Issue 45
Friday, December 11, 2020
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

It's been a difficult week as we continue to be in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a nation we had our highest single-day number of lives lost to the illness. In one day, Virginia lost 54 to the illness, its second highest single-day number. Prince William County is averaging 5 new hospitalizations a day. I lost two people to COVID-19 in my social circle.

We tend to think linear, but by their nature pandemics are exponential. To emphasize the difference, let's work through a simple, everyday example. You likely, at least once, have used a phone tree to get information out quickly. You call two people, share the information and ask each of them to call two people and do the same. So it goes with the result being:
  • In one quick step, you have 3 people being in the know
  • In five quick steps, you have 63 people in the know
  • In ten quick steps, you have 1024 people in the know
This is exponential, and as the example shows, it's incredibly effective.

This is why the Governor has issued new mandates. Fortunately, Virginia's case count per capita and positivity rate remains comparatively low. However, all five health regions are experiencing increases in new COVID-19 cases, positive tests, and hospitalizations. As illustrated in the phone tree example, if you don't control the spread, things can escalate very, very quickly.

I know many of you are feeling mitigation fatigue. Just remind yourself wearing a mask and staying COVID-conscious are easy steps to take to help save a life, including your own. Fortunately we continue to get positive news on vaccines. Hopefully, we just need to stay #PrinceWilliamStrong a little longer.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
New Statewide Mitigation Measures
Governor Ralph Northam announced new, targeted measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. They will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 14 and remain in place through January 31, 2021, unless rescinded or amended. Below is a high-level recap of the significant changes. Please review the detailed 19-page executive order, if you have questions on specific situations.
Modified Stay at Home Order
  • All individuals in Virginia must remain at place of residence between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
  • Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.

Universal Mask Requirement
  • All individuals aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and outdoors when within six feet of another person.
  • This expands the current statewide mask mandate to include outdoor public settings when social distancing is not maintained.. 

Reduction in Social Gatherings
  • Social gatherings are limited to 10 individuals, down from the current cap of 25 people.
  • This includes, but not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors.
  • This does not Include religious services, employment settings, or educational settings.
  • Restaurants and retail stores, already governed by strict social distancing requirements, are not included in this limit.

Continued Limits on Dining Establishments
  • Currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place.
  • The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol remains prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room.
  • All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.

Employees that can telework are strongly encouraged to do so.
How You Can Help
If you haven't downloaded COVIDWISE yet, it's never been more important to participate. The innovative exposure notification app is free and alerts users if they have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. It does not rely on personal information or location data.
Vaccine Information Sessions
The Virginia Department of Health is offering three more Vaccine Community Conversations to learn more about how Virginia is preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine. The virtual sessions are tailored to specific communities and start at 6:00 pm on the following dates:
  • Tuesday, December 15: African-American Community
  • Wednesday, December 16: People with Disabilities Community
  • Thursday, December 17: Rural Community
The Northern Virginia Regional Commission interactive map uses testing and case data from the Virginia Department of Health to show percent positive and testing rates per 10,000 persons by zip code. It also displays the location of long-term COVID-19 test sampling sites. The data is updated weekly on Mondays, so please check it regularly.
Please check the continually updated PWC COVID-19 testing webpage prior to going to a testing site. Due to demand, you should arrive before or as close as possible to the start time. Please know, testing is no longer available once the test kits are depleted at each site. The PWC Government also posts updates on testing site closures and capacity on their Twitter account.
Upcoming BOCS Meetings
TuesdayDecember 15
from 2:00 pm to 7:30 pm

