Health Department

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.
703-246-2411 TTY 711
10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H.
Director of Health

Understanding COVID-19 Risks

Archived page: This page is no longer being updated and is available as a reference only.

For more information about how to stay healthy visit: Protect Yourself & Slow the Spread of COVID-19. Information about Daily Activities and Going Out is also available from the CDC. 

If you need a vaccine, find out how to make an appointment. 


!Assessing Risk

You are safer at home. There is no way to ensure zero risk from COVID-19 when leaving home. In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

We cannot say how risky all the activities you may wish to participate in are, but we can share 4 important things to consider:

  1. The more people you interact with the more your risk of getting COVID-19 increases. Even if someone does not appear sick, they may have COVID-19.
  2. The closer you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of getting sick. Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces where it might be harder to keep people apart and there is less ventilation.
  3. Spending longer time with people who may be infected increases your risk of becoming infected.
  4. Spending time with people who don’t wear a cloth face mask increases the risk that they could spread infection to you.

It is important to note that there are people who need to take extra precautions to keep from getting sick. A few examples include: older adults, people who are immunocompromised, and people with chronic lung disease.

?10 Questions to Ask Before Going Out

 Before leaving home, consider how you would answer these questions.



Ask Yourself Consider

Is COVID-19 being spread between people in Fairfax?

COVID-19 continues to spread between people in the Fairfax Health District. You can find out more about cases on our Data Dashboard.

It is important to remember that there are infections in every part of the county and no specific area can be considered safe from COVID-19. 

What is open and what requirements do I need to be aware of in Fairfax?

Stay up-to-date about what is open and what restrictions are still in place. Visit the Fairfax County Phased Reopening Information page.

Face coverings are required by executive order of the governor when people are inside public places. Learn more.

Will my activity put me in close contact with others?

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with others, so it is important to continue to social distance (maintain at least 6 feet of distance). Close contact is being within 6 feet of a person who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

  • You and the people around you should wear a cloth face covering when in public and particularly when it’s difficult to stay 6 feet away from others consistently.
  • Choose outdoor activities and places where it’s easy to stay 6 feet apart, like parks and open-air facilities.
  • Use visual reminders—like signs, chair arrangements, markings on the floor, or arrows—to help remind you to keep your distance from others.
Am I at risk for severe illness?

Older adults and people of any age who have underlying medical conditions might be at  higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and may need to take extra precautions.

While the risk for severe illness is lower for others, everyone faces some risk of becoming seriously ill.

Do I live with someone who is at risk for severe illness?

If you live with someone who is at risk for severe illness, then everyone in the house should take extra precautions when considering going out so as not to bring the infection home. You may choose to limit your activities out of the house to help protect others who are vulnerable.

Additional guidance is available for those living in close quarters.

Will I have to share any items, equipment or tools with other people? Choose places where there is limited sharing of items and where any items that are shared are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between uses. You can also choose to visit places that post or announce that they have increased cleaning and disinfection to protect others from COVID-19.
Will I need to take public transportation to get to the activity?

Public transit can put you in close contact with others. Visit the Commuter Connections Commute with Confidence website to learn more about local transportation policies and safety guidelines to consider when planning travel.

The CDC also shares general guidance on how to protect yourself when using transportation.

Does my activity require travel to another community?

If you need to travel, there are several things to consider such as:

  • If COVID-19 is spreading where you are going
  • How you are traveling and if that will put you in close contact with others
  • Possible requirements to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive at your destination or return home

Before considering trips outside your community, consult CDC’s travel considerations.

If I get sick or come in contact with someone who is sick, am I prepared to miss work or school? 

If you are sick with COVID-19, stay home and away from others (self- isolate). If you are in contact with someone who is sick within 6 feet and for 15 minutes or more, stay home and away from others (self- quarantine). Learn more about how long you need to stay home.

You should plan ahead so you are ready if this happens. Be familiar with your work or school’s telework or sick leave policies.

