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ArlingtonOfficials ramp down use of community centers for COVID vaccinations

Officials ramp down use of community centers for COVID vaccinations

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With the demand for COVID vaccines at least momentarily on the decline across Arlington, local leaders have announced plans to reopen one community center for other uses, and are working on opening up more spaces in another.

County Manager Mark Schwartz on March 22 announced that, as of April 5, the Walter Reed Community Center will open for pickleball, volleyball, basketball and table games like bridge and mah jongg.

“That’s good news,” Schwartz told County Board members, adding that more programs at Walter Reed are expected to return later in April.

For more than a year, portions of the facility (located along South Walter Reed Drive near Green Valley) have largely been given over to COVID testing and vaccinations.

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So, too, has a large chunk of Arlington Mill Community Center, located on the west end of Columbia Pike, where the gym has been off-limits to athletes and instead used for public-health purposes.

In remarks to County Board members, Schwartz said that, by May, “we may be at point where we can have the gym open for activities, but I’m not firmly announcing that.”

As for what the future holds? Our eventual goal is to integrate [the COVID-vaccine effort] into what we do at Sequoia,” Schwartz said, using government shorthand for the county-government’s public-health facility near Washington Boulevard in the Penrose neighborhood.

But all that depends on the whims of a virus that has proved to confound the experts over the past two years.

“The pandemic is not over; we continue to see cases,” said Schwartz.
As of early March – two years into the pandemic – there have been 40,400 cases of COVID reported among Arlington residents and 321 deaths in which the victim had COVID, though not necessarily died of COVID.

Whatever may come, “our public-health clinics will be ready,” Schwartz said.

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