As social distancing continues to be one of the best ways to decrease the spread of COVID-19, communities are grappling with new, increasing concern of overcrowding outside. VHC’s Dr. Jennifer Primeggia, Infection Disease Specialist, recently spoke with NBC4 on the unique risks that can come from outdoor crowding and that, while it is a safer option to be outdoors, it is only as safe as the precautions put in place.
A man enters the lobby of Virginia Hospital Center and slowly, deliberately approaches the check-in point, a pair of sad eyes visible above his mask. Quietly, he explains he is here to collect the belongings of his recently deceased wife. He patiently waits in the lobby as a security officer collects the items. As he prepares to leave, he turns back to say, “I’ve avoided coming back up here since she passed. Thank you. I’m glad that I came back to collect her things. It helps.”
This is just one out of the thousands of interactions that take place in the entrance of your community hospital each day. As we continue to grapple with Covid-19, VHC has suspended our use of volunteers to limit community exposure. To fill this vital role, our own employees are volunteering to honor our mission of serving the health care needs of our community.
Crowding on sidewalks, which has occurred outside Arlington bars on recent weekends, has significant potential to spread the coronavirus, according to local infectious disease experts.
Confirming fears held by county officials and residents, infectious disease specialists at Virginia Hospital Center and George Mason University said the lack of physical distancing in these crowds, varying levels of mask wearing and the social environment makes the risk of coronavirus spread high.