Health Department

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administration office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.

703-267-3511
TTY 711

10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030

Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H.,
Director of Health

FAQ: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Virginia Department of Health

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Fairfax Health District FAQs

Information for Fairfax Health District

What is the Fairfax Health District?

The Fairfax Health District includes Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, the City of Falls Church and the towns within the county.

What is Fairfax Health Department doing to respond to COVID-19?

The Fairfax County Health Department is working closely with its local, state and federal partners to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

  • We work to quickly identify or respond to cases of COVID-19 and take the appropriate public health action to reduce its spread and protect the general public. That rapid response helps ensure that the ill person is isolated from others and receives the care they need and it lessens the chance of other people getting sick. 
  • We provide information and guidance to hospital systems, health care providers, public safety and first responders, on how to evaluate individuals presenting with symptoms of COVID-19 to ensure that possible cases are managed safely, to support laboratory testing, and to implement recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
  • We monitor and manage outbreaks in high-risk settings and recommend infection control strategies, including guidance on isolation and quarantine, personal protective equipment, and environmental sanitation.   
  • We recommend appropriate community measures, such as social distancing or temporary closures and cancellations of events and large gatherings, to reduce the impact of COVID-19. 
  • We inform and educate our residents on the important personal protective measures they can take  ̶  good hygiene (hand washing, covering your cough), staying home when sick or when around someone with COVID-19  ̶  to prevent the spread of illness to themselves, their family and their community.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation and our actions are based on the best scientific information we have from VDH and CDC and subject to change. We will continue to work with our partners and health care communities to incorporate the most up to date information in our response efforts. 

Is the Health Department still providing health services?

To help limit the spread of the coronavirus there are several closings and changes in Health Department Services that went into effect on March 30, 2020.

For the latest information about available services see this alert.

Is there community spread in our area?

Yes, cases of COVID-19 and instances of community spread are being reported in a growing number of states and regions, including Fairfax County and Northern Virginia.

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Learn more about protecting yourself and others from coronavirus.

Where do I find out what more about what is open?

For the latest information about phased re-opening, please visit the Phased Reopening Information page.

It is important to remember that while restrictions are easing the emphasis is still on a “Safer at Home” strategy. Residents will need to continue practicing protective behaviors which includes social distancing, wearing face coverings and good hand hygiene.

Where else can I find county information related to the coronavirus?

Please see the county COVID-19 page for updates, operating status and other resources. 

Resources can also be found here: English | Spanish

I want to help, what can I do?

Thank you for your interest in assisting the COVID-19 response effort. There are several ways that you can volunteer and donate. Please visit Ways to Donate and Help During COVID-19.

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities to assist with COVID-19, please consider joining the Fairfax Medical Reserve Corps. Information can be found on our website. After reviewing information, click on the link that says “Become an MRC Volunteer” at the bottom of the page

How do I become a contact tracer?

The Health Department has received many inquiries regarding plans and employment opportunities related to COVID-19 contact tracing. Contact tracing is an important element of the Fairfax County Health Department’s approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The Health Department has been conducting contact investigations since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, utilizing a large number of staff who have been redeployed from other public health work, including school health.

If you are interested in potential contact tracing employment opportunities, please visit the County’s employment page as well as the Institute for Public Health Innovation (a contract partner) for available positions and updates. If you are interested in volunteering to support aspects of the County's COVID-19 response other than contact tracing, please consider joining the Fairfax Medical Reserve Corps.

Learn more: Help Still Wanted: Recruitment of Contact Tracing Staff Continues

Information about Testing and Cases

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

If you have symptoms and are concerned that you have COVID-19, you are encouraged to seek testing from your health care provider or other provider offering testing.

Please visit our testing page for more information and to find testing locations. 

Can I get tested for COVID-19 at the Health Department?

Public health departments in the region are not conducting testing for COVID-19 except for a limited number of patients who meet certain criteria for testing established by the Virginia Department of Health. Because there is limited testing capacity at this time, it's important that we use criteria to identify people who are most at risk of having been exposed. If we use our tests for people with no or low risk, it will impede our ability to identify cases. Private labs are increasing their capacity to test and offer another avenue to test people who do not meet VDH testing criteria. It’s important for you to see your health care provider who can make a decision if testing is needed.

Why is there not more testing in our community?

The Fairfax County Health Department is encouraging anyone who has symptoms or an exposure to COVID-19 to get tested. There are currently nearly 30 sites across the Fairfax Health District offering COVID-19 testing for both insured and uninsured residents. If you need a test, contact your health care provider or visit one of the sites listed on our testing page.

I do not have a doctor or a medical home. What do I do?

Fairfax County offers many options for people who lack medical insurance. Please see the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Health Care Options for the Uninsured website for those options.

 

How many cases of COVID-19 are there in Fairfax County?

We provide daily updates about the number of cases and deaths in the Fairfax Health District. Please see the COVID-19 Case Information page.

Please note: the information shared on that page is not intended to be used for individual diagnoses or to measure individual risk. 

Can you provide more information about cases?

At this time, the only information about cases is provided on the COVID-19 Case Information page.

Additional information will be provided on case investigations that identify significant community exposures, or when events warrant.

Please note: the information shared on that page is not intended to be used for individual diagnoses or to measure individual risk. 

What is Fairfax County doing to stop the spread of COVID-19 at long term care facilities?

The Health Department has contacted all of Fairfax County’s assisted living and skilled nursing facilities and provided education on COVID-19 prevention. 

Whenever there is a case of COVID-19 in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, the Health Department works with management and staff to ensure full implementation of infection control practices. These include isolating all residents who have symptoms of illness; restricting congregating and eliminating gatherings; screening of staff for symptoms at the beginning of each shift; discouraging cross-facility employment; guiding appropriate use of personal protection equipment (PPE); providing guidance on enhanced cleaning practices; and implementing visitor restrictions.

As we continue to work with facilities to ensure these practices are followed to limit continued infection, we cannot underestimate how critical personal responsibility is at this time. Our community can help us prevent the spread of illness by practicing social distancing, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds and staying home when sick.

More information can be found on the Health Department’s long-term care facilities webpage.

Is there guidance for day care centers?

The Fairfax County Health Department is updating daycare guidance based on the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia Department of Health, and Virginia Department of Social Services recommendations consistent with the Governor’s current orders for phased re-opening. The Health Department will be providing this updated guidance to daycare providers.

  • Since daycares are considered high-risk settings, the Health Department begins its mitigation work right way in response to one case to prevent the spread of further illness.
  • The Health Department pro-actively reaches out to daycare facilities when we are aware of one COVID-19 case, before an outbreak.  We work with the facility’s administration and staff to review the situation, complete thorough case investigations and contact tracing, review their practices, offer guidance, and conduct a site visit by our specialized task force comprised of environmental health specialists, epidemiologists, and public health nurses.
  • During the site visit we look for any areas for improvement and collaborate to develop facility-specific recommendations.  Additionally, we provide resources for these facilities to help them stay current on the frequent updates to guidance.
  • Should two or more cases occur within a daycare (which we deem an outbreak) we would provide ongoing outbreak management and operational recommendations as stipulated by guidance from agencies listed above.
  • Our partnership with the facility continues with scheduled check-ins during the remainder of the outbreak and beyond to provide rapid response with making isolation, quarantine, and operational recommendations as well as responding as new cases or concerns arise in the future.

What is Serology testing? Can I be tested using this information?

Serology, or antibody, testing checks a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. When someone gets COVID-19, their body usually makes antibodies. However, it typically takes one to three weeks to develop these antibodies. Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people may not develop antibodies. A positive result from this test may mean that person was previously infected with the virus. Talk to your healthcare provider about what your antibody test result means.

Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. To see if you are currently infected, you need a viral test. Viral tests identify the virus in respiratory samples, such as swabs from the inside of your nose.

We do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do, how long this protection might last. Scientists are conducting research to answer those questions.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Does the Health Department supply PPE?

The Health Department does not have stockpiles of personal protective equipment, known as PPE, that can be shared with community providers and we have no special track to get our orders filled immediately – we are facing delays like everyone else.

How do I donate PPE?

Please visit the Ways to Donate and Help During COVID-19 page to learn more about donating PPE such as facemasks and gowns.

Should I wear a face covering?

Research shows that cloth face coverings can reduce the virus’ spread, especially when worn by everyone. Face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that face coverings will now be required when people are inside public spaces as of Friday, May 29, and the executive order is intended to limit the spread of COVID-19.  Learn more: Face Coverings Now Required Inside Public Places in Virginia.

If you have questions, concerns, or complaints about the face covering executive order from the governor: Call the Virginia Department of Health at 1-877-ASK-VDH3 or make a report online. Do NOT call the Fairfax County Health Department or the public safety non-emergency number about compliance with the governor’s executive order for face coverings.  

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

  • It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. 
  • CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  
  • Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
  • The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
  • These face coverings should be routinely washed, depending on frequency of use. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.
  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

See full guidance from the CDC.

Other COVID-19 Related Information

Can I get COVID-19 from a mosquito or tick bite?

At this time, there is no data to suggest that this new coronavirus or other similar coronaviruses are spread by mosquitoes or ticks. The main way that COVID-19 spreads is from person to person, through respiratory droplets.

However, ticks and mosquito do spread other diseases. Learn more about how to protect yourself from the Disease Carrying Insect Program.

The American Mosquito Control Association has additional FAQs related to mosquitoes and coronavirus.

Sources: CDC, WHO

What do I need to know about using disinfectants safely?

According to the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), when using an EPA-registered surface disinfectant, always follow the product’s directions and remember:

  • Never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products. This includes never applying any product on List N (the agency’s list of disinfectants to use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19) directly to food.
  • Never mix products unless specified in the use directions. Certain combinations of chemicals will create highly toxic acids or gases.
  • Wash the surface with soap and water before applying disinfectant products if the label mentions pre-cleaning.
  • Follow the contact time listed for your product on List N. This is the amount of time the surface must remain visibly wet to ensure efficacy against the virus. It can sometimes be several minutes.
  • Wash your hands after using a disinfectant. This will minimize your exposure to the chemicals in the disinfectant and the pathogen you are trying to kill.

Learn more from the EPA

See also: Tips for Cleaning and Disinfecting at Home during COVID-19

 

I heard "X", is it true?

Facts matter.

See the COVID-19 Myth and Rumor Control page  for more information about distinguish between some common rumors and facts regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Do your part to the stop the spread of coronavirus, as well as the spread of disinformation, by doing three easy things:

  1. Don’t believe the rumors.
  2. Don’t pass them along, especially on social media.
  3. Go to trusted sources of information like Fairfax County Government, the Virginia Department of Heath and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get the facts about (COVID-19) response.

What do I need to know about public drinking water fountains and bottle fill stations?

Public drinking water supplies are safe to drink, however the surfaces around the fountain including the spout, button/leaver and nozzles could pose a risk for the transmission of COVID-19 and other germs.

  • Don’t place your mouth on the spout of the fountain or allow your water bottle to come into contact with the nozzle when refilling.
  • Test the water flow and let the water flow for 10 seconds to allow for fresh, clean water to come through prior to drinking.
  • If the fountain requires you to push a button or lever, clean the surface before and after, or use your elbow.
  • Clean your hands afterwards with an alcohol-based rub or wash them with soap and water.

To minimize the risk of Legionnaire’s disease and other diseases associated with water, building operators need to take steps to ensure that all water systems and features (e.g., sink faucets, drinking fountains, decorative fountains) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown. Drinking fountains should be cleaned and sanitized, but also encourage people to bring their own water to minimize use and touching of water fountains.

It's important to stay hydrated, especially during these very warm summer months, but to take into consideration these above recommendations.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant