Coronavirus Briefing | March 14, 2020

Loudoun County leaders led a coronavirus briefing on March 14. At the podium is county Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large).

Update: April 2, 12:47 p.m.

County spokesman Glen Barbour on Wednesday night said the county will now be providing updates on Loudoun County deaths due to COVID-19, including a general age range for the deceased.

That information can be found by clicking here and searching the "Deaths in Loudoun County" tab.

As of Thursday morning, the local death toll due to COVID-19 remained at two.

Original post: March 31, 12:22 p.m.

The Times-Mirror has had numerous inquiries as to why the general locations of local coronavirus cases aren't being released. Readers have reasoned that information could be important in determining whether there are “hot spots” for the virus across Loudoun. The Times-Mirror too has inquired about that information, but county officials have thus far not released updates on case counts or locations beyond the first few cases and the first death. Here's the back and forth between the Times-Mirror and county representatives on the matter.

Times-Mirror: Can you provide a general location or ZIP for all of Loudoun County's coronavirus cases? If not, why?

County Health Director David Goodfriend: “In general, the Health Department does not provide information on coronavirus cases, or any reportable disease, on less than a county level.  This is because we believe that all geographic areas of Loudoun County currently are at risk of disease transmission.  The Health Department conducts contact investigations and notifies any close contacts of a case of their specific risk.  Individuals not specifically contacted by the Health Department have the same level of risk, which is driven by whether social distancing and self-protection is followed rather than where an individual lives.”

Times-Mirror: Can you provide a general age range for all of Loudoun County's coronavirus cases? If not, why?

Goodfriend: “No, this level of detail is not being provided. This type of detail does not change the guidance to the public. It is important to understand that due to severe limitations on testing, the age groups of those diagnosed with coronavirus are not a reflection on who actually has disease. Seniors are much more likely to have severe complications of infection so are much more likely to be tested than other groups. Consequently, the Health Department does not utilize this information and does not have it to share.”

Can you provide any underlying health issues for the people who died from coronavirus? If not, why?

 Goodfriend: “No. Due to patient privacy, this information cannot be provided. What we can tell you is that, as identified by the CDC, the types of medical conditions that put an individual at high risk include:

-People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

-People who have serious heart conditions

-People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment

-People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk."

Additionally, Loudoun County spokesman Glen Barbour provided this statement as to what information the county is releasing.

County spokesman Glen Barbour: "I appreciate that these practices can be confusing. It is important to note that it is a long standing practice by VDH and others to publish information at the beginning of an incident when details are novel or limited to just one or two cases. But, as time goes on, and more and more cases are identified, and news of a new case does not warrant any new action by members of the public, we will discontinue such announcements. That is the case now. We are not publishing news releases about additional cases or deaths related to COVID-19 unless the circumstances warrant. As we assume community transmission is occurring, there is no action that the public needs to take as a result of another case of COVID-19 in Loudoun County that hasn’t already been prescribed by the county Health Department, VDH, and CDC. At this stage of the outbreak, it is not necessary to know whether an individual was present in a particular grocery store, for example, because at this point, the risk of exposure is the same in all grocery stores. Fortunately, essential establishments, such as grocery stores, are taking extraordinary steps to clean their stores, implement social distancing protocols, and educate their staff on prevention measures—all in an effort to minimize the potential exposure to germs.

"The health and safety of residents is the county’s top priority. If the county has any information that anyone in the community is believed to be at increased risk of infection, the Health Department will notify that individual; if that is not possible, the Health Department will provide that information to the public. At this point, what the public needs to know—the action that the public needs to take—are those public health practices and guidance that the county, VDH, CDH, and governor have issued, which will help slow the spread of COVID-19. These include washing hands frequently, staying home except for essential trips, and maintaining a distance of 6 feet between yourself and others. While people may be curious to know information about the individuals who are tested for COVID-19 with whom they have not come into contact, they do not need to know that information to protect themselves."

 

(44) comments

Warren

Posting zipcode locations of Corona cases in Loudoun County would make us safer. I know for a fact that many western loudouners don't take this virus as seriously as they should. They know that the likelihood of infections is higher in the densly populated east and less so in the western rural areas. This is a wrong attitude, but it is a fact. If they learn of even one local infection, this will be a wakeup call for many, and bring about more diligent compliance with the guidelines.

