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Lord Fairfax Health District identifies first local COVID-19 case; works to identify and notify contacts



The Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD) has been notified that a resident of the District has tested positive for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The patient, a woman in her 30s, has mild symptoms at present and is being treated as an outpatient while isolated from the general public. Health District staff will be contacting anyone in the area who is identified as a close contact of the positive case. Those identified will be asked to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms in coordination with the Health Department. To protect patient confidentiality, no further information about the patient will be released.

“This is the first case detected in a District resident, and given the recent appearance of cases in neighboring areas, comes as no surprise,” said LFHD Director Dr. Colin Greene. “The recommendations in place yesterday still apply today. If you are 65 years or older, or if you have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, immune compromise, you should seriously consider staying at home. We all must do our part to protect ourselves, our neighbors, and the larger community, from this novel coronavirus. As we continue to see new cases of COVID-19, it is critical that people follow the public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene.”

“The Virginia Department of Health, Lord Fairfax Health District and our healthcare partners are working together around the clock to identify cases of COVID-19 in our communities across the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Greene. “We will work to identify potential contacts of each new case, assess their risk of exposure, and recommend appropriate public health and medical measures.”

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death. Persons at highest risk include those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms typically appear 4 to 5 days after being exposed to an infectious person but may occur up to 14 days afterward.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It infects the body via the nostrils, mouth, and eyes, so inhaling those droplets or having them settle on surfaces and transferring them from contaminated fingers are the pathways of spread. Evidence suggests that the highest risks of exposure from an infected person include:

• being coughed or sneezed on;

• other direct contacts with fluid from mouth, nose, or eyes;

• spending more than a few minutes within 6 feet (2 meters)

• touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth (the portals of entry, remember) with unwashed hands

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, all people should practice the following effective behaviors:

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

• Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals.

• Avoid crowds of more than 10 people

As the COVID-19 outbreak expands, recommendations may change. LFHD is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide the best possible guidance for the community.

For the latest on COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, visit

The Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD) consists of these local health departments:

Clarke County Health Department
100 North Buckmarsh St.
Berryville, VA 22611
(540) 955-1033

Frederick/Winchester Health Department
10 Baker Street
Winchester, VA 22602
(540) 722-3470

Page County Health Department
75 Court Lane
Luray, VA 22835
(540) 743 6528

Shenandoah County Health Department
494 N. Main Street, #100
Woodstock, VA 22644
(540) 459-3733

Warren County Health Department
134 Peyton St.
Front Royal, VA 22630
(540) 635-3159

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Remembrance of County’s Slave Population to join Confederate Soldier Memorial in coming week



The recently controversial, circa mid-2020, Confederate Soldier statue on the Warren County Courthouse grounds in the center of the Town of Front Royal is about to get some company. That company according to a press release issued by Coming to the Table on Thursday, September 23, will be marker flags to represent what is cited as over 1100 people – men, women and children, who were enslaved in Warren County at the outset of the Civil War.

Contacted about the display, which is slated to be placed at noon this Saturday, September 25, and remain through Saturday, October 9, Coming to the Table press contact Julie Chickery estimated as many as 350 markers could be placed representing the number of slave families in Warren County during the American Civil War. A graphic of the planned marker flags was not available with the press release; however, we will update this story with one upon their placement Saturday.

The Confederate Soldier Memorial dating to 1911 survived a 2020 referendum vote on relocation to a private site. At issue for supporters of relocation was whether a memorial at a public site dedicated to law and order, commemorating a rebellion surrounding the issue of continued slavery in the nation was appropriate in the 21st century as racism continues to be a hot-button political issue nationally. Royal Examiner File Photos by Roger Bianchini

Could this be a first step toward a less divisive path concerning the continued memorializing on the Warren County Courthouse lawn of the county’s sons who fought, many who died, for the Confederacy? Perhaps, Chickery agreed of the potential of movement toward a more permanent marker acknowledging the human sacrifice of the county’s slave population. For even if not many of the families of the approximately 600 soldiers names on the Confederate Soldier statue were slaveholders as some have asserted, there were families in this county who did hold slaves, as the number of 1,149 slaves freed here after the Civil War was recorded to have been on February 27, 1866, Chickery noted.