For Public Comment Time options visit 
SpeakUp! Prince William.
Advance sign-up is required by
5:00 pm on Monday, December 14.
The front entrance of the James J. McCoart County Administration Building is undergoing construction through December 18 to install a new accessibility ramp. As a result, anyone needing an accessibility ramp to enter the building during this timeframe, which includes the December 15 BOCS meeting, will need to use the temporary access entries indicated in the above image.
County News
COVID-19 Mitigation
The BOCS recently accepted, budgeted and appropriated a $50,000 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program Grant to help the Prince William – Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center (ADC) reduce exposure to the virus. Provided by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, allowable spending may include overtime pay and training to address the medical needs of inmates and staff, as well as purchasing equipment and supplies, such as gloves, masks and sanitizer.
Help For New Businesses
The PWC Department of Economic Development is excited to announce the launch of another economic recovery program. IGNITE is a competitive grant designed for high-growth companies in or willing to relocate to the County. The grant is $25,000 for early-stage companies and $50,000 for companies that are post-revenue or funded. The first of two application waves opened December 10 and closes January 10. The second wave is scheduled for spring.
Special Election
State Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, who represents the 2nd District includes part of PWC, has announced her resignation effective December 12 to focus on her candidacy for Governor. As outlined in the Code of Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam has issued a writ declaring a special election for January 5, 2021 to fill the vacancy. PWCVotes will update their page as more information becomes available.
Chair Wheeler News
Chair Wheeler has been elected to serve as Vice President of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). She will be serving alongside District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, serving as President, Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro, also serving as Vice President, and Fairfax County Supervisor Rodney Lusk, serving as Secretary/Treasurer.

Additionally, Chair Wheeler will be serving on COG's new Food and Agriculture Regional Member (FARM) Ad Hoc Advisory Committee. The FARM’s purpose is to support development of long-term regional direction and collaboration toward a more resilient, connected food and farm economy (food system) across urban, suburban and rural communities in the metropolitan Washington region that provides more of the region’s food needs.
COG is an independent, nonprofit association, with a membership of 300 elected officials from 24 local governments, the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, and U.S. Congress. Every month, more than 1,500 officials and experts connect through COG to share information and develop solutions to the region’s major challenges.
School News
Getting Students Connected
The BOCS recently accepted, budgeted, and appropriated $1.2 million in federal CARES Act funding to buy 4,061 Wi-fi hotspot devices for students without reliable internet service. The funding will pay for devices for one year under the County Student Hotspot Program and the PWC Public Schools will distribute them. Once the device subscription expires, users will have to pay for continued service or return the devices. PWC Libraries is also providing 100 Chromebooks to PWC Public Schools.
Something For Winter
In Case You Weren't Aware
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at George Mason University offers opportunities for mature adults to explore intellectual and cultural subjects as well as share their experiences and talents. Their winter term flyer gives you a glimpse into the wide-variety of offerings. For 2021 new members can enroll in their winter term for $150 or a full year for $300. You can even try them out for free for two weeks. They also offer free content on their YouTube channel.
State News
Governor Ralph Northam ceremonially signed “Breonna’s Law” on Tuesday, December 8. Sponsored by Delegate Lashrecse Aird and Senator Mamie Locke, the law prohibits the use of no-knock search warrants in the Commonwealth. Virginia is the third state in the country to ban this practice. Bianca Austin and Tahasha Holloway, Breonna Taylor’s aunts attended. 
Time Is Almost Up
Saturday, December 12 is the last day to drop off your new and unwrapped toy at any fire station in Prince William County, City of Manassas Park, or City of Manassas. Additional drop off locations are at the PWC Public Safety Training Center in Nokesville and the lobby at the McCoart Government Center in Woodbridge.
Please follow the drop off instructions listed below:
  • Enclose the items in a white or clear trash bag. On the outside of the bag, mark the number of items enclosed. 
  • Due to COVID-19, please ring the doorbell at fire stations and leave your bagged donations outside the door.
  • Clothes and used toys cannot be accepted. Please consider donating used toys and clothing to churches and shelters in your neighborhood. 
Festival Of Lights
Hanukkah, the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” began Thursday evening, December 10 and continues through Friday, December 18. The Hebrew word Hanukkah means “dedication,” and celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple. The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a candelabrum with nine branches, called a menorah (or hanukkiah). One candle, called the shamash, is typically placed above or below the others. Each night, one additional candle is lit by the shamash until all eight candles are lit together on the final night of the festival. Other festivities include playing the game of dreidel and eating special foods.
The Origins
In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks) who tried to force the people of Israel to accept their culture and beliefs. A small band of poorly armed Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, drove them from the land and reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. When they sought to light the Temple's Menorah, they found only a one-day supply of oil that lasted for eight days.
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.