In a video town hall last night (Thursday), Mayor Justin Wilson said there were five outbreaks — places where the virus was spread between several people — in Alexandria. A Virginia Department of Health update this morning (Friday) pushed that up to six.
“Four of those are in long-term living facilities,” Wilson said. “One is in an educational facility.”
Three of those long-term living facilities had outbreaks among their residents, while the fourth was an outbreak among the staff, the Alexandria Times reported.
The number of cases has climbed to 547, which Wilson noted includes presumed cases diagnosed by a physician.
“That’s probably going to drive the numbers up beyond what would be otherwise shown,” Wilson said, “but [it’s] probably a more accurate depiction of the actual number.”
Wilson said that the numbers have also shown that many early preconceptions about the virus, that it primarily impacts elderly people, have not been borne out by the data.
“Forty percent of those in the hospitals are 40 or under,” Wilson said. “There’s been a misconception that this is only impacting those who are older.”
While only 74 of those infected are currently in the hospital, Wilson said the hospital data is a good way of indicating which cases are more severe and shows that the virus is having an impact across age demographics.
Many infected with the virus has been recovering at home, which Wilson said has led to the hospitals not being as overwhelmed as was originally feared. Regional plans to build an expanded hospital center at Dulles have been put on hold, but Wilson said those could be resumed if the hospitals start to reach their capacity.
Currently, the state is not releasing numbers of infected by zipcode out of concern that there are smaller localities where individuals could be identified by their zip code, but Wilson said that could change. As the virus continues to spread, Wilson said it’s likely that more data will be released to the public.
“I suspect you’ll see a continued loosening of restrictions on how they release data,” he said. “We’ve worked with the state to expand granularity in the data, we think there’s a benefit to that. The message we want to give: don’t look to the data for reassurance. You should expect that there are many more people that have COVID-19 than the test results show. You should assume everyone has it.”