Live Town Hall with the County Board on Covid-19

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Live Town Hall with the County Board on Covid-19

good afternoon welcome to our Friday Town Hall I’m Libby Garvey I’m chair of the Arlington Board and before we get started I wanted to just let everybody know I think you probably do know by now that we lost our friend and colleague our Vice Chair Erik Gutshall yesterday to cancer and we are all heartbroken Erik loved being a board member and he loved Arlington his death is a loss for us all but especially to his family and our thoughts and prayers are with them today and in the coming weeks over the coming days my colleagues and I will be considering how best we can honor Eric’s life and service and now before we begin our Town Hall I’d like us to all pause for just a minute of silence to recognize and honor Erik

thank you all we miss Erik a lot and now I will turn the Town Hall over to my colleagues Katie Cristol and Matt de Ferranti thank you Thank You Libby for joining us one of the things that inspired me most about working with Erik was his passion and seemingly bottomless enthusiasm for civic engagement and so I’m glad that we have this virtual forum to do exactly that today and thank you to everyone who is joining us either watching and texting along or joining us on Facebook this is our third week of live updates on COVID-19 in our community I’m Katie Cristol of the Arlington County Board I’ll be hosting and facilitating the event today I’m so glad to be joined by my colleague Arlington County Board member Matt de Ferranti we are also joined by Aaron Miller who is the director of the Department of Public Safety and communications and emergency management and we have some special guests from the cooperative for hunger-free Arlington that we’re really excited to bring in today that’s a libraries director Diane Kresh community leader Abby Raphael and Amy McCloskey of Arlington Public Schools thank you all so much for joining us a couple of updates a bit of a situation report we know that our fight in Arlington against COVID-19 is far from over we know that there are still challenging days ahead our region is again seeing the number of cases increased in the National Capital Region we currently have eleven thousand three hundred and fourteen cases and 347 deaths here in Arlington we’ve seen four hundred and ninety nine positive cases and 15 deaths although the number of cases is continuing to rise the good news is that it’s not quite as fast of a rate as we have seen in other areas of the country and this is due to your efforts the collective efforts of everyone in the community doing their part often at considerable sacrifice to yourselves and your families to slow the spread of the virus we are asking that you continue to rigorously follow the guidelines to stay home practice social distancing and practicing safe hygiene one of the things that we are particularly attuned to as we see some of the consequences of the stay home order and social distancing is the needs of our more vulnerable community members and ensuring that their needs like basic needs like housing and food are met so I’d like to invite my colleague Matt de Ferranti to provide an update in a couple of those areas sure thanks Katie I appreciate it this week as far as the most vulnerable we have reached out to as many landlords and renters as possible to ensure that everyone knows their rights and responsibilities during COVID-19 we especially want renters to know about the resources available to them as they need housing support rental assistance and even legal aid if necessary so we’ve you all should know that evictions are not occurring and cannot be initiated but we are also taking other steps including reach reaching out to renters and landlords to make sure that everyone knows about this we’ve also taken steps on the digital divide those of you on this have at least access we’ve set up two hotspots just outside of Central Library and Columbia Pike library where people can walk up bike up or drive up to access free Wi-Fi in the parking lots we want folks to stay connected while they are socially distancing and being safe we also are going to focus today on hunger and food we have so many residents that are rightfully concerned about the health of their families as well as making sure that they have the food they need maintaining access to nutrition and food assistance is so important as we weather this ongoing crisis today the county took the step of putting a hundred thousand dollars from the county manager’s contingent fund to be allocated to the Arlington food assistance center AFAC to help support the growing need for stocking food and

following the tremendous showing of community support two weeks ago the donation drop-off ever effort with AFAC led to significant additional donations those donations and support allow AFAC to continue to provide programs for Arlingtonians in need and provide weekly free supplemental groceries to Arlington residents that are newly in need during this COVID-19 pandemic to protect residents who are going to grocery stores as well as grocery store workers Arlington’s Office of Economic Development is coordinating with all the major grocery stores to ensure that they are protecting their staff members and shoppers during COVID-19 and we are thrilled to be partnering with Arlington Public Schools who is continuing to provide free grab-and-go lunches from Monday through Friday at location sites and has steadily grown to now seven sites which can be found on the county’s website along with local businesses also offering food to those in need we know there are additional gaps and so we’ve been working on that for some individuals and families those gaps and these challenges are new it will take a collective effort all of us stepping up to support our neighbors in need especially the youngest and the most vulnerable among us today we’ll take as many questions as possible on as many topics as possible but we do want to start with a special focus on talking about the new cooperative for a hunger free Arlington a new initiative across the county to identify needs and quickly mobilize solutions to get food to those with the greatest need I’ll turn it back over to you Katie so you can introduce specifically our three special guests thank you so much Matt so the co-operative for hunger feed Arlington is led by Abby Raphael a former two-term school board chair who works on a variety of nonprofit and community organizations and has expertise in building coalitions Diane Kresh the director of the Arlington Department of libraries and Amy McCloskey who is the director of food and nutrition services with Arlington Public Schools and so we want to begin our discussion by