The names of county sons who went to war for the Confederacy. Some supporters of the statue’s continued presence at the courthouse have asserted that the bulk of those men’s families were not of the economic class to own slaves, and their personal reasons for going to war are unknown. – For some, perhaps many, it was just because they were drafted, some memorial supporters pointed out.

Below is the full Coming to the Table Press Release:


The local chapter of Coming to the Table is hosting a display on the Warren County Courthouse lawn to honor the more than 1,100 men, women, and children enslaved in the county at the onset of the Civil War.

Last year the county was involved in a contentious debate around an item on the ballot to relocate the confederate monument on the courthouse lawn to a more appropriate private location. One of the erroneous arguments repeated at board meetings and in letters to the editor of local news publications was the implication that slavery was not pervasive in Warren County. Historical records prove these claims to be untrue.

Co-sponsored by Northern Shenandoah Valley Unites, the display will consist of small utility marker flags that will represent the enslaved. Julie Chickery, Warren County resident and member of both Coming to the Table and Northern Shenandoah Valley Unites said, “This display is an important part of ongoing efforts to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States history of slavery.”

DATE: Saturday, September 25 – Saturday, October 9, 2021

LOCATION: Warren County Courthouse, 1 E Main Street, Front Royal, VA 2263

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Auto Care Clinic announces their annual Brakes for Breasts campaign



Brakes for Breasts

During the month of October, we are giving away FREE quality brake pads or shoes. All you pay for is labor and any other necessary parts. 10% of these proceeds will go towards research for the Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Fund.

Our group of auto repair shops from across the country have a set a goal to raise over $1,000,000 in proceeds! This fundraiser will end October 31st.

This past year we had 183 shops in 35 states and 2 countries and raised $250,102.79. Since 2011 we have raised $1,192,034.12, thanks to the support of shops and the vendors like yourself who have been there to support us.

Last year alone, 114 independent repair shops across 34 states raised $114,389.20.

Our goal this year is to have 200 shops participating. After 14 long years we are very close to bedside trials, hopefully by the end of 2021.

Brakes for Breasts is run solely by volunteers and supported by the independent auto repair community across the country. It is a true grass roots effort, with every penny being donated to research.

For more information, please check out our website,! To schedule your appointment today, call us at (540) 635-BILL (2455).

Auto Care Clinic

  • Location: 6768 Winchester Road | Front Royal, VA 22630
  • Website:
  • Hours:
    • Mon-Fri: 7:00am to 6:00pm
    • Closed Weekends for Family Time!
  • Phone: (540) 635-BILL (2455)
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Front Royal man involved in Fauquier crash under investigation by State Police



Virginia State Police Trooper T. Ralls is investigating a two-vehicle crash in Fauquier County. The crash occurred on Tuesday, September 21, at 5:41 p.m. at the intersection of Route 17 (Winchester Rd) and Route 245 (Old Tavern Rd).

A 1995 Saturn SL2 was traveling West on Rt. 245 when it stopped at a stop sign. As the Saturn attempted to cross Rt. 17, it collided with a Northbound 2004 Volkswagen Jetta.

The driver of the Saturn, a 17-year-old male, of Warrenton, VA, and the passenger, a 16-year-old female, suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash. They were both transported to INOVA Fairfax Hospital for treatment. The male and female were wearing seatbelts.

The driver of the Volkswagen, a 40-year-old male, of Front Royal, VA, suffered minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Haymarket Medical Center for treatment. The male was wearing a seatbelt.

The crash remains under investigation.

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Valley Health announces Crisis Measures in response to surging COVID-19 cases in our region



In response to an inquiry about medical staff social media reports of surging COVID-19 numbers filling regional hospital Emergency Rooms and Intensive Care Units, Royal Examiner received a press release from Valley Health on Wednesday afternoon, September 22, announcing “Crisis Measures” being implemented to deal with the pandemic surge. Read the press release in its entirety below the two social media posts that began our inquiry. And remember, as noted in the below caption, the current Coronavirus surge that has now taken 687,459 lives nationwide; 12,634 dead in Virginia; and 68 fatalities in Warren County, is being called “a pandemic of the unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated”.

