Last week the Board received a report that highlighted the County’s COVID response. While it’s important for us to always look for ways to improve, the results of the survey confirmed your Fairfax County Government has worked exceptionally well for you throughout the pandemic. I am very proud of our response and all we are doing to continue to recover. The results of this report presented to the Board made one thing clear—when our residents needed local government the most, we were there for you in a variety of ways.
The statistics tell a portion of the story:
- 90% of community members had little or no difficulty accessing County government services
- 89% of community members had little or no difficulty accessing the County’s COVID-19 services
- 71% of businesses indicated operations would have ceased or been negatively affected without access to County services.
- 97% of community organizations rated collaborative efforts with the County as satisfactory or better.
These are remarkable numbers demonstrating the effectiveness of our County operations even under unprecedented challenges. While we strive to be 100% in every category, it is clear that vast majorities of our neighbors found what they needed, when they needed it from their local government. I am immensely proud of our frontline workers and all our staff who made sure we did not stop our operations for one second, even as municipal governments around the country had to close or severely curtail operations. Not Fairfax County. We do things differently here.
We also never lost sight of our commitment to equity in Fairfax County. We worked non-stop to ensure everyone had access to vaccines, testing, and treatment. We provided essentials and funding to over 10,000 residents facing uncertainty in food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and other basic needs. For small businesses, with the help of key federal funding, we offered $110M in grants and microloans, a vital lifeline in a time of uncertainty. I am also proud to say we have delivered over 2.5 million shots in over 1 million arms, more than any other locality in Virginia. Overall, we communicated nonstop to all our residents to make sure they knew when, where and how to access everything the County was providing.
None of this would have been possible without our dedicated County staff, from the County Executive’s office and our agency leadership to the frontline workers. As Chairman I got to see this first-hand every day, especially during the height of the pandemic. These pivots were exceptionally hard, having to accomplish in days or even hours what often takes weeks or months to implement. We are one of the largest employers in Virginia, and in just a few days we had to move from a normal in-person model to almost fully virtual–and it had to happen while never stopping or even pausing our essential work. This effort in all facets of County government aided hundreds of thousands of people and without question saved lives, a remarkable achievement.
It would indeed be a waste if, while reflecting on the good, we did not examine where we could improve. Where there are changes to be made and processes to fix, we will do so. But the evidence is clear: even at a time when it was uncertain what the outcome would be and in the face of so much disinformation and inconsistent national leadership, Fairfax County’s efforts on behalf of its residents, businesses, non-profits, and faith-based organizations met the moment and led the Commonwealth. Thanks to the work of everyone in the County, and with the help of our state and federal partners, we are as strong now as we have ever been.
To view the after-action presentation, please click here.