Gitanagurl

Sadly, not all Loudoun’s habitants are taken care of as far as education on what to do. I see people here playing basket ball in Evans Ridge. I see infected people still working at the USA market. Walmart cashiers coughing on customers during check out... yeah, seems like people are not really taking this seriously. And this “Essential” employee thing is BS! Plus these bills calling every day harassing people... none of any of this is our fault. And you have people literally struggling. But that doesn’t matter because what matters are the rich... the ones that began infecting others because they’re the only ones that can afford to travel. So when are we going to stop sugar coating everything and just flat out tell us what’s happening? All need to know! ALL!

LeesburgFan

Loudoun County Health is so far off in Left Field, it isn't even funny. I have family in Miami, FL and Pittsburgh, PA areas and the level of detail I can find is impressive. This includes by zip codes, or town names. Loudoun County is sticking their noses up in the air, like they know best what to reveal to our population. DEPLORABLE. We too should have this information. We should know where the two hospitals are in regards to COVID patients (INOVA Loudoun and Stone Springs), ICU availability, ventilator availability, beds availability, etc. Just basic common sense and COMMON COURTESY during a 100-year pandemic. Wake up LCH.

amerigirl

Marv, have I ever claimed to be an expert? I can read and I can say what I have read. I guess we should count ourselves blessed to have so many with the quality of being snarky. If you have a problem with what I say then you don't need to be afraid, just let me know. The snark is not becoming.

marv

How fortunate indeed are we to have a resident expert on all phases of all subjects, who so graciously imparts her vast expertise, so as to enlighten us mere mortals by reminding us of our errors and imparting the correct interpretation, thus aiding our reaffirmation. We must all thank her.

Mavourneen

Dr. Goodhand must have been raised in China and have learned that controlling information is a way of controlling people. That is true in China. But not here. Yes, we are barraged by information on COVID19. But we can turn it off when we want or need to.

The VDH is not giving us enough information to enable us to make good individual decisions. Yes, we all know the general rules and most are following them. But more concise information would help.

We need to know more facts to make better decisions. Here's what we need: Choose a time period, say, March 1 through 31. Give us the facts:

- How many people tested?

- How many tested positive?

- How many hospitalized?

- How many of hospitalized sent to ICU?

- How many of of positive testees, isolated or hospitalized, have recovered?

- How many have died?

- What are general details of cause of deaths: age, health, exposure. {General details do not violate privacy of individuals.

Please, Loudouners: Insist on your right to factual information.

More factual information begets more innovative thought. Don't squelch the possibility that some reader may have an ingenious idea!! P-l-e-a-s-e!

tolerantleft

Why is the local paper surprised? In my opinion, it wants big government and then acts surprised when they stonewall.

amerigirl

Who said they were surprised? How do you think this is big government? Are you just trying to blame or do you think that is legitimate? please explain.

DrDoctor

Loudoun Department of Health=Fail.

Do you guys know there is a global emergency underway? Citizens absolutely need to know where these cases are popping up in Loudoun. You all can resign now and we will be better off!

Thanks for the comments posted by citizens.

Loudoun BOS=Pass.

Keep up the good work Supervisors!

amerigirl

There are 105 cases in Loudoun, you should assume that they are everywhere for your own protection, Be safe!

Elsa Jane

I don’t care who is calling for this info to be withheld, it’s wrong. I’m not married to one party or the other like the rest of you lemmings. I call it as I see it. We should be able to have this info. Also, I’ve been self isolating since March 12th so the fact that the photo is from March 14th still makes them dumb in my book. Everyone was way late to the game on this one.

amerigirl

No reason to call names. At the time you self-isolated there was only 1 case in Loudoun and it was because of contact out of state. The warning at that time was "events with more than 100 people,"

owlnevertell

Why isn't the VDH/County providing insights as to the recoveries (is everyone still sick)? Is that to be kept a secret as well? Shouldn't the County advise us which hospitals are treating COVID patients so anyone in need can choose a different one? Seems so basic.

Cbass

Read the caption under the picture. The photo is from March 14th. THAT is why they are not standing six feet apart.

More Cowbell

Looks like the missed the memo from Gov Northam about less than 10 and social distancing, 6 ft apart. Thought it meant jail time and fine? Oh that's right, rules/laws don't apply to our corrupt politicians...

amerigirl

20 bucks says they all got tested so they know they're OK, but try being an everyday joe and being sick and try to get a test.

westernloudounguy

Read the caption- the photo is from two and a half weeks ago- before all of social distancing started.

amerigirl

prove corruption, that is a low thing to bring up during a crisis.

westernloudounguy

Read the caption- the photo is from two and a half weeks ago- before all of social distancing started.

