Podcast: County Executive Bryan Hill on the Ongoing COVID-19 Situation in Fairfax County

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On the August episode of the “Connect with County Leaders” Podcast, Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill shares updates on the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Fairfax County, which is still in Phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s “Forward Virginia” plan, as well as support for the school system and school-age children, Census 2020 and more.

Hill also had specific messages for county residents, the business community and county employees. One of his messages to everyone was to stay healthy and to stay rested and recharged, both mentally and physically.

“What I’m seeing is a lot of folks that are working very, very hard, diligently working and are getting very tired. So please take some vacation time for the folks that have not been able to. We need people that are rested, and this COVID coronavirus pandemic has not allowed us to rest and recharge batteries. So, I’m hopeful that everybody is taking a mental health break, a physical health break, as well taking some time out with their families.”

The county executive added that the Fairfax County Government “is here to help serve and protect all residents of Fairfax County,” and that “the Board of Supervisors and the great staff of Fairfax County are indebted to you all [residents] during this time.”

“If you need us, we are here. We are going to do the best service that we can possibly do during these hard times. So, if you need us, please, please, please give us a call or come into DTA or whatever you can do. But if you can do it from a distance, that’s even better, because obviously we have not gotten to a vaccine for COVID-19. But again, we’re here to serve. And we’re here to protect and that’s what our job and our focus and our mission is.”

Coronavirus Update with County Executive Bryan Hill – Connect with County Leaders (Aug. 2020)

Highlights of the “Connect with County Leaders” Podcast

On the Return of Employees to County Facilities Coupled with Childcare Concerns

We’re going to continue doing telework provisions. You have to work with your supervisors and your directors, and how we could work from home or if you come back into the office. You can have flex schedules. My goal is certainly to ensure that we continue providing the service but give you the flexibility … and if we can, continue to move forward the way we are. We’re in a good place because we’re able to move and adapt. But if it’s a set schedule, you have to be here at eight o’clock and you have to stay until five, I know that’s impossible during this pandemic. And if … supervisors are saying mandating it, that is something that we can’t do. Obviously, we do have public safety and some in public works that have shiftwork. So, I have to work around that a little bit. But for the most part, if you’re able to telecommute, and you have childcare concerns, I’m leaving it up to you to work with your supervisor to see how you can make this work.

Any Major Changes as We Remain in Phase 3

We have seen some hours increase in the Department of Tax Administration and Land Development Services. But we haven’t seen many changes. Again, our goal was to continuously provide services to our community, our residents, and to ensure our staff continue to have a workplace that’s safe. Those changes have happened. We have a safer workplace. We have increased the amount of PPE throughout our county at our buildings, as well as putting up face coverings and guards around the county operations, the key physical and social distancing, and we’re doing it per CDC guidelines as well as per Health Department guidelines.

Census 2020

It’s all predicated on numbers and federal funding and being able to provide a community with what they deserve. And if our population is 1 million, and we only have 500,000 people responding, we then lose out on a lot of federal funding. Luckily for us, if our population is 1 million, which it is not, it’s 1.2 million, but I’m doing this for easy math, and you said 77%, so the way I look at life, we’re 230,000 away from being 100%. So that’s 23 cents off of $1. And ironically, that’s about what we get from the state when we send $1 down to Richmond. So, let’s bump this up a bit. We still can do it online; we can do it by paper. We have people coming to knock on doors. So. let’s bump it up. If you know people that haven’t done the census, tell them let’s do it.

A Message to County Employees

If you’re tired, please take a vacation. Go away somewhere. And when I say go away somewhere that’s probably retreating back to your house and put down the tablet and whatever. But know that I really appreciate all the hard work you’ve been putting out. From top to bottom, we’ve done a bang up job thus far. But you know, the end is not near, but it is insight. Hopefully we’ll have a vaccine at some point so we can get back to somewhat normal. But as I say, just continuously wash your hands, keep social distancing, physical distancing, wear your face guards, be healthy, go out and work out because those are things that can keep your mental health in a good place.

Listen to past episodes of “ Connect with County Leaders .” For other Fairfax County podcasts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts , and for additional audio content, tune in to Fairfax County Government Radio at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/radio .

The “Connect with County Leaders” podcast is a regular opportunity to meet and connect with Fairfax County leaders, to learn about the latest county news and information, and hear more on specific Fairfax County programs and services.

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