Loudoun County First Responders Provide Briefing on COVID-19

Loudoun County, VA (March 12, 2020) – Loudoun’s First Responders briefed the community this afternoon on measures implemented in light of the evolving COVID-19 Situation.

As government officials, first responders have the most direct contact with our local residents, and we take the health and safety of our sheriff’s deputies, police officers, and fire and rescue personnel and our community very seriously.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman was joined this afternoon by Loudoun Combined Fire and Rescue System Chief Keith Johnson, Town of Leesburg Deputy Chief Vanessa Grigsby, Town of Purcellville Police Chief Cynthia McAlister and Town of Middleburg Police Chief A.J. Panebianco to address the community at a joint press conference. You can watch the full video here.

The first contact with law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel often begins with a call to our Emergency Communications Center (ECC), and our dispatchers are the first line of communication when identifying potential health and safety risks.

“Our Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System members remain prepared for this virus,” said LC-CFRS Chief Johnson. “We instituted additional questioning for (callers) into our Emergency Communications Center. Questions such as have they traveled outside the United States and what their signs and symptoms are that could be related to potential COVID-19 exposure. That provides our first responders, whether law enforcement or fire and rescue, with the most up-to-date information when we respond to the scene…to be sure that we are in the best circumstances to help the citizens that called,” Chief Johnson added.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office also announced additional measures regarding processing of calls for service; measures being taken administratively, in the field; and actions taken at the Adult Detention Center and at the Loudoun County Courts Complex.

• We remind residents that, when possible, to file a report online. The online citizen crime reporting system allows you to submit a report without leaving your home or a deputy having to respond. It is important to only file an online report if it is not an emergency or crime that has just occurred or is in progress. Online reports can be submitted for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Middleburg Police Department and the Purcellville Police Department on our website at sheriff.loudoun.gov/reportonline.

•  Based on the CDC guidance for law enforcement our deputies may keep a distance of six feet when possible during contact with residents. Don’t be offended if we don’t shake your hand.

•  Administratively, Fingerprinting services at our four stations are being temporarily suspended. Residents who need fingerprinting services for employment and other requirements may come to our headquarters located in Leesburg. Our staff will utilize protective gear when performing this service in an abundance of caution.

• We are also temporarily suspending upcoming community outreach events, with the exception of our citizen’s police academy.

“I speak for all of us when I say that despite these measures we are committed to providing you the same level of service you have come to expect in Loudoun,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman. “In the Adult Detention Center we are temporarily postponing all-volunteer programs in the facility to protect staff and inmates at the facility. Inmates will still have the privilege to meet the attorney in the non-contact visitation booths,” said Sheriff Chapman.

Other measures inside the Loudoun County ADC include:

•    Canceled onsite video visitation – we are still allowing tablet video visitation for friends and loved ones. All inmates have access to these tablets.

•    All tours of the facility are canceled.

•    Currently working with our contracted medical staff in the facility to ensure only critical medical appointments outside of the facility will be conducted.

•    Working closely with our medical contractor to increase the observation and assessment of all incoming inmates entering the facility.

•    The Adult Detention Center also has designated handwashing stations and signage has been placed around the facility for inmates and staff encouraging proper hygiene practices.

Measures inside the Loudoun County Courts Complex include:

•    Increase usage of Court Television to minimize the number of inmate transfers in and out of the ADC into the courts complex.

•    Loudoun County General Services has increased the cleaning of surfaces throughout the courthouse for the general public.

•    LCSO has obtained a supply of N95 face masks and latex gloves for court services.

These measures are being taken in an abundance of caution, and are based on CDC guidance and best practices.

This is a rapidly changing situation, and information is being shared as it becomes available. Residents may learn more and sign up for updates about COVID-19 from the Loudoun County government at loudoun.gov/coronavirus. Residents may also text LCCOVID19 to 888777 receive text alerts from Loudoun County about COVID-19.

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