Two social media posts forwarded to Royal Examiner, both addressing a regional ER and ICU space crisis impacting more than just COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic patients. Is it time for some to rethink weighing online conspiracy theories above scientific and medical analysis? The Phase 4, Delta-variant driven COVID surge has been called ‘a pandemic of the unvaccinated’ with 98% to 99% of initially reported cases, hospitalizations and deaths coming among the un-vaccinated or not completely vaccinated.

Winchester, VA, September 22, 2021 – Valley Health is treating an increasing number of COVID-19 patients and now the health system’s resources are being stretched significantly.

“Our caregivers have worked double shifts, nights, weekends and holidays to save patients and fight COVID-19 in our community. They have shown remarkable resiliency, but they, like all of us, are growing tired.  We are asking our community to pull together and help end the spread of this virus,” said Mark Nantz, President and CEO of Valley Health.

Valley Health’s six hospitals are currently treating 140 patients for COVID-19, about 85% of whom are unvaccinated. According to Iyad Sabbagh, MD, Chief Physician Executive, the most severely ill patients are unvaccinated, underscoring the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.

“The data and scientific evidence overwhelmingly points to the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination,” said Dr. Sabbagh. “I implore residents to get vaccinated, continue to follow masking recommendations and consider implementing social distancing measures such as canceling events where the virus could easily spread. The Delta variant we are now confronting is more contagious than previous versions of this virus and is spreading rapidly in our community.”

According to Dr. Sabbagh, the daily count of hospitalized patients, their acuity level, and vaccination status changes quickly and makes it challenging to provide an accurate snapshot of how many community members are being treated across the system at any point in time.

“Within hours, our count can change dramatically. We are also seeing an increase in the number of patients being dishonest about their vaccination status, which makes it hard to share that data with our community,” Dr. Sabbagh said. He noted that patients fear they will not receive care if they share with staff that they are unvaccinated.

“Our job is to care for every individual who comes to us,” Sabbagh asserted. “While we want the public to know that vaccination is the best way to stop the spread of COVID, we also want them to know that we’re here to care for them, regardless of their vaccination status. It is our mission as healthcare providers.”

Valley Health previously reported that 97% of its caregivers have either been vaccinated or been granted medical or religious exemptions. Additionally, the health system has been very successful in recruiting new staff to fill vacancies left by employees who chose not to comply with the vaccination requirement.  Valley Health has seen an increase in new hires, and overall has had a net gain of staff since announcing the policy in July.

“Our challenge is not staffing due to our COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Our challenge is the sheer number of severely ill COVID-19 patients presenting for care at our hospitals,” commented Nantz.

Valley Health’s response to the patient surge includes bringing on additional resources and implementing measures to care for patients and protect staff:

Parking lots may be empty, but not so on the inside. The new Warren Memorial Hospital is one of many regional Valley Health and non-Valley Health medical facilities dealing with a ‘crisis’ of space driven by rising COVID-19 Delta-variant numbers. Courtesy Photo Valley Health

Additional ICU Capacity Added

With all available ICU beds filled last Friday, WMC opened an additional unit to accommodate the number of severely ill patients needing care. As of Sunday, there were 23 COVID positive patients in the Emergency Department with limited bed availability, and all ICUs in the region were taking 24 hours or more to accept transfers.

Hospital Visiting Curtailed  

Patient visitation at Valley Health’s six hospitals is being curtailed to reduce the risk of transmission between visitors, patients and caregivers. In the last several weeks, Valley Health has seen an increase in disruptive visitor behavior, including refusal to abide by masking requirements while visiting.

Visitation exceptions are being made at Winchester Medical Center for Labor and Delivery, Mother/Baby, Pediatrics and NICU, and at all facilities for special circumstances including end-of-life care, on a case-by-case basis. Visit for updates and details.