asking a few questions of you all as leadership as the leadership of the cooperative for funding for free Arlington and indeed I’m seeing some good questions already coming in over the chat I can see your questions about making sure our children in all parts of Arlington have access to food so let me begin I will jump right in with a few questions for you all what is the cooperative for a hunger free Arlington and how will you be working in the days to come thanks Katie our mission is to coordinate among Arlington County government Arlington Public Schools PTAs the nonprofit sector business the faith community civic associations citizens really everyone across Arlington to ensure that everyone has sufficient nutritious food during this crisis and we have a particular focus on those who are homebound as a result of COVID-19 to keep us focused on equity which we know is a key value for this community we have some guiding questions that we’re going to continue to ask as we try to match resources to needs and those are who benefits who is burdened who’s missing and how do you know the Arlington community has come together in ways that really I’ve never seen before it’s just remarkable how everyone is contributing to this effort so we are monitoring all of those efforts and we’re conducting an ongoing needs assessment because things really are changing day to day we’re supporting efforts that exist and trying to expand those efforts and those of course include the Arlington food assistance center AFAC and Arlington Arlington Public Schools they are just central to the efforts and we’re developing new methods to distribute meals and groceries to those who are homebound thank you so much so can you tell us a little more about who the partners are who’s working alongside Arlington County government and also Arlington Public Schools to provide food for as you were just describing Abby those who need it hi Katie this is Diane thank you for including me on the conversation AFAC is clearly a key player but we’re also working closely with existing programs like the Meals on Wheels programs that DHS is in responsible for and we’re also looking in the Department of Parks and Recreation their 60 plus social cafe I think the overall goal is to make sure that anyone in Arlington who is need in need of food either on an ongoing basis or a temporary basis they need an emergency gift card or a bag of groceries that they will have access to food because we don’t want to have anyone in these ridiculously challenging times having to worry about food so the

partnership is very broad Abby indicated a little bit that it’s it’s growing as we’ve been working on it the needs assessment we have reached out to different partners each week faith-based communities food pantries just as of yesterday we were in touch with the Food Rescue U.S. which takes unused food from corporate cafeterias and restaurants and picks up and makes them available immediately same day to people in the community right now their their pantries are a little bit slim because of so many closings but I think that’s a partnership that will grow as businesses are able to come back online we’re also working closely with the farmers markets some of them provide home delivery services with via pre-orders we’re also reaching out to the food trucks again they are another resource where perhaps a food truck would be placed in a neighborhood and provide a specialized meal for that community so it’s pretty broad it’s nonprofits and it’s a lot of individuals as Abby alluded the volunteerism has never been greater so even if people collecting boxes of canned goods on their on their stoop we’ll make sure that they get to a resource like AFAC AFAC I’ll talk a little bit more about AFAC as we move along but AFAC is trying to expand their coverage they’re at an all-time high of four thousand subscribers to their program they see an additional forty to fifty a day and we’re trying to expand their capacity by finding another location where they can do food distribution so again the community is responding really well just one quick housekeeping thing before we get too far along if people who are listening today and participating want to know more or they have a suggestion or they want to make sure that we are in touch with another food and source please email me at [email protected] and I will be happy to be in touch with them but we wanted to have a central location to capture some additional questions and/or suggestions or offers from the community so I’ll stop there thank you so much Diane so we’re getting a couple questions about geographic distribution knowing that the county or excuse me Arlington Public Schools have seven grab-and-go locations but of course we have high need families distributed across the county so could we ask maybe Amy or Abby and Diane to say a little more about how we’re thinking about reaching in particular students who might be in in neighborhoods where there’s not a grab-and-go location currently sure so at APS we have about 29 percent of our students during the school year who participate in the free meals program we started with two sites in walkable areas when school first closed the USDA is allowing us to use the Summer Food Service feeding program and why is that important because these feeding sites are open to everyone they’re open to any students under the age of 18 it’s not necessary to go to a certain school it’s not necessary that you attend the school during year or that you’re even participating in the free meals program you started with two sites because we assess the needs of our most vulnerable students and we wanted to make sure they were walkable and in and in the best places we have since expanded to seven sites we we continue to assess daily what our needs are and and what we need to do next we started serving about a thousand meals and we’re serving 2,800 meals a day students can pick up complete meals a breakfast and a lunch every day not just one they can pick up two and they can come without parents they can come parents can come without students we can have buddies come and pick up food for people there’s no ID so it’s truly an open site and we’re making it as easy as we can we’ve accepted all waivers through the USDA so students can come and pick up wherever they are in in the county that’s great thank you so much again I’m we’re chat we’re accepting questions I’m monitoring them in the Facebook chat and just want to emphasize again that we’ll be taking questions by text message as well and so I will go to Bryna Helfer our communications chief for the county every question third question or so Bryna do we have any coming in over the text line we do we actually have an older adult who she can

afford to pay for groceries but you know can’t get out because she’s self isolating and you know part of that high risk community and the grocery stores are so overwhelmed right now with their delivery model you know it’s hard to get groceries delivered so what do what do those folks do to get help that’s a great question and I think it’s one we’ve been hearing a lot and I know Abby and Diane with the cooperative you all have been thinking about not just those who can’t afford food but those who may be homebound can you share a little more about the current thinking or opportunities to address those needs right now yes one thing that we have been working on is establishing a buddy system so it’s so important that everyone think about having a COVID-19 emergency preparedness plan because if you’re not homebound now that may happen someone in your family may become ill and then the whole family may have to quarantine so the first line of defense really is to have a buddy is there someone in your neighborhood one or two people really who could be backups for you who could go to the grocery store who could go pick up medicine for you and if you don’t have a buddy there is a new organization called the Arlington Community Corps and they will match you with a buddy so if you go to ArlingtonCommunityCorps.org you could just click a link and you can volunteer to be a buddy or you can ask for one to get those kinds of resources we also have Meals on Wheels which serves older adults and so folks can access delivery food delivery through meals on wheels thanks and actually Matt would you like to say another word or two I know just last night through the generosity of a partner organization in Arlington we’ve been able to expand the reach of meals on wheels would you like to share a little more about that sure yesterday Arlington Community Foundation helped with seventy-five thousand dollars that the board took action to to accept the gift and and put it towards meals on wheels and this is really Amy Diane and Abby have been setting up the structure that is going to help us use meals on wheels to expand services in this time of need so that’s we’re at the start of that there is some there are some additional mechanisms that can help folks and really it’s focused on most those most in need there’s a phone number for those who really are more in need than the the questions seem to indicate but there’s still the resource so it’s 703-228-1300 is a place where we can we’re going to expand the number of people who can’t make it to feeding sites or to AFAC or to one of the places that AFAC supplies food to the agencies as they’re called so that’s an additional resource that phone number and then just so Diane can stay busy let’s just make sure [email protected] if you just want that person that you can email to try and address your question great thanks as well please actually Katie just one more addition AFAC is also looking to deliver as many as 100 bags of groceries per week so that’s part of the expansion that they’re looking at so watch this space to see how quickly that becomes comes online but again as I said at the start we’re trying to create a system no matter your circumstances where you’re where you live your age whether you can leave your home or not we want to be able to put you into the appropriate stream to get food that is a fantastic point to emphasize and I am seeing I see your questions there about concern that the grab-and-go model is not going to work for some APS families who may be you know a number of miles away from the nearest site and I think Diane that’s really the point that we want to leave everybody with no one model is gonna work for everyone who needs access needs support in our community and the whole point of the cooperative is to ensure that there are different streams to meet people who may be slipping through the cracks of one program so that no one’s going hungry let me also just make sure to invite any other questions we are also joined by Dr. Aaron Miller who’s our emergency manager for the county and so if folks have questions about anything else related to COVID-19 in our community the the renter rights and landlord outreach that Matt mentioned at the beginning of the conversation or anything else that might be on your mind we’re happy to take those questions so let me there’s a great question actually from someone asking about grocery stores and this is something that we hear a fair amount folks are a little concerned that grocery stores aren’t enforcing social distancing and folks aren’t wearing masks when they were there there

may be senior hours there may not be Aaron if I could put you on the spot a little bit to talk about some of the outreach the county is doing to grocery stores to try and certainly and thanks for the question so our County’s Office of Economic Development led by Telly Tucker has been in touch with not only regional and district staff from major grocers but also working with some state provided contacts for instance and the Virginia food grocers associations and those other professional trade associations to bring together those responsible for the supply chain and grocery stores within Arlington county we are encouraging them strongly encouraging them to implement similar standards across all of the grocery stores and and and to follow some of the best practices that have been laid out we’ve worked in particular with some of those stores to make it easier for them to do that for example there was a store that needed a little bit of extra room for loading and unloading we were able to work with the Department of Environmental Services to make sure that we gave them some extra road space right to do deliveries drop-offs and pickups and similarly the board has reduced restrictions on delivery hours where they previously existed and worked with stores to make sure that they could bring in larger trucks to accommodate additional supplies being loaded in so we’re actively working that and we’re actually encouraging all stores to follow the guidance and best practices that we put forth Thank you so much Aaron let me go to the phones Bryna do we have any more questions coming in by text we actually have a number of questions there are some questions about like you know Spring Break worked really well in terms of one week’s worth of food as opposed to families having to come every day is there any thought about kind of long term that model and how you know making it easier for families that’s a great question can we ask our cooperative experts here or Amy to take a stab at that one sure we I know that giving groceries meals out one week at a time would be easier than daily but there are some logistic concerns that we’ve had with getting enough food in for a week and with having enough storage space so we are working with