Coronavirus | Goodfriend, Umstattd

Loudoun County Health Department Director Dr. David Goodfriend.

Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department, spoke with the Times-Mirror on Monday about the county’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some key takeaways.

As of Aug. 8, Loudoun had 5,254 confirmed COVID-19 cases, an increase in 240 cases from one week earlier. The local death toll related to the virus stood at 115, a three-death increase from July 29. The most recent figure for percent positivity in testing was 6.4 percent, a gradual uptick from the previous few days.

Improving expediency in testing remains a challenge

Goodfriend said the good news is that expediency of testing has improved in Loudoun compared to the seven- to 10-day window seen a few months back. Goodfriend hopes Loudoun providers are able to do “point of care” testing and get the results back 15-20 minutes later in the near future, “but we’re not there yet for the most part,” he said, noting that large-scale labs have redirected resources to the deeper south and the southwest to help address the significant increase in cases.

Inova Loudoun is one health care service that has had quick turnaround times, Goodfriend said, largely because they do their testing in-house.

In other parts of the commonwealth, Goodfriend said improving the expediency of the testing remains a greater challenge than here in Loudoun.

“The goal is you want to get tests back in a day or two because that’s when you can make the most difference, particularly for people who are not having symptoms,” Goodfriend said. “The quicker we can get results effects, the better.”

Vaccines expected by winter

Widespread vaccines are estimated to come as early as December and by February at the latest, Goodfriend said. Vaccines are expected to occur during the projected second wave of the virus spread.

Still, Goodfriend stressed the importance of continued social distancing, wearing masks and consistently washing your hands.

“Those steps we’re taking now will become even more important in November, December and January when we would expect the virus to be more common because general coronaviruses prefer colder weather,” he said.

Goodfriend said with winter approaching there is going to be a need for volunteers to join the Medical Reserve Corps.

The health director noted medical professionals are concerned about residents getting both the coronavirus and the flu.

“Getting both could be even more serious for individuals, but also if you have symptoms overlap … you don’t know it’s not coronavirus until you get tested,” he said.

The flu has tended to overwhelm emergency departments in previous winters, and the pandemic could exacerbate that challenge.

Goodfriend did note some good news, saying the local Medical Reserve Corps has increased to 800 new members.

Tracing has shown a spread in the virus across age groups

Older adults and people that work in essential services, grocery stores, nursing homes and restaurants led the positive cases early on in the pandemic, but as the restrictions in Virginia started to lift in May and June, children, teenagers and young adults started letting their guard down. The county noted a significant spike in cases among young people in June. Goodfriend said some of the patients attended bars, house parties and specifically “Beach Week” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

As a result, Goodfriend said the health community has had to change its messaging and urge people to avoid those high-risk areas. One reason is to avoid the transmission to others who may be a high-risk such as someone at a grocery store.

Physical distancing will be key when schools open

Goodfriend said the health department has been working with public and private schools to accommodate their interest in reopening. Loudoun County Public Schools is reopening with 100 percent distance learning for the fall.

The health department said the keys to limiting the spread are practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings and keeping potentially infectious students and staff out of the schools.

Some areas of concern as it relates to schools are facility barriers and buses.

Transmission remains low in region, Loudoun

Goodfriend said the transmission rate is lower compared to when the pandemic first started. He said the county is averaging about 30 cases a day.

The county’s percent positivity rate in testing was around 6 percent at the time of the interview, which was well below the county’s highest rate of 23.8% in April and below the statewide average.

Goodfriend said the goal is to be at 5 percent or under. “We’re fortunate that in northern Virginia transmission is low, but we also know from our experience a couple months ago that it’s not necessarily going to stay that way,” Goodfriend said. “If people stopped taking the steps of mask wearing and physical distancing, easily our numbers will go up again.”

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have done much better than when the pandemic started, Goodfriend said. “But similar to the community as a whole, it’s that continued focus that’s critical, because anytime you relax what you’re doing, the virus finds a way to get in,” he said.

(36) comments

FreeLoudoun2020

Dr Fauci said last week the default position should be for schools to open for in-person instruction. For all the talk of being pro-science and letting science drive the public health policy we have the leader of the nation’s COVID-19 response giving guidance to go back to in-person instruction - with rare exception - and it not being followed. I wonder why that is?

LoudounClear

Did you chance your handle Loudoun4Trump?

Jeanne T

[offtopic]

FreeLoudoun2020

Bless your heart. It’s a secondary effect and directly related.

FreeLoudoun2020

Ha no. I’m not for Trump.[cool]

amerigirl

sure, how about Liberate instead of free.

amerigirl

Well that is pretty misleading. How about we finish the statement Fauci made;

“The default principle should be to try as best you can to get the children back to school,” Fauci told us. “The big, however, and qualifier in there is that you have to have a degree of flexibility. The flexibility means if you look at the map of our country, we are not unidimensional with regard to the level of infection.”

“The bottom line is everybody should try within the context of the level of infection that you have to get the kids back to school, but the primary consideration … should be the safety, health and the welfare of the children, as well as the teachers and the potential secondary effects on parents and family members,” he added.

WesternSky

This would have been a good time to remind the public that obesity is a LEADING cause of complications for those under 60 -- and encourage everyone to lose weight. And get your Vit. D.

Chris McHale

Well stated.

Marys5000

Vovan?

Jeanne T

I was in a store the other day where a very obese woman using one of the mobile chair/carts was very being vocal about about all her ailments, including diabetes, yet she was afraid of dying from COVID. I thought, lady, with all respect, you have much bigger health problems than COVID, and any one of the health issues you mentioned (including her obesity), will probably kill you before COVID. And a mask isn't going to help diabetes.

amerigirl

But those conditions make her more vulnerable to covid killing her.

Jeanne T

So does the flu.

amerigirl

Jeanne. So how would a mask not help? If it can stop the flu or covid?

Jeanne T

"Jeanne. So how would a mask not help? If it can stop the flu or covid?"

Because these are viruses, not bacteria (i.e., tuberculosis). Bacteria are about 1000 times large than viruses. And the masks are highly ineffective against viruses. Do you understand?

amerigirl

Jeanne, so all those surgical teams are wearing masks to make a fashion statement? Don’t you think they have tested the efficacy of masks? And they are aware of the particle size? The masks I wear protects against particles, not gases or vapors, and is recommended by the CDC for SARS viruses. Also according to the CDC face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of the virus. This is backed up by the Mayo https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-mask/art-20485449 UCSF https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent National Institutes of Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7191274/

loudouncommonsense

We will know when we turn the corner on covid: The covid deniers and "hoaxers" will realize the threat is at their doorstep, and then deny that they denied it was real. Or put another way, the hoax threat becomes a hoarse throat.

rational

COVID-19 will be here forever because people refuse to wear masks and social distance. Opening schools will be a death sentence for our children.

LetSanityPrevail

Not very rational.. COVID-19 just like influenza will be around a very long time since viruses mutate and vaccines are not always effective against mutated variants. People in Loudoun have been wearing masks and social distancing and short of every individual being quarantined world-wide it will not disappear. The best and most realistic we can hope for is low rates of transmission and low hospitalization rates.

LoudounClear

Wish you were right. But everyday as I ride around Loudoun I see many, many people with no mask and not maintaining a distance that would minimize transmission risk. For some it appears to be a misguided political statement. For others, maybe they're libertarians and could care less about others. We everyone to spend a few weeks in a mask and distant we could begin to see the virus spread slow to the point it's not a dice roll to walk out your front door.

Loudoun Observer

You mean like Japan? It's really sad how so many have just ignored the science behind this and blindly hang their daily virtue signaling lives via social media on "everyone wearing a mask". How soon you forget that those masks (even when made of the best material - which most aren't) really don't block anything Covid related inbound or outbound, yet they retain tons of fluids for you to carry around. N95s are good to about 30 micrometers and the average Covid particle is between 4 and 12 micrometers in diameter. For those science challenged - you are standing behind a soccer goal net thinking it will block someone from shooting you with a BB gun.

Tens of thousands of people that have been wearing masks and have only come into contact with others wearing masks have gotten Covid. Tens of thousands more that never wear masks have not been sick. I understand that the public always FEELS like they have to DO SOMETHING, even when they are largely helpless to resolve something that's scary to them - but projecting your useless habits on others is counterproductive and just makes matters worse.

More Cowbell

Why would anyone wear a mask while driving? Most stores require a mask. Glad you ride around checking everyday and seem to know everything. Cliff Clavin would be proud. The real facts are testing only tells if someone is negative for that day of testing, people without symptoms somehow are positive(with many never getting tested), then there are those who test positive and still go into work, don't quarantine. Not like there is some quarantine police checking up on everyone that tested positive. The Sky isn't falling chicken little. Stay at home if you're worried.

amerigirl

Tens of thousands of people that have been wearing masks and have only come into contact with others wearing masks have gotten Covid. Tens of thousands more that never wear masks have not been sick. I understand that the public always FEELS like they have to DO SOMETHING, even when they are largely helpless to resolve something that's scary to them - but projecting your useless habits on others is counterproductive and just makes matters worse.

LO, so so so wrong. They really do block anything Covid related inbound or outbound, and what are you doing that would make masks retain tons of fluids for you to carry around? There have been plenty of studies. Of course medical masks are better but cloth is better than nothing, https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/10/20-0948_article

loudouncooler

Whenever I am driving around the county, I see people not social distancing and no masks. Maybe 1 out of 20 people are wearing masks, which is disappointing, as Loudoun County is one of the leading hubs of the coronavirus in Virginia. It's sad that nobody cares in this county, nobody cares about it in this country, and we continuously ignore the effects of this virus. Just because they don't die, doesn't mean they don't have life long consequences. We need to start making masks mandatory when outside.

Stepup

Your irrational fears should not compel others.

While I support wearing masks in places with crowds like stores, many have embraced mask wearing as a crusade.

Squaks11

Maybe 1 out of 20 people are wearing masks? Where would that be? Every store I am in everyone is wearing a mask?

Jeanne T

If it is true that only 1 in 20 people are wearing masks (which are highly ineffective against viruses), then it is truly a miracle that more people aren't dying from COVID-19. Wouldn't you agree?

amerigirl

I agree. But s far as people in Loudoun have been wearing masks and social distancing totally disagree. I have not been to a single grocery store since this started where everyone in the store was complying.

romano

gosh, you are right....except that children aren't dying from the virus

Chris McHale

Agreed but rationally it will be an issue for those that work in the schools (bus drivers, cafeteria workers, office staff, janitorial staff, librarians and of course teachers). Many who seem to be at risk from what I've witnessed over 15 years with kids in LCPS.

LetsBreal

Shhhhh. Facts, logic, reason. No room for that here.

amerigirl

But they are still getting infected and spreading it. I wish it were true that kids never die or became severely ill from the virus but it just isn't. March 1–July 25, 576 children hospitalized with COVID-19 and 10 have died.https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932e3.htm?s As of last week 97,000 children had contracted covid. The most vulnerable are infants so if there is a newborn in the home that can be a bigger problem.

They have also become severely ill and died from the COVID-Related Inflammatory Disease (MIS-C)https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/infographic-mis-c.html

ace10

Irrational.

Stepup

Irrational fear isn’t the answer.

amerigirl

preparedness is

BladerFool

Vaccines are coming! And pigs will soon take flight. I look forward to January when all this will be over.

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