Elective and Non-Essential Surgeries Postponed

This week, all Valley Health hospitals and outpatient surgery centers will begin postponing elective and non-essential procedures and surgeries. This will not impact procedures and surgeries for patients whose condition is emergent or urgent, as determined by their physician.  This decision was made after thoughtful consideration and is consistent with the guidance being provided by governmental, clinical, and regulatory organizations.

“Our top priorities are to protect our care team and all those we are caring for,” said Dr. Sabbagh. He expressed appreciation to Valley Health’s caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’ve been so impressed with our team’s commitment, resourcefulness and resiliency,” he said.

“We are still all in this together,” Nantz reflected. “We can help our coworkers, patients, families and friends respond safely, rationally and thoughtfully to create the best possible outcomes. We can listen to one another, be thoughtful, kind, and understand that we are dealing with this crisis together, not separately.”

Visit for updates on Valley Health visitation policies and other service adjustments.

Valley Health is a nonprofit health system serving a population of more than 500,000 in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, and western Maryland. As a healthcare provider, employer, and community partner, Valley Health is committed to improving the health of the region. The system includes six hospitals, more than 60 medical practices and Urgent Care centers, outpatient rehabilitation and fitness, medical transport, long-term care, and home health.       

(From a Valley Health Press Release)

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Flash Flood Watch in effect here from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning



Tuesday morning the following information was distributed by the Warren County Emergency Services Department noting that the Sterling, Virginia office of the National Weather Service (NWS) has included Warren County in a Flash Flood Watch area from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning:

For your awareness, the County/Town will be under a Flash Flood Watch starting tomorrow morning. As of 10:06 AM EDT Tues. Sept. 21, 2021, the National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has expanded the Flash Flood Watch

  • to include portions of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, including the following areas: in Maryland, Central and Eastern Allegany, Extreme Western Allegany, Frederick MD, Garrett and Washington. In Virginia, Clarke, Frederick VA, Madison, Northern Fauquier, Rappahannock, Warren and Western Loudoun. In West Virginia, Berkeley, Eastern Mineral, Hampshire, Jefferson, Morgan and Western Mineral.
  • From Wednesday morning through Thursday morning;
  • Showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected Wednesday into Thursday morning across the watch area. Given the local enhancement of the higher terrain and a very moist air mass, widespread rainfall amounts of two to four inches are expected by Thursday morning. However, localized amounts could exceed that, especially along the ridges. Flash flooding is possible.


You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

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Satellite spots Friday morning flash over Hardy, W. Va. – may verify meteor explanation of Shenandoah County BOOM



A NASA satellite designed to track electrical storm activity may provide the evidence to confirm that a meteorite strike was the cause of the loud BOOM and earthshaking reported in Shenandoah County and points west across the state border into West Virginia, Friday morning, September 17. In a social media post that day accompanying a video recording of the believed meteor flashes from viewer Sandra Dickerson of the Baker-Lost City area of West Virginia, Harrisonburg-based WHSV TV Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz wrote that NASA had confirmed by email that they were “investigating this as a meteor strike, fireball.”

On her Twitter page Sept. 17, WHSV TV-Harrisonburg Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz verifies direction of NASA investigation with post of West Virginia viewer’s video of the accompanying flashes – an initial bright one, with smaller follow up about 7 seconds later. The boom sound was not apparent in this video.

The following day citing Urbanowicz’s work on the story and postings of viewers’ audio and video of the event, Today Headline’s Peter Forister added that NASA’s “GOES-16 Satellite Flash Density product displayed a flash area over Hardy County” West Virginia, consistent with the 10:23 a.m. Friday event timeframe. While there was cloud cover, there were no storms reported in the area at the time, reducing the likelihood of lightning as the explanation for the flash. It was also reported that Hardy County experienced a power outage at the time of the event.

In a social media post to WHSV, a person posting as “Spicy McHaggis” stating they were a pilot in the air at the time of the event wrote: “Yeah it was a meteor. I’m a pilot and we saw from 36,000-feet along the VA/WV border. High in the sky and left a white smoke trail.”

The boom and resultant ground shaking was initially reported as an explosion – logical, maybe somebody’s meth lab blew up – or earthquake. However, area officials could not confirm an explosion in the area and the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) reported no earth-generated seismic activity in the area during the timeframe of the event.