our vendors to get shelf-stable meals and in the future hopefully the near future we’ll be able to go ahead and start the weekly deliveries again we’ll pack meals on Fridays and they’ll be ready for families to pick up on Monday for the whole week that’s great thank you Bryna we’ll stay with you it sounds like there are a few other texts coming in yeah we have some questions about testing and you know what they what the testing capability is how is the public health department engaged in testing and contact contact tracing and so I don’t know who wants to take that it’s great Aaron could we ask you to speak to that a little bit I know you’re working hand in glove with our public health chief and your counterparts around the region and certainly with the state absolutely thank you so we do Arlington was one of the first locations within the National Capital Region to stand up our public/private partnership with Virginia Hospital Center and in regards to drive-up testing since then private labs have also expanded so for instance LabCorp has the ability to run tests as well as Inova is offering additional drive up walk up and access accessible testing options at a number of its clinics and there are a few other Urgent Care for example sites that offer testing to the best of our ability we’ve been putting that information together and making it available on the COVID website one of the limiting factors that we see not only here in Arlington but also across Northern Virginia and the entire Commonwealth is the supply chain for those testing supplies be that the swabs that we use to collect those samples be that the reagent in the test kits or in fact the number of test kits that are made available the bulk of those supplies were being targeted over the last few weeks to hotspots like New York like California and like Louisiana and New Orleans in particular despite that we have been able to accomplish what I consider to be a very good amount of testing over 2100 tests administered within Arlington we know we need to do more we’re pressing and working with our Virginia Hospital Center partners to get them what they need by working with the state and with the federal government to

make more testing supplies available we know that that is going to be an important part of not only rapid testing but rapid testing and identification of cases moving forward but also in being able to establish plans moving forward as far as contact tracing our public health officials have been working day and night in order to carry out contact tracing by phone and our public health staff are being supplemented by medical reserve corps volunteers a plug for medical reserve corps volunteers if you find yourself able and you have skills you can visit the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps website and sign up and we’ve offered that link not only on the Facebook page but also in our recent COVID newsletters those individuals are key to being able to carry out contact tracing identification of people who may be at risk and helping them to identify that they should be taking more strict measures with quarantine we are also sending out a letter you may have seen a press release in last day or two that sort of walks through for community members how they can carry that out and help our public health staff out in identifying where they’ve been and who they may have come into contact with we know as the cases continue to increase the burden on our healthcare system our nurses our doctors our hospitals our public health staff is going to continue to grow and this is a a way in which the community can help us out should they do should they receive notification that they have a positive test thank you so much that actually is a great transition too to answer a question that was asked about making data or requests make data on cases available in Arlington we are sharing the number of cases as we did at the top of this session we don’t really have hotspots in Arlington at only 26 square miles the real effort is about contact tracing and working with the individuals connecting with those individuals who may have been in touch with someone who has tested positive so Aaron thanks for teeing that up the residents can expect to see more data on what that looks like excuse me more details on what that looks like in their mailboxes soon an excellent question in the comments from Ms. Aroni about are people without legal status able to receive the services you guys are mentioning the short answer is yes absolutely this is really important I know to Matt as well as to me so Matt would you like to say any more about that question sure so already AFAC has served those without regardless of legal status already but we have taken steps over the past month to make sure that there’s flexibility and we’re really serving every everyone who comes and who has that request I think the question is really really important because we’ve seen a couple of communities that through through the schools really and some PTAs where there’s reluctance to come to get food for example and we want to reassure everyone that at the seven feeding sites and maybe Amy you can speak a little more to this in a minute but at the seven feeding sites there’s you there’s not a question as to legal status at all you are safely there’s social distancing and you can obtain food there’s also that’s on the feeding side on the housing side Arlington thrive does not ask legal status all we ask is some indication that you live in Arlington and so we’ve been trying to make sure that that all communities in Arlington are served and so that’s a critical step there’s also legal services of Northern Virginia which is an extra resource for folks so those are a couple of answers to the question I don’t know maybe Amy that you you may want to just sort of emphasize that point as PTAs and school leaders across the county are stepping up to make sure that communities that may be worried or fearful or have been underserved get these resources yeah I just want to stress that every family is welcome to come to any one of our sites I mentioned before that we’re using the summer feeding program and the reason why that’s important is because we’re not asking for any ID we’re not asking anyone’s name anybody can walk up and they can get a meal they can get a breakfast they can get a lunch they do not have to be fearful we’re not collecting any data it’s very safe we have worked very hard to figure out how to make sure we’re doing social distancing properly we have six feet counted off for when kids are waiting in line six feet from the table from where they pick up their meals and then six feet from our staff the sites are very welcoming I’ve been working at a feeding site every day since we started kids are coming is it’s a it’s a normal situation and we’re we’re glad to see them we can check in how’s it going it’s it’s very comfortable and it’s working very well I

