will be very significant for a commercial real estate is how we’re handling the real estate taxes so some companies actually pay while homeowners have monthly payments and some may be having problems and kind of avail themselves in this program a lot of its businesses they may wait until June to pay you know there’s six months of their tax bill which can be quite significant and suddenly find they have the resources to do that so our treasure has a taxpayer assistance program and I know while some jurisdictions and we’ve gotten some pressure to actually just delay the taxes don’t don’t collect them and June collect them in July this is going on for a long time so a month delay is not going to do it and what we need is something that’s gonna be more structural and I think in many ways this this tap program really can help it allows that you pay 10 percent of your tax you’ll have to pay the whole thing just ten percent of it and then we’re working through John Marshall Bank they pay us the taxes and then the businesses or individuals pay back to the bank over ten months so you’ve got ten months to spread it out which makes it much more doable particularly for commercial establishments and we still get the money to continue operating the county which we have to do and it keeps it all from grinding to a halt so those are a

couple of the things that were that we’re doing and this is certainly as much a healthcare an economic crisis as it is a health crisis but you can’t separate them stop and we are getting pressure just open up just open up and you hear that well if people are getting sick and companies can’t run because they’re their workers are sick or their people are afraid to come in the economy’s not gonna do well we’ve got to deal with the underlying issue which is this disease so I’ve talked along a lot a lot sorry it’s a big issue though it’s terrific we’re gonna move to a an area of issues around specific elements that have been restricted to use or otherwise closed and where they may fall within the hierarchy for reopening so maybe Jim Schwartz can start us off and the question specifically are looking at parks and outdoor facilities you know what we’re gonna do in terms of basketball courts and tennis courts and where they may fall if we’re going to take a phased approach to read opening what will be the guidance that’s part one part two what will be the guidance for use of trails and park facilities as it relates to masks understanding that it may be difficult to engage in physical exertion while wearing a face covering and then third if you can remember all this when we think about our public facilities are we going to do anything differently to disinfect in monitor areas and surfaces that are used by lots of different people for example shared use restrooms between employees and the public give us any of your thinking on that understanding you won’t be held to any firm decisions yeah so thank you mr Dorsey what lets you know I in terms of again the high level to maybe contact setting the manager has been very clear with senior staff and actually with the Intel we did a town are an employee Town Hall just a couple of days ago that we will not be opening anything back up and again I’m I’m always trying to look for the right words here because with the exception of some things like parks some of our amenities that have been closed government has largely been open and providing services especially those essential services that dr. Miller alluded to earlier but what the manager has said is that we will not begin the process of restoring some of those other services including parks before the month of June and in fact as late as this morning the parks director was saying that in her conversations with her colleagues across the region it looks like they are focused on the June 10th date that the governor set for his initial closures and that that would be a date that they are currently looking at across Northern Virginia to reset parks now when we do that and it isn’t just parks it’s it’s all of our facilities we have to gear up for that issue of cleaning disinfecting spaces that sort of thing and that actually isn’t was another portion of our conversation as late as this morning with the executive leadership team our Department of Environmental Services is leading a multi Department team that is looking at all of those issues both within our buildings and and then some of our other facilities think of a restroom at a park that might reopen in early June how do we how do we deal with that I this is a this is a time though perhaps to reinforce the idea that you know we’re not going to be able to disinfect and people will potentially come in contact with the virus despite our attempts to minimize that and so we return once again to the important aspect of washing our hands with great frequency if you touch a surface it’s going to be great that you disinfect that surface to the extent that you’re possible it’s going to be just as important that you wash your hands after engaging with that surface think a restroom door as as was mentioned in the question let me stop there and see if I’ve hit everything that you asked I’m sure I missed a couple of things sorry I was on mute for a second that is that is fine Libby do you have one a hat do you want to add anything about some of your priorities for reopening in phases and we got one of the questions somebody asking if this team has met yet with a new superintendent and I don’t know but

seeing as the new superintendent was appointed last night I think I can safely say not yet but I wonder if any of any of our gentlemen here would like to talk about the issue of schools and reopening at all that obviously needs to be worked through with schools but I think we’re just starting to focus on how you know if we need to continue the social distancing and things this is gonna affect how schools are gonna reopen and handle things so I don’t know if people want to touch on that and I did want to give a shout out to our libraries because they are they’ve got the Cova zine I think it’s called or panzine anyway they’re doing a lot of things on longhorns quarantine thank you I couldn’t remember which is great but they also repurposed almost every employee with libraries now working in food distribution so you know people think well you’re not doing that people are doing nothing no you’re as much as possible repurposing people to allow us to you know better respond to this virus and support our community so I think that’s just a you know shout out to our to our libraries for how well they and they are repurposing and handling this and helping everybody continuing during difficult times but I don’t know Jim or Ruben or Aaron if you want to talk about a little bit the issues you’re kind of looking at with schools I assume you haven’t met with super new superintendent yet but I imagine you will yeah let me start that chair Garvey the no we’ve not met with the new superintendent as yet his announced the announcement of his selection was made this morning to the executive leadership team but we were all pleased to see that he is starting quickly that he’ll be here at the beginning of June and we look forward to a positive you know a great working relationship as we have always had with with the school system I think in terms of the schools the schools are likely going to have to do quite a bit you know as the rest of government is doing which is as you pointed out with a library example adapting a lot of how we are providing services there have been some great examples of that across across government I will also say that we are very mindful because we have employees that are in the same position whether they live in Arlington or elsewhere in the region that the this restarting of schools the restarting of child care is going to be absolutely essential for us restarting you know all of the services that the community is accustomed to because the way family the way the family dynamic works today we have parents that depend on functioning school systems in child care the availability of child care in order to give us part of their day and come serve the citizens of Arlington let me turn it over to Erin first to talk about the coordination with schools who have their own emergency manager and some of the work that we do with them on a regular basis as as we gear up for their own scenario sure briefly I’ll just note that as Jim said schools the Arlington Public Schools does have its own individual emergency management program and a lead for that we have through our framework been coordinating with them on not only resources so whether that is personal protective equipment for school officials and those that are continuing to conduct essential business but also on a number of their programs of program delivery and so you know go to one of the things that we talked about a number of weeks ago on these town halls the cooperative for a hunger-free arlington obviously that is a whole community effort and as part of that we are helping ApS and supporting their sort of lines of business that go towards this we’re going to continue to you know lean on our Emergency Management partners in ApS for their input and track it very closely Thank You mr. mill and I believe we’re also working on trying to provide more support and make sure that all the students are connected through the internet all right terrific so a few more questions we’ll try to knock some of these out quickly so dr. Miller has Arlington Erin have we begun to track documentation to submit to FEMA or all forms of assistance that might be available to our locality great question and I appreciate my public assistance minded folks that are out there yes since day one we have been tracking the necessary documents and have also supplemented what what our capacity is with some contract capacity that is allowable and eligible for reimbursement by the federal government the

Commonwealth as you know acts as the primary submitter up to FEMA for reimbursement and the county has provided all the information to date necessary for that we are fighting hard with the Commonwealth to make this what’s called a hundred percent funded disaster that very rarely ever happens but we’re gonna see what we can get now an important part is something that I think has been mentioned it’s not only about what we can get through FEMA for public assistance and reimbursement it’s about the funding streams made available in the cares Act it’s about the funding streams made available through CDBG money that you know the board obviously can help prioritize and and set sorts towards some of the needs that are there but it’s also money and HHS and other avenues and one of our commitments as staff is to help provide all of that information to the board so that they can help inform the policy and develop guidance for us in how we best fit the assistance from the federal government to the area of need our goal is maximize eligibility and maximize allowability that’s one of the things we’re committed to doing in emergency management thank you and in some ways we’ve had a lot of practice with that too this pandemic is news and its size but we’ve had a lot of emergencies we’ve worked through those you know those structures for we had a question about real estate taxes and why they have increased during a time of crisis so I’ll frame this a little bit and then turn it over to to Libby to add what you would like but just to be clear the county board with the budget that was most recently passed which will cover the year beginning in July beginning July 1st does not call for an increase in a real estate tax rate however due to increased assessments over the previous calendar year most bills for Arlington residential taxpayers will rise not because of an increase in the rate but because of an increase in values and Arlington doesn’t have flexibility to determine the value of a property and remember those values were assessed prior to kovat so that is the nature of where we are from a tax perspective it seems that most other jurisdictions in the region not just in Virginia but including the District of Columbia and Maryland are either at a place of holding their tax rates steady or I think some are even still proposing an increase which is not something that we have done and just to speak to the point of dealing with a crisis we realized that there are lots of needs that are merged whether it be housing insecurity food insecurity the assistance for small businesses that we’ve talked about so to meet those needs and concerns we’ve had really substantial levels of investment to ensure that we can provide direct assistance cash assistance where necessary you know smoothing out the expenses that people have over time providing grants for businesses etc so we’re trying to meet the needs as best we can and with the tax rate we did keep the tax rates steady and while I know that many people would have loved to have seen a tax rate reduction as we’ve talked about during this town hall the functions and and workings of government have continued throughout this crisis and will continue and will ultimately need to be paid for and we do that primarily through the real estate tax rate yeah thank you I think the only thing I lied and actually so much is we’re trying to be strategic so when it comes to real estate taxes where we’ve got the tap program I described earlier we have a variety of program for seniors and for others and anyone having trouble paying their real estate taxes just let the treasurer know and she will work with people to the maximum amount that she is allowed to do that but again we provide a lot of really important services that are our safety net is is really stressed right now and if we want to keep this community going we can’t stop government we’ve got to keep it going a lot of taxpayers are in the you know don’t have trouble I use myself I have a widow’s pension and I’ve got my county board salary which is continuing thank you not and that is I can pay my real estate taxes and there are a lot of people who are in positions where their work is continuing their pay is continuing they can pay their taxes and we need to not just like stop taxes for everybody because some people having trouble but others are not we need to be very strategic in how we handle this so we’re still keeping the the real estate taxes are how we fund government which we have to keep going but we are putting in place as much as we can all kinds of supports for anyone who’s having trouble with those taxes or having trouble with getting food or anything else so it’s

just kind of the way it works it’d be nice to not have to pay taxes but we need the services that they provide thanks indeed so another question about parks or a series of questions about parks but what do we what do we plan mr Schwartz you can start us off with this and thinking about either soft enforcement hard enforcement and promoting more importantly promoting what are the best practices for behavior in those places where it’s just really difficult to you know figure out your game plan we’ve talked a lot about grocery stores and pharmacies and essential businesses where you can conceptualize six feet of distance and in fact they often help you with marking it for you you can think about those masks indoors because it makes sense but what what are we gonna communicate to people who may want to go out to a park to recreate and and you know not sort of wear a mask but then they could be placed into an environment where lots of people are around them not that they planned it but it just happened what are we planning on on providing as far as guidance and education for the broader public on effective and safe use of park-like facilities when when when we do reopen yeah mr. Dority I would say that you know we’ve we’ve been messaging from the very beginning and we have I would say our messaging has evolved as guidance from CDC and from the Virginia Department of Health has also evolved many may remember that when we started the concept of a cloth mask any kind of a face covering was not considered a routine it was not part of our messaging because public health officials had not come to the conclusion that there was of great benefit there so those kinds of things are evolving and I think you’re gonna see an evolution in our messaging also I can’t tell you today that we have worked out exactly to go back to your example of parks when parks open we’ll all activities within parks be available to people I don’t think we have an answer to that yet that’s the kind of thing that we’re still working on it would be hard to conceive of you know three-on-three basketball in you know in one of our at one of our facilities as early as the end of May or the beginning of June but again that’s the kind of thing that we’re continuing to work on we’ll continue to work with with public health and then our messaging will be hopefully and I’m not hopefully I expect that our messaging will be in both the traditional ways that we’ve been doing it and also more signage in facilities as a constant reminder to visitors to our facilities what we hope for them you know what kind of practices we hope for them to follow perhaps dr. Varughese wants to add something to that sure I’m just turning up my camera I know it’s really tough for folks to stay put and not go out and interact as they have traditionally done and the reminder here is the reason why we’ve been grateful that this message has been adopted by the county is we’re trying to prevent that interaction of unrelated units being part of this discussion so I know it’s a really tough thing to do and I’m grateful for everyone who’s been cooperating and we are working as hard as we can to figure out when it’s safe to allow these things to happen because we don’t want to reopen only to close again that would be even worse than not starting and I think we also I think Christian is you started off talking about we’re working more on the whole the whole cloth covering and being able to provide masks to anybody who needs and wants them and I think we’re gonna be kicking that off next week and I don’t know if we’ll have mass dispensers at places or how we’re gonna handle it but I think we’re going to want to make sure that everybody’s got a cloth covering um and somebody are you talking about going to the park I mean I’m assuming I just carry mine in my pocket when I go out for a walk because a lot of times I don’t see anybody but as soon as I start seeing people I just pop it on and I think happily masks are fairly small and easy to do and I’ve had a daughter that’s made me several so I’ve got a I’ve got but anyway I think there are I think there are a lot of masks in our future um I don’t know what we’re gonna be like when we open up again I don’t know anybody wants to that’s a place to finish you’re not Christian um just like you know what what’s the end point I think we’re not quite sure yet so yeah

well I you know I think that’s we can certainly give some wrap-up comments on that but I did want to get one more substantive question in there for dr Varughese it kind of picks us back to where we began and look at that wonderful form and how to coffin – you’re the crook of your elbow nicely done doc but if we want to think about testing again so the the concerns are from people who are chatting and texting in why in the world is Virginia so so far behind in testing and is this an issue where the Northern Virginia needs and concerns are so different from the state that we’re not getting the level of testing that is required and just is there anything that can be done on the local or regional level to break through what for all appearances is inadequate testing given that we have heard that constant refrain all the time testing testing testing let me try to remind everyone what’s involved with testing so given that we’re you need to of course have someone to test that’s the patient we’re going to assume at this point they have symptoms we first have to collect the samples and there are two pieces to that we directly with the the person either an oropharyngeal or nasopharyngeal swab basically Fancy’s terms for putting a swab towards the back ear nose all the way back to where it meets the throat or putting it all the way back in your mouth where it beats meets the throat and you swab and collect that sample where they believe the virus most resides and putting it in what we call viral transport media both of those things are not easily obtainable that is there have been shortages of that you have to have the personal protective equipment the PPE for the person doing the testing to be able to do that that’s not necessarily as readily available supplies of all of these things are improving but they’re not to the levels that we’d like them to be so that’s just those aspects when that viral transport media and collection sample are put together it has to go to a lab and the lab has to have the reagents or the chemicals to actually a sense test to detect whether there’s virus present or not the reagents aren’t as plentiful because everyone in the globe is also competing for something that in a just-in-time economy no one thought you would need this much reagent to be creative and then you have to also talk about how many labs can run this sort of thing so it’s a confluence of so many things that have to come together and be corrected having said that the state has a task force try to improve those things and they are very well aware that we are only we are third from the bottom on this and they’re trying to compensate and create more testing test collection opportunities testing opportunities so we will get better and we share your frustration that we are not where we would like to be okay so I think we’re gonna wrap up and we thank everyone for their questions it was hard to keep up with the flow of questions coming in via chat via text and via Facebook I think we did get to two most of them and if there were any specific questions that asked we’ll try to follow up as appropriate through the through the chat function and would like to remind everyone that there are considerable resources that are available that may in fact address your questions at the arlington VA dot u.s. kovat 19 website which has been newly reorganized as of a week or so ago to to provide better navigation and to be more user friendly in accessing information also we have our co vid hotline 703 two to eight seven nine nine nine if you have questions about what to do if you feel sick you want information about testing the current state they’re there of access to resources whether it be food or housing all can be available through there and you know Libby I think it would be appropriate for you to sort of wrap up with what you’d like to see as far as the new normal but I’ll just sort of say in closing thank you all thank you all for being such good participants in these live updates on Kovac 19 it’s been about 60 days since we had our first confirmed case in Arlington and the fundamental changes to our the way we operate and daily life has been tremendous and it’s been disruptive to all of us and it’s been devastating unfortunately for some of us so as we continue the fight against Kovan 19 it’s essential to remember that we are truly all in this together the actions that we take are not only for our own benefit

but for the community at large and with your continued patience compassion and understanding we’re going to get through this and and hopefully we’re going to get through it and be even stronger than we were before absolutely thank you Christian I don’t think I’ll talk about where we want to go I could talk for another hour or so and not quite figure it out so we won’t do that on this one but I do want to say one just real quickly I you know I started out this year talking about equity and I think we are working on equity in spades here working to make sure the most vulnerable among us get through this and I think we’re seeing all kinds of gaps in our safety net and problems with equity that have created problems for all of us so we need to deal with that and we are I talked about innovation I everybody is innovating all the time and I do thank everyone also for their patience and their ability to innovate and their good humor as we all try to get through this and make it up as we go along nobody’s got all the answers nothing’s gonna be perfect because we haven’t done it before so thank you for everybody that and then my last theme was resilience and I do hope I agree Christian in the end that we will be more resilient as a community we will be more equitable and healthier and in a better place so that we will use this to actually get us to a better place in the end but we’re gonna be a while getting there and then I’ll end up everybody face coverings please six feet distance wash your hands thank you so much to our Christian you for moderating you do a great job on this thank you leading us through this and thank you doctor’s Miller and Varghese and Jim Schwartz thank you so very much for everything you do I know you guys are working really hard and have been doing it since since January at least thank you very much for what you do and onward and upward thank you you

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