Issue 47
Friday, January 8, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

I, like many people across the nation and even the world, looked on in horror Wednesday, January 6. As I watched the events unfold, I drew upon my faith in our Constitution, our government, and the people of the United States to withstand this assault.

While the loss of life can never be restored, I believe the action by our elected representatives to continue the proceeding of certifying the election, with the utmost importance and speed, was telling. We are a nation that has and will continue to endure all kinds of assaults from within and from without, but we will always persevere.

In this issue, I am sharing some of what we accomplished in 2020. In a year that presented to all of us many unique challenges, it is noteworthy we were still able to take strides in making PWC a great place to live, work and play. The COVID-19 segment includes detailed information on vaccinations. You will also find a few highlights from my calendar this past week, along with county, school and state news.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
For 10 months of 2020, the pandemic dominated the fabric of our daily lives. As such, it was the central topic of governing. These are just some of the ways PWC helped it's residents and businesses navigate the health and economic challenges.
  • Testing Taskforce administered over 19,000 free COVID-19 tests
  • Feeding taskforce distributed over 9.7 million pounds of food
  • Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Program funded 288 households for a total of over $2 million
  • Awarded over $4.6 million in Small Business Micro-Grants to 640 impacted businesses
  • Funded the purchase of 4,061 wi-fi hotspot devices to increase access to reliable internet
While 2020 was overwhelmingly about crisis management, your BOCS was still able to move the county forward, in a better direction. Below are just a few of the highlights.
Equality and Justice
Economic Development
Budgetary steps were taken to help residents with the challenges they faced, while also engaging the community, keeping the county strong and continuing to improve county life.
Community and Budget
Parks and Recreation
  • Awarded accreditation from the National Recreation and Parks Associations
  • Began development of county's First Wellness Park, Harbor Drive Park
  • Developed the new Locust Shade Park mountain bike trial
The General Election and Census are part of our very foundation. However, they only happen in the same year five times in a century. In the midst of a pandemic, we accomplished both.
November General Election
  • County voter turnout reached 74%
  • A total of 226,702 votes were cast
  • County more than doubled the number of early voting locations
  • 56% of the votes were cast early
2020 Census
  • PWC had a self-reporting rate of 77%
  • This was an increase of almost 5% from our rate in 2010
  • PWC's reporting rate was 5.5% better than Virginia overall
PWC Data
The Virginia Department of Health's (VDH) Testing Dashboard 7-day positivity rate in PWC as of 5:00 pm yesterday, January 7 is 20.2%.
Vaccine Resources
The VDH's COVID-19 Vaccine Response website provides a great deal of information. For instance, those who want to know details about:
Virginia's Vaccination Distribution Plan
While the vaccine supply is limited, Virginia has adapted its guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and is providing it to specific groups of people over a number of phases. The details of Virginia's distribution plan provided by Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday, January 6, are below.

Phase 1a
  • When - Currently receiving vaccinations
  • Who - Healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities
  • Numbers - Approximately 500,000 people

Phase 1b
  • When - Expected to start on or soon after January 11
  • Who - Frontline essential workers in specific industries, K-12 teachers and staff, childcare providers, adults age 75 and older, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps
  • Numbers - Approximately 1.2 million people
  • In depth information can be found here

Phase 1c
  • When - Anticipated start date to be determined
  • Who - Other essential workers, adults age 65 and older, and people age 16-64 with certain medical conditions or disabilities that increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • Numbers - Approximately 2.5 million people
  • In depth information can be found here

The VDH is developing an online portal to help people understand how to register to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The Wheeler Report will keep you inform on this and any other vaccination developments.
Governor Northam also shared he is taking the following steps to help providers increase the rate of vaccinations:
  • Vaccination goal of 25,000 Virginians each day when supply allows
  • ‘Use it or lose it’ model requiring medical facilities to administer the vaccine as soon as possible, or risk having future vaccine allotments reduced
  • Appointing Dr. Danny T.K. Avula to lead Virginia's vaccination efforts including coordinating work between state officials, local health departments, hospitals, and private providers
  • Expanding priority groups to including placing K-12 teachers and child care workers in Phase 1b
  • Elevating the Virginia National Guard, as more doses are received, to provide logistical support and help local health departments administer vaccines
PWC's COVID-19 testing webpage provides current information on testing locations and times. Testing is no longer available once the test kits are depleted so please arrive before or as close as possible to the start time. The PWC Twitter Account provides daily updates on closures and capacity.
The Department of Social Services Benefits' Division has recently shared the general information below on applying for programs available to PWC residents.
Applications can be submitted to your local department of social services (LDSS) in person, by mail, or fax. Depending on the type of assistance requested, you may need to be interviewed.
Ways to apply for assistance:
  • Online at CommonHelp
  • Call 855-635-4370 for SNAP, TANF, EAP, and Medical Assistance
  • Call 855-242-8282 for Medical Assistance only
  • Get an application during office hours at your LDSS
  • Ask the LDSS to mail an application to you
  • Print a copy of the application for a program listed under Assistance at Virginia Department of Social Services or at Cover Virginia for Medical Assistance
Upcoming Meetings
TuesdayJanuary 12
at 2:00 pm and at 7:30 pm