Simon

These dopes never get they work for us not the other way around. So, I’ll help you. They are in Ashburn.

clarkecountyEX

You ask a lot of great questions but then Loudoun is not meeting your needs. You people are stupid. Stop drinking Dems koolaid. Dems never want transparency on themselves.

amerigirl

I guess you didn't watch trumps briefing yesterday. They said that the type of (lack of) information handling that they are following is recommended by WHO, CDC and some others. That is the same info the states are giving out. But hey, trump says he is getting great audiences and TV ratings. That's what he worries about.

pual mase

Another gratuitous cheap shot at Trump. Grow up

amerigirl

pual, how is that a cheap shot when he actually tweeted? Trump tweet quoted: "President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of 'The Bachelor.' Numbers are continuing to rise..."

amerigirl

Really, the Dems in this case are following the guidelines set by the White house. Your Kool-aid is in the wrong location. At least be honest, if you watch the briefing you would have known that.

Marty Spuk

Just come out and say it and be done with it: Ashburn.

Marty Spuk

Just come out and say Ashburn and be done with it.

amerigirl

????????????

Elsa Jane

“The Health Department conducts contact investigations and notifies any close contacts of a case of their specific risk.“ So if a person is shopping in grocery store Z and is later found to be positive, how exactly are they finding every person who was shopping in that store at that time? My guess is they’re not, it would be nearly impossible. The Health Dept should not get to decide that the citizens don’t need to know this information. I would want to know if I were exposed. I might watch more closely for symptoms and further isolate within my own household, possibly to protect a high-risk family member. I for one, will remember this at election time. Also, as others have mentioned - they are standing way too close. Explains a lot. Not a lot of common sense here.

hardworkingamerican

Of course government is always do as I say not as I do. Look at Northam, vaping places and liquor stores are essential and gun ranges to practice protecting yourself from these uncertain times is not? We can save lives closing vaping and liquors store and opening gun ranges. I think it's the double D team. Hopefully insanity is curable and we can get back to work in a normal manner.

Simon

It’s not right subjects of common concern and interest to the public is being withheld by the government. No, health dept I don’t need you to guard information

Duncan Idaho

Why aren't they standing six feet apart?

westernloudounguy

Read the caption- the photo is from two and a half weeks ago- before all of social distancing started.

David Dickinson

I really think our Loudoun Health Dept. is screwing this up. "it is not necessary to know whether an individual was present in a particular grocery store, for example, because at this point, the risk of exposure is the same in all grocery stores."

No, it is not the same. If you'd provide a heat map showing where the cases actually are, we would likely see some patterns develop and know which areas of the County are harder hit than others. If employees in one grocery store test positive, then the public should avoid that store.

I am getting the impression we have the "B Team" working for us.

amerigirl

Mostly agree with you but I think Loudoun is following federal guidelines set by the CDC. If they can put info out like the breakout of measles and it being at Disney, or the same thing for cases of YB then I think we should be more informed on the virus,

westernloudounguy

At this point there's no need to know where they are. As of this morning there's ATLEAST 105 confirmed cases in Loudoun. More than likely there's at least 10 to 20 times that number- almost certainly in the 1,000's. You don't need a heat map- the entire County- really the entire Country- is already on fire. The whole point is you need to assume that EVERY PERSON you come in contact with is infected.

David Dickinson

The County's response: "We will give you just enough information to induce anxiety without providing any actionable intelligence." Gee, thanks.

Loudooun independent

Suggest you submit a freedom of information request AND an emergency filing in circuit Court. These answers are insufficient for the citizens of this county to make informed decisions on where they can and should shop for basic supplies during this pandemic.

Irishgel

The explanation actually makes sense. Avoiding 'hot spots' will not combat this virus. County-wide compliance and diligence will.

amerigirl

That is true but knowing you have been within a hot spot would make me more vigilant in catching any change in health sooner.

KK153

translation .... "you pions do not have the right to worry about your own health. VDH will let you know what you need to know and when you need to know it. The tax cattle of Virginia work for VDH, and not the other way around. We enlightened bureaucrats call the shots. The masses can choke on it."

amerigirl

It's the same in most states, not just Virginia.

Fiscalconservative

Another case of the government telling us what to do then not abiding by their own advise, clearly these supervisors are not six feet apart.

westernloudounguy

Read the caption- the photo is from two and a half weeks ago- before all of social distancing started.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.