feel very very comfortable with the safety of it and there is no no data no data being collected no data being kept thank you we really appreciate that and I actually just have to highlight a great question just came in about data on who’s being served would be really helpful the demographics at food pantries and at schools because that would help us identify inequality or inequities rather but I think Amy’s example explains exactly why there’s a tension that’s hard and asking people to share things about themselves can in fact make fewer people who really need food likely to come forward for it however also buried in there is a great question because I know this is a big part of the national discussion about the inequities and racial disparities we’re seeing and who’s testing positive and what those health outcomes are I wonder Aaron is there anything do you know that’s happening at the state level to try to gather that data so that we can learn from it and maybe make a critical response absolutely and so it’s a great question and I like when I saw that in the chat box I was hoping you would you would get to this Arlington County I will say has been pressing very hard for the Virginia Department of Health as well as other state agencies to release what we call disaggregated data we identified this several weeks ago when we began to see other communities reporting trends where for instance there was a disproportionate burden on on particular races or particular socio-economic classes we fully support that and as a matter of fact I received word this morning that preliminarily the Virginia Department of Health is going to begin releasing disaggregated data and so if you go to VDH the VDH website that is the official data source rate Arlington County’s Public Health Department works under the auspices of the Virginia Department of Health just like the others in the Commonwealth if you go to the VDH dashboard you’ll begin to see they’ve started to do that for instance they’ve now got testing numbers by locality and then they also have some additional information we’ve received word that in the near future they’re going to start to break that out even further and that’s going to give us the opportunity to be able to get that information particularly when it comes to cases and disease burden across our population Yeah really helpful, thank you, while we’ve got the camera on you Aaron and before I next go to Bryna again for any text questions a couple of good question questions again about masks I know our team has helpfully linked to our latest public statement about masks but I think it’d be helpful to elevate that and to ask you to share a little more I think the question was particularly outdoors when folks are exercising or walking their dogs what is the guidance on face, cloth face coverings regarding that so we are encouraging individuals to follow the CDC recommendations and that guidance is that you should be wearing a cloth face covering when you are outdoors or when you are carrying out your essential activities for example in grocery stores and places like that the county is strongly strongly encouraging that and is working with as I mentioned grocery stores through our efforts of Arlington economic development and with our other business communities to ensure that they set those restrictions now I will say that this requires some additional state support right so you saw Governor Hogan and Mayor Bowser within the region issue executive orders to to mandate and require this right now within the Commonwealth of Virginia it still remains something that is quote strongly encouraged and so we continue to look for ways that we can put these restrictions in place locally but I think my board members can speak a little bit more about sort of the framework that they have to operate in particularly within these times of emergencies Thanks for that Aaron know we’ve talked as well that one of the things we would most like to be in a position to do if not to enforce or fine individuals not wearing masks is to be in a position to give masks to those not wearing them because I think that would be the most appropriate quote-unquote punishment is to be handed a mask and asked to put it on so I know that our staff team is working to identify how to build up those supplies of cloth cloth face coverings so that we can do more of that proactive work out in the community Bryna let me go to you do we have more questions coming in via text we have a we have a lot of them so first a shout out to the folks at Clarendon House and other places where staff is just doing a great job across the spectrum touching base with you know members of their community residents clients making sure they have everything they need and other folks really are interested in how to donate whether its food or financial some folks have said you know they’ve gotten their stimulus check they don’t really you know they’re they’re in a good spot they’d like to make some donation so how is that is there some regular

opportunity that is a great question and I think really shows the generosity of this community so let me start with one link and then maybe I can ask our food Chiefs to talk about where to donate to help the food efforts and then Matt we’ll go to you for anything I’m missing one of the most important places is volunteer Arlington which is now the home for a lot of the needs throughout the community especially with our safety net providers and so they have links about where you can help for example our homeless services centers or domestic violence shelters links to their Amazon wish list so that you can get diapers for example to the families that need them and a lot of other ways to put your stimulus check in particular to good use to donate so let me go actually I’m also seeing some good questions on Facebook about this particularly with fresh produce if AFAC isn’t able to take it is there anywhere that can be donated to help some of these food efforts we’ve been describing or any other places to donate food or time so Abby, Diane, Amy any thoughts on that one Sure, I’m happy to Diane you go ahead on that one on the produce all right we’re working with the plot against hunger which is affiliated with AFAC we are in the process of identifying a place for them to be able to sort and arrange and clean and package the produce that could be then offered as supplemental to the groceries as I mentioned earlier we’re also trying to come up with some systems with the farm farmers market we’ve talked extensively with fresh farm people who do deliveries based on pre-orders so that’s still something that we’re working through the logistics on but definitely there is a great deal of interest in the community both to have access to fresh produce as well as the growers to be contributing to the cause overall and just on the issue of donation in general AFAC is another place that will take money obviously but they’re also interested currently in canned goods non-perishable soups tuna fish that kind of thing so if people want to take some of their stimulus check and purchase canned goods AFAC would make good use of them and I’ll stop there so if I can add the produce is a great example of bringing the community together Diane brought to us this plot against hunger and they they needed a place where they could wash and bag their produce I was on a call this week with the faith community we had done a survey of the faith community to see what kind of space they might have to make available for these kinds of things and one church volunteered that they would be available for that so we’re making those kinds of connections all at the time in addition we have as was mentioned Volunteer Arlington there is a wonderful program called Buy A Neighbor Lunch so you can go on that site you can donate as little as ten dollars or as much as you’d like and then a meal will go to someone in need someone who’s identified through our safety net organizations and they have been raising a huge amount of money for that there’s another initiative which is Buy a Nurse Lunch and that’s being done by that Columbia Pike revitalization organization you can donate money all these organizations need that and their links again on volunteer arlington for that and another way is supporting restaurants there’s a group website ArlingtonCanDo.com where you can buy a gift card for use later to help our restaurants so that they can stay open Great thank you and I’m just noticing Abby I think that example might have answered two questions that were appearing in Facebook one was what how was the county reaching out to faith groups to help and the other was has the plot again plot against hunger program been halted so it sounds like maybe the latter had been stopped temporarily while they resolved the space issue and maybe our faith community has helped address that space issue they certainly have and I think there may be other opportunities as we want to expand grocery delivery to use space in our faith community so they’ve been terrific about that and they also have food pantries we have at least two faith communities that have food pantries and one of them just to get a sense of the magnitude of the need Our Lady Queen of Peace served this Wednesday 528 people came to their food pantry that’s twice the number that they normally see in a week so the the need is just remarkable and I know that the Arlington Community Foundation has been putting out rapid response grants and a number in the faith community applied for that so that so that they could add some food pantries at their churches that’s great thank you so this has been pretty comprehensive but Matt if we missed anything did you

want to jump in any other opportunities for volunteerism donations related to food or otherwise that you know about to share I think that is really comprehensive on food I want to sort of signal to Amy there may be other areas there you want to highlight but first I just want to to mention that the challenge that we’re facing on on feeding people is is going to last for a while so the Arlington Community Foundation AFAC what Abby and Diane and Amy are doing is helping put structure around some of these questions so for example Mike’s question at the top there are communities where there are more and fewer students in need and we want to serve them but we have to have the structures and the systems to serve them and so the expansion of Meals on Wheels and all the work that really Amy, Abby and and Diane are doing is critical but just you know I think I’ll kick it to Amy but I would say please know that we’re seeing significantly significant increases not just at Our Lady Queen of Peace but at AFAC and they’re scaling up and so your contributions and donations both locally to your food pantry but also as you’re thinking about AFAC over time are going to be really important and I don’t know Amy may have pieces to add sure I think we’re talking about in the future and right now at our feeding sites we’re not accepting donations but when students come back to school the need is not going to just stop there so students many students have negative balances on their lunch accounts and I suspect that that will continue to grow and it is very helpful to families if parents if other people in the community would like to donate to their balance so it’s not something they have to worry about when they come back to school that’s great Thank You. Bryna, let’s see with you it sounded like there were quite a few other questions coming in from that text line yeah there’s there’s actually a couple questions that go together about the curve you know how do we know you know what the real projection is one concern is you know it shows us behind DC in terms of the wave of the curve and the projections of the peak you know how is that modeling work and then also you know what is the thinking about if we go back too soon and a second wave and just what’s all the thinking about that not just in Arlington but also regionally great series of questions I think those are really at the top of mind for a lot of us you know I think we have to stipulate a lot of things about our modeling that it is the data that we have is based on insufficient testing right and the projections that we have have a pretty wide range of what this forecast might look like and I think embedded in that question is exactly the concern which is in a rush to reopen actually finding ourselves with a worse second wave I know Aaron you were thinking about these things night and day do you want to share maybe a little bit about the projections we’re working off of in Arlington and what we know about them and then also how we’re working to even begin thinking about that that question of what are the criteria that might under which we might feel confident about starting to relax social distancing sure great great question so first I’ll address some modeling so there’s a number of different models and I saw some some questions and comments within the facebook chat about that and without going to too far into it because I can could spend quite a time the the IHME model as well as the other models the CHIME model in particular are two of the most standard models that are being used now the majority of those are running their model assumptions based upon state specific information the National Capital Region as we know particularly the 20 or so jurisdictions across Maryland the District and the Commonwealth of Virginia operate in a much more interconnected and much more unified fashion than we do with some other components of our state as a result of that our information and our data is a little bit different and so what we’ve been doing is working both at the emergency management level at the Public Health Director level and I know at the elected and chief administrative officer level to really assess what the impact and current modeling looks like for the National Capital Region if it were to be its own political entity right and so those models show what we call