For Public Comment Time options visit 
SpeakUp! Prince William.
Remote speakers must sign-up by
5:00 pm on Monday, January 11.
In-person speakers can sign up at the meeting.
The 2:00 pm meeting will include a State of the County Address by Chair Wheeler and a PWC COVID-19 update from county staff.
Chair's Calendar
Week of January 4
A few of the highlights from Chair Wheeler's calendar this past week included:
County News
Meet With Your State Delegates and Senators
The PWC state delegation is holding a virtual legislative town hall on Saturday, January 9, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. This is an opportunity to hear from your elected representatives regarding the legislation they will carry during the 2021 session and share your priorities. You can attend via this Zoom link and register to speak ahead of time at PWC Public Hearing sign up.
Not sure who represents you? Use the Who's My Representative online tool.
'Grow' Your Financial Knowledge
Do your New Year's resolutions include financial goals? If so, check-out the Virginia Cooperation Extension's free January classes! They cover a wide range of topics from decoding the new stimulus bill, managing holiday debt, insurance, a small business workshop, and financial goal setting.
Celebrating Those Who Help
The PWC Human Rights Commission will celebrate Universal Human Rights Day virtually on Saturday, January 16, at 10:00 am. This year's theme, Recover Better - Stand Up for Human Rights, relates to the need to ensure Human Rights are central to the COVID-19 recovery efforts. The community is invited to participate. RSVP by Wednesday, January 13 by calling 703-792-4680 or emailing and a link will be sent to you.
The event will include a presentation of the 2020 Human Rights Awards to members of the community who provide unique contributions to human and civil rights. The 2020 winners are: Aaron Tolson; Helen Zurita; Lisa Shea; Immigrants First, PLLC; Lisa Ullrich and Jerome Hughes; Masks for Humanity; MurLarkey Distilled Spirits; and Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Dale City Chapter.
Added Protection
On Saturday, January 2, the PWC Fire and Rescue System opened its newly constructed Groveton Fire and Rescue Station 22 at 7500 Century Park Drive in Manassas. The approximate 19,000 square foot facility will house approximately 45 career staff providing 24-hour coverage on an Engine, Rescue, Medic Unit (Advanced Life Support ambulance) and Collapse Unit. Due to COVID-19, the ribbon cutting ceremony and station visits are temporarily postponed until further notice.
Open Doors
The PWC Office of Tourism is pleased to announce that several new hotels are investing in the County's future. The LaQuinta Inn & Suites in the Coles District and the TownePlace Suites in the Occoquan District have recently opened. In addition, two hotels are under construction in the Gainesville District. Business, leisure and other visitors contributed over $692 million in spending power to PWC's economy in 2019.
A 'Pesty' Problem
Spotted Lanternflies have recently been confirmed in our region. This invasive insect can feed on over 103 different plant types and is also a threat to many ornamental and native trees. Read the Virginia Cooperative Extension Pest Alert to learn more and see photos of its various stages. If you think you may have seen an egg mass, nymph or adult, please report it following their guidance.
School News
Back and Serving
Now that winter break is over, PWC Schools have restarted providing their Weekly Grocery Kit. Curbside pickup is available on Mondays and Thursdays from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm at the locations listed in the graphic.
The PWC Schools has a dedicated COVID-19 dashboard website providing school specific information which includes:
  • Weekly total staff and students (virtual and in-person) who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus
  • Monthly, by school, details including if the person was in the building while contagious
State News
New Law
Effective January 1, 2021, it is illegal to hold a handheld personal communications device (e.g., a smartphone) while driving a moving motor vehicle on Virginia highways. Drivers who are pulled over for holding one will not be asked to hand the device over to the officer. It is the act of holding the device while driving that is illegal, not what you are doing.
Examples of Violations:
  • Dialing a phone number
  • Sending a text message
  • Updating/browsing social media
  • Participating in a video conference
  • Shopping online
  • Watching movies
  • Checking the weather
  • Playing games
  • Reading or sending email
Violation Fines:
  • $125 for the first offense
  • $250 for the second and subsequent offenses
  • If also convicted of reckless driving, a mandatory minimum fine of $250 with the possibility of up to $2,500, up to 12 months in jail, and up to a six-month license suspension
  • If also while driving in a highway work zone, a fine of $250
COVID-19 Assistance
Governor Ralph Northam has allocated an additional $20 million in federal CARES Act funding to the Rebuild VA economic recovery grant fund. The new funding will bring the program total to $120 million and enable more than 300 small business and nonprofits that applied before the last round of funding was exhausted in early December to receive grants.
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.