May 18, 2022
Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast. Coming up, learn about COVID cases in Fairfax County, the national Emergency Alert System test, Webinar Wednesday, the University of Wisconsin Population Institute’s 2022 County Health Rankings report, fawning season and Fairfax Alerts. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
For several weeks, cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 have increased in Fairfax County and across Northern Virginia. Earlier this month, several jurisdictions in the region transitioned from low to medium COVID-19 Community Level, as defined by CDC, including Fairfax County and Falls Church City. Outbreaks in schools, primarily the elementary grades, increased rapidly. An outbreak is defined as a cluster of three or more cases of COVID-19 illness in a group within a 14-day period. Disease increases are likely related to the emergence of new Omicron sub-variants (BA.2, BA.2.12.1) and fewer people using mitigation measures such as masking or distancing from others. COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Fairfax County remain low though the rate of hospitalizations has more than doubled in the past month. Get more details on COVID cases and what’s going on in Fairfax County, check out the emergency blog at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/blog.
The national test of the Emergency Alert System has become a near-annual tradition since the first one was conducted in 2011. But as reported by Insider Radio, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will not conduct a nationwide EAS test in 2022. It will be the second year of the last three without a national EAS test. FEMA scrapped the 2020 test after it concluded broadcasters and federal agencies had enough on their plates coping with the pandemic. It returned to testing last August with a national test that was similar to what ran in 2019 with a test of the broadcast-based architecture with a daisy-chain of stations spreading the message from 76 Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations. The final report showed the test message reached 89.3% of the EAS participants, an increase from 82.5% in 2019. Among radio stations, the government said 88.8% of all participating stations successfully received the alert, and 87% were able to successfully retransmit the alert.
Are you interested in learning more about preparedness? Then you may want to join the Department of Emergency Management and Security for monthly webinars on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. The topics each month mirror the 2022 emergency preparedness calendar (PDF), with some additional information sprinkled in. For June, the webinar will include information about pet preparedness and lightning safety. So make your plans to join emergency management and security staff for the next webinar at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1. To learn more and find an overall calendar of events, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergencymanagement/citizen-corps-council.
According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute 2022 County Health Rankings report, Fairfax County is ranked the fourth healthiest county out of 133 in the commonwealth. Falls Church City ranks as the healthiest locality, while Fairfax City ranks as 13th in healthiest outcomes. Health rankings are among the measures used to understand how long, and how well, our residents live. Rankings data include several measures, including access to nutritious foods, the percent of children living in poverty, air and water quality, housing, and transit. While change in health-influencing factors takes time, the Fairfax County Health Department continues to collaborate with community partners through the Live Healthy Fairfax initiative to improve the health of all residents of the Fairfax Health District. The vision of Live Healthy Fairfax is to engage and empower residents to achieve optimal health and well-being. Learn more online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health.
Fawning season is here and calls to our Animal Protection Police and Wildlife Management Specialist about white-tailed deer fawns on residential property have begun. White-tailed deer fawns are born April through July, with most fawns born in May and June. Newborn fawns are often found on lawns, in flower beds, gardens, bushes or areas of tall grass near homes. It is common for people to encounter white-tailed deer fawns motionless and without their mother, then mistakenly assume it is orphaned or abandoned. In almost all cases, fawns are only temporarily left by their mothers for protection and just need to be left alone. Female deer, called does, typically leave their fawns bedded down for extended periods of time while they are away foraging to avoid leading predators to their young. If you see a fawn that appears abandoned, leave it alone. The mother may be out of sight but is likely nearby. Does will return several times each day to move and/or feed their young. These visits are usually undetected by people because the mother deer only stays to feed the fawn for just a few minutes before leaving it alone again. The mother deer will be wary of you and human presence could prevent her from returning. Give the fawn space and keep children and pets away to allow the doe to return and care for her fawn. You should only seek help for a fawn if it is showing obvious signs of injury or distress, such as wandering and crying incessantly, has swollen eyes, shows signs of trauma such as visible wounds or broken bones, or if there is a dead lactating doe nearby. If an animal is displaying these signs, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, veterinarian or the Animal Protection Police for further assistance and instruction. Do not feed the fawn or attempt to care for it yourself. Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal in Virginia unless you have a wildlife rehabilitation permit issued by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. A fawn’s best chance of survival is to remain in the wild under the natural care of its mother. If assistance is needed, you may locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by calling the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources toll-free wildlife conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003, 8-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Fairfax County Animal Protection Police can be reached through the Police non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.
Finally, Fairfax Alerts is Fairfax County's free email and text messaging alerting system. You can sign up for free and begin receiving texts and emails about severe weather, traffic alerts, emergency alerts, and even community news and information. Choose up to 10 delivery methods, including cellphone, home phone, email, text messaging and more. Signing up is not only free, but easy. Just go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts. Sign up today and begin receiving alerts from Fairfax County immediately. That's www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.
That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Va., Government. Thanks for listening. Additional information about health and safety topics and emergency preparedness may be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov. And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.