If you need assistance while you need to stay home, call Coordinated Services Planning at 703-222-0880 to get connected.

Do I know what to do if I get sick? Know the steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick. Make a plan:
  • Talk with family members now to determine who will help you if you get sick.
  • Recognize that caring for a sick family member puts you at greater risk for illness. Make a caregiving plan now for an ill family member.
  • Keep extra medicines, cleaning products and groceries on hand in case you need to stay home for a while.

Learn more about this from the CDC on their Deciding to Go Out page.

Face CoveringProtect Yourself and Others

 If you do consider going out, there are things that you can do to protect yourself and others. 



  • If you are sick, or have been in contact with someone who is sick: STAY HOME. Everyone has the responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Fairfax. Know the symptoms and stay home except to seek medical care. 
  • Wear a cloth face covering. You or someone you come in contact with may have the virus and be able to spread it to others even without having any symptoms. Using a cloth face covering is important to reduce the risk that you could spread COVID-19 to someone else if you are infected. Your face covering needs to cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly behind your ears or back of your head. See more tips.
  • Maintain social distancing. Maintain at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others because the droplets that come from talking, coughing or sneezing and spread COVID-19 generally will not travel more than this distance. 
  • Bring hand sanitizer and tissues with you. Hand sanitizer should be at least 60% alcohol. Tissues can be used to cover your coughs and sneezes (and should be properly thrown away after use).
  • Use touchless options when you can. Avoid contact with high-touch surfaces whenever possible. For example, order and pay for items ahead of time when possible. 
  • Wash your hands when you get home. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water is one of the easiest things you can do to help stop the spread of germs. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth is also important. Here is a handwashing refresher.
  • Call ahead. Ask what extra prevention strategies are in place. For example, are there extra cleaning protocols or procedures to help maintain social distance?


Handwashing icon Additional Ways to Reduce Risk 

Consider which errands you may be able to do remotely or how you can limit contact with others. If you must go out to grocery shop, pick-up take-out, bank or get gas, learn more about how to reduce your risk.

If you are 60 years old and older and require assistance with grocery shopping or pharmacy pick-up, the Neighbor to Neighbor program may be able to help. Learn more and find out if you are eligible.

A number of Fairfax County key government services are available online. Visit the Assistance from a Distance page to learn more.

The more people a child or coach interact with, the closer the physical interaction, the more sharing of equipment there is by multiple players, and the longer the interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Therefore, risk of COVID-19 spread can be different for each activity. 

Visit the CDC's Considerations for Youth Sports page to learn more about risk and how to take precautions.

Watch this video for tips when playing sports: 

The COVID-19 pandemic has required us all to make changes to our daily routines and many of us are missing the things we used to do like going to a restaurant, the gym, getting our nails done, or visiting the library or parks. Visit the CDC's Personal and Social Activities page for ways to stay safe as these places reopen. 

The Fairfax County Public Library has made adjustments to how they operate and offers many digital services.

Fairfax County Park Authority parks and parking lots are now open, with a few exceptions. Find out what you need to know before you go. 

Consider finding out if your health care needs can be done remotely or find out how to protect yourself if you need to be seen in person or to visit the pharmacy.

Children who are not up to date on their immunizations will be at greater risk for vaccine-preventable illnesses, including measles, chicken pox and whooping cough. Learn more about Childhood Immunizations and Required School Immunizations in Fairfax County.

While services are consolidated, clients in need of essential services offered by the Health Department can make an appointment. Visit the clinic page to learn more. Services are also available for those without health insurance.  

If you are 60 years old and older and require assistance with pharmacy pick-up, the Neighbor to Neighbor program may be able to help. Learn more and find out if you are eligible.

Events & GatheringsIf you are thinking about attending or planning an event:



Related Resources

COVID-19 Holiday Health Guidance

Guidance to help you plan a safer holiday celebration.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant