To the Fairfax County Community,
As you may know, the Commonwealth's State of Emergency ended yesterday. This is encouraging news as we enter the Fourth of July weekend and celebrate that over 70% of Virginians have been vaccinated. The ending of the State of Emergency will not greatly impact state or County operations, however I want to note a few technical changes to be aware of:
- You may have heard talk of masks now being illegal because of the end of the State of Emergency, however this is not the case. The Virginia Department of Health has assured: There is no legal barrier to wearing masks to protect oneself and others from the virus, nor should anyone be penalized for doing so. While the state law prohibits wearing a mask for the purpose of concealing one’s identity, it does not prohibit wearing a mask for the purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19. This is true even now that Virginia is no longer under a statewide declaration of emergency. You can read more on that here. Short and simple if you choose to wear a mask for comfort or because you are not yet vaccinated, you should continue to do so.
- Fairfax County's State of Emergency remains. This is because additional measures need to be taken to respond to the pandemic and its aftermath. For example, the Board must act to allow restaurants the flexibility to continue outdoor dining with tents in parking lots for up to a year following the state of emergency. This requires a local ordinance change that the Board will act on this month, but we must remain in a "state of emergency" to do so.
During the majority of the pandemic our County flag has been raised at half-mast to remember those who have died and to commemorate our front line workers. In line with the ending of the Commonwealth's State of Emergency, I ordered the flags to return to full-mast. While we still have work to do and need those unvaccinated to continue to be diligent and wear masks, Fairfax County has made incredible strides in our vaccination efforts.
- 75% of people 18+ have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
- 62.7% of people 18+ are fully vaccinated.
- In May, we held 86 vaccine equity events that distributed over 16,000 doses. 84% of event attendees were Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Pacific Islander.
- For our population 65+, the proportions of those vaccinated ranges between 70-100%!
- Only one zip code in the County has reported a percentage below 70%.
That said, as vaccination rates slow and as variants spreads (like the Delta variant), we will likely see increases in COVID-19 cases in our Health District, particularly among those who are not vaccinated.
I urge you, if you or your family member is able, to get vaccinated. This is the most effective way to keep yourself and family healthy. Read more on that here and available Fairfax County Health Department vaccine opportunities this holiday weekend here.
Finally, I want to thank our Health Department for all the work they have done to get us to a point where we are seeing some of the lowest levels of disease transmission since the pandemic began. This work would not have been possible if not for our committed staff and our extensive Medical Reserve Corps program. Since March 1, 2020, we have had 1,358 volunteers contribute 56,781 hours to slowing the spread of this disease. Their volunteerism is inspiring and we are all forever grateful for your dedication to the community.