peaks and demand for hospitals as well as ambulance transports and other medical capacity sometime within the next two to three weeks on some models and as far down the road as June or a little bit later for others and so we are continually looking at those looking at where for instance the case doubling rate right now across the NCR it’s at about 10.5, 10.9 days that we see cases doubling that’s good news it’s slowed down we believe from the last several days that we’re reaching some sort of stabilized plateau that makes sense being that we’re about fourteen days out from when the jurisdictions implemented stay at home orders as you mentioned our next task really is looking at how we drive that lower so how we continue to stay in the posture that we’re at that’s why you heard the board member at the top of our call today say keep doing what you’re doing it’s working we need that social distancing we need those public health precautions to stay in place but as we’re looking at this we are taking a coordinated and unified approach much like you see the the coalition of states in the Northeast much like you see the Midwest and on the West Coast actually right now there is a regional conference call for chief administrative officers to discuss the approach to implementing these reopening or easing of restrictions the elected officials yesterday agreed that in principle that we are going to look to do this as a region and so you know you’ll see some more communications come out for instance from the Metropolitan Washington Council governments on it but that’s the approach we want to take that’s what we’re looking at we know that people live and work in Arlington and for instance may seek health care in another County or another jurisdiction and vice versa we have a significant number of individuals that come into the county every day for work so we want to be able to take that into account we want to be able to create a framework and structure that makes sense with our with our systems in mind thank you so much I think we have time for one or two more questions I’m gonna elevate one that came in over the chat from Adam Aaron well we’ve got you on camera which is can you say any more about the capacity the call volumes and the demands on particularly ACPD or your colleagues and first responders anything about what you can say in terms of what they’re seeing the capacity that they have to handle non-COVID-related crimes or incidents in the community sure so the the team as a whole including all department directors as well as Public Safety meet regularly obviously through this incident and provide brief outs throughout the last few weeks both the fire chief Chief Povlitz as well as Chief Farr have indicated that they are able to handle the current call volume we’ve actually seen a little bit of a drop in in things like traffic accidents for example right unfortunately we have seen an increase in some of the demands on our medical providers 9-1-1 for example and in some particular cases right now we’re able to meet the demand and our forecast models show that we should be able to do that even with certain staffing assumptions that are in place and so yes we are forecasting out what it looks like for instance in New York where they had significant numbers of the New York Police Department as well as FDNY become sick we are we are looking at that the Chiefs are looking at that regularly to gauge impact and right now feel confident that we are going to be able to meet any demand and continue to serve the Arlington community at the levels of service that they have come to expect That’s great thank you so much and that is an excellent reminder that we should be thanking our public safety folks certainly our fire or EMT who may be responding to the crisis but also the Arlington County Police Department and in fact everyone who’s out there doing essential work to keep the community running and safe during this time sometimes at significant risk to themselves so we really appreciate them Bryna why don’t we take one of the last questions from the phones and then if time there’s time permits we’ll see if there’s one or two more from Facebook great yeah we have a question it kind of all fits into the equity conversation about on various topics so I just put them all under the equity umbrella one is just about access to Wi-Fi and you know how are we gonna help people kind of bridge that divide one is on making sure folks that are isolated especially like in group homes or retirement centers are getting access to absentee ballots for the June elections and then you know making sure that our homeless community is taken care of during this time and they have access not just to food but to clean water and

you know facilities for their personal needs wow that’s a lot of questions embedded in embedded in one so let me let me see if I can tick off a couple of key themes and I actually Matt might tee up too for you one is about the elections and I do think we have some indication that those are going to be moved from the governor so Matt if you wanted to speak a little more about that if you maybe want to re-emphasize the piece about Wi-Fi access that I know you you talked about briefly at the top of our call and then I think maybe in a sort of congregate care settings the the sort of safety and loneliness issues so you know Diane I know you’ve been partnering with DHS if you want to add anything about that or Aaron so maybe if you guys want to gather thoughts Matt hit us on the on the digital divide piece as well as the transition and primary elections sure so they’re these are great great really important questions on the Wi-Fi we just this week stood up at Columbia Pike in the parking lot of hot spot as well as a free hot spot as well as in the Central Library that’s a start there Arlington Public Schools has sought to expand access to Wi-Fi as well and there are a couple of programs low-cost programs so that we can make sure access to Wi-Fi is more much more affordable that can be accessed we you can also call our 703-228-7999 number for more information on that with respect to Wi-Fi there’s more to do on this for sure but we we’re aware of the concern and we are acting to address it through those two hotspots and more to come on the June elections the date of the election of the primary election has been moved from June 9th to June 23rd – is the governor has asked it to be moved to June 23rd I would say that there is still some distance to go that’s the likely time but just context here and I think bless you I think that Aaron kind of touched on it we are doing all we can to bend and try to now crush this curve and so we really were trying to focus on safety and those steps that Libby mentioned at the start of staying home and the questions with respect to the elections they’re important and they’re timely but we don’t know the final resolution because we don’t know if the governor’s emergency order is going to be lifted on June 10th there’s so there hasn’t been a final final call on that at the very least it will be moved back to June 23rd and you can use you can request an absentee ballot for that election already and just the COVID emergency is enough of a reason to vote by mail so those are a couple of steps with respect to the homeless that’s something that we’ve been working on over the last two weeks making sure that our nonprofit partners have the our full support it’s our first responders or health care providers but also the homeless we’re very concerned about so there have been a number of safety steps taken by our nonprofit partners so that that’s a start I’m sure Diane or others may have pieces to add. That’s great, and one thing to note as well for some of our congregate care settings whether they are transitional housing for those with behavioral health needs homelessness services or others when necessary the county has contracted to create hotel rooms that are available and we do have a number of clients of those programs in the county there for safety but I think embedded in that question that Bryna was sharing with us was about connection and tackling isolation at this time that we are all physically distanced from each other so I wonder actually Diane I think you and your team have been working on some ways to keep the community connected particularly the Quaranzine would you want to share a little bit about that yeah Quaranzine has just been phenomenal as a wave people to express what they’re feeling about being in isolation or separated from family or robbed of their normal routines so we’ve gotten arranged some some responses are humorous some are photographs some are quotes some are just reaching out and connecting with other people so that’s been terrific the third issue comes out today and then we have an issue devoted to contributions by young people 13 and under your son might be a little young for this Katie but but that Despite his prodigious poetry skills well there you go or maybe just stick a crayon in his hand I’m sure you can come up with something

but but that’s that’s gonna be forthcoming that’s gonna be terrific but a couple of other things that we’re doing too Matt already mentioned the Wi-Fi but we’re also looking at Aurora Hills as a location to augment the Wi-Fi because it has a nice plaza area it has a parking lot and there’s a lot of housing so we’re looking at that there’s been a digital equity task force for the last several months DHS, CPHD, DTS and libraries looking at ways to increase access I mean we’ve talked a lot in this program about food being fundamental so is digital access you have to be able to get in touch with people for basic needs so that’s something that we’re continuing to work on and finally some of my staff are trying to launch a program called pen pals with seniors so that they can check in with people in some of our residential communities our assisted living facilities people who don’t have family nearby but need to connect with somebody the connection is so important and the the isolation that people are feeling any and and just the anxiety around the time we’re in but if you don’t have family it makes it that much more more difficult so we’re mindful of that then before I cede the microphone masks masks came up earlier there are lots of people in the community creating and they’ve got their Singer sewing machines out and they’re whipping up many many many masks and libraries is working with Cultural Affairs to create some kind of production line so I just we’re not there yet on that but I think there are a lot of people who are using their talents in the domestic arts to create something of lasting value for the community that’s wonderful Diane I think that is one of the best events I could hope for it or wrap up on I’m going to turn it over to Matt for the final word but let me just thank again our guests Amy, Diane, Abby in particular Aaron especially you all are doing frontline work right now and taking the time to answer questions and communicate about what’s on folks’ mind is invaluable I want to thank as well those who have joined us today it’s really great to hear from you all to see your comments to be able to keep up our long tradition of citizen engagement albeit in a different format and a final thanks as well to our team our communications team that has been behind the scenes programming all of this Bryna, Roger, David and anyone else I may be forgetting so with some concluding remarks over to my colleague Matt thanks Katie and really thanks to each of you on the phone I think Aaron’s description of some of the steps that he’s taking and and that our staff leadership is taking hopefully gives you a sense of just how focused we are on the key needs and keeping people safe also just a big thanks to Abby Diane and and Amy they’re they’re taking the lead both the county board and the whole School Board are thinking about hunger and we have been talking a lot we are trying to keep our appropriate role of asking key questions while helping set up the structure that is really being led by the three co-chairs that I just mentioned Diane, Abby and Amy so that’s just a sense there are a couple of resources that I just want to mention in closing and one is really on a daily basis Arlington Alerts our COVID updates just go to the Arlington County web site and at the top is a banner that talks about our daily COVID alert provides you information and just I think folks should know that we are we’re working hard it’s vigilance and discipline about washing your hands staying home social distancing those are the key steps that we need to keep taking so that we minimize the spread minimize infections and help you stay safe so we’re going to be continuing to work on that there will be additional Facebook live additional town halls like this one to get you information and just everybody out there please stay safe keep up the vigilance and thanks for joining us you