So, as of Monday afternoon an uninvited visitor from space continues to be the leading candidate as the cause for last Friday’s regional earth-shaking event. Information Forister cited from the NASA Meteor Watch website estimated the mass of the object at about 50 pounds impacting the earth at a speed of 45,000 miles per hour, with the energy of one to two tons of TNT. NASA estimated a brightness magnitude of 12, cited as equal to a full moon (due tonight). And so far it appears our theorized space visitor had the cosmic courtesy NOT to land on an occupied patch of our planet.

Thanks, little fellow – hope the animals heard you coming and got out of the way too.

Front page art from NASA’s Meteor Watch page – the National Aeronautics & Space Administration estimated the size of the believed Sept. 17 meteor at 50 pounds impacting the earth somewhere in the West Virginia Eastern Panhandle at 45,000 mph with the force of about 2 tons of TNT.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

10:00 am 3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
Sep 25 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
3rd Annual French & Indian War Weekend @ Abram's Delight
Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, from 10 am to 5 pm. 18th Century Colonial encampments with historical interpretation of British, French and Native Americans on the Western frontier of the Virginia Colony during[...]
10:00 am National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 25 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. A blight decimated American Chestnut trees in North America in the 1920s. One hundred years later, Sky Meadows State Park has teamed up with the Virginia Chapter of the[...]
11:00 am Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 25 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Stop by the Friends of Sky Meadows Farmer’s Market for tasty preserved products, heirloom vegetables, eggs and more. Pick from seasonal vegetables grown in Sky Meadows’ authentic Kitchen Garden, July through September. Grab[...]
12:00 pm Honor Display: Warren County ens... @ Warren County Courthouse
Honor Display: Warren County ens... @ Warren County Courthouse
Sep 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Honor Display: Warren County enslaved @ Warren County Courthouse
WHAT: The local chapter of Coming to the Table is hosting a display on the Warren County Courthouse lawn to honor the more than 1,100 men, women, and children enslaved in the county at the onset[...]
10:00 am 3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
Sep 26 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
3rd Annual French & Indian War Weekend @ Abram's Delight
Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, from 10 am to 5 pm. 18th Century Colonial encampments with historical interpretation of British, French and Native Americans on the Western frontier of the Virginia Colony during[...]
2:00 pm Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
Sep 27 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
WARREN COALITION OFFERS FREE TRAUMA-INFORMED TRAINING IN SEPTEMBER Have you ever felt alone? Do you wonder why you react the way you do? Do you work with children? If you answered yes to any of[...]
7:00 pm Community Parent Night @ Dominion Ridge Academy
Community Parent Night @ Dominion Ridge Academy
Sep 28 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Community Parent Night @ Dominion Ridge Academy
Dominion Ridge Academy is proud to host this free community event for parents featuring international speaker, author, and comedian Christopher O’Shaughnessy. Come enjoy an evening of laughter and inspiration as Chris addresses the themes of[...]
4:00 pm Oktoberfest: Family Fun Day @ Wakefield Country Day School
Oktoberfest: Family Fun Day @ Wakefield Country Day School
Oct 2 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Oktoberfest: Family Fun Day @ Wakefield Country Day School
October 2, 2021 from 4pm-8pm All are welcome to attend the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest at Wakefield Country Day School. Loosen your Leiderhosen and get ready for Oktoberfest! This year, the Edelweiss Band is coming to[...]
5:00 pm 6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
Oct 14 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
Last year we did not get to hold our annual Wine Pull due to COVID. We are so excited that we are able to have this fun fundraising event this year, so be sure to[...]
1:00 pm Fall Craft Festival @ Fort Valley Museum
Fall Craft Festival @ Fort Valley Museum
Oct 30 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Fall Craft Festival @ Fort Valley Museum
Fort Valley Museum Fall Craft Festival – Annual Fundraiser October 30 & 31, 2021 | Saturday 1-4pm, Sunday 2-5pm Come by and support the Fort Valley Museum at our annual Fall Craft Festival (formerly “Christmas[...]