ARLINGTON, Va. — With Northern Virginia's proposed reopening date of May 29 approaching, residents want to know if the region is still on track to enter Phase 1. Officials say NOVA has made progress, but they're not quite there yet.
The Northern Virginia Health Directors have been tracking six different metrics that have been set as benchmarks for reopening, and as of May 24, the region had met reopening criteria in four of the six metrics. In a letter sent Sunday to regional leaders and the Virginia Health Department, two problem areas are highlighted: personal protective equipment and contact tracing.
While health officials said that PPE provided to hospitals appears to be adequate, PPE for outpatient facilities (private practices, long-term care facilities and first responders) continues to be a challenge. Gloves, masks and face shields are needed.
"Although there is increased supply for these entities, there is not a sustainable supply through non-government sources," the letter stated.
When it comes to increased contact tracing capacity, the Northern Virginia health directors say that benchmark is also still unmet. But, they say they’re getting the infrastructure in place, and they expect significantly increased capacity in the next few weeks.
"We recommend that policymakers continue to consider the status of these Forward Virginia metrics when contemplating moving into various phases of reopening," the letter said. "In addition, we suggest additional public health metrics for moving into subsequent phases of reopening."
Here are the benchmarks officials say Northern Virginia has met:
- Downward tend for percentage of positive tests over 14 days
- Downward trend for hospitalizations over 14 days
- Increased testing
- Enough hospital beds and ICU capacity