The High Cost of Combating COVID-19 in Alexandria

Alexandria has spent $5 million on new expenses to combat COVID-19 related problems, and in a town hall last night, Mayor Justin Wilson said he expects that number to double by the end of the pandemic.

“[We’ve] spent $5 million on COVID expenses,” Wilson said. “That’s things like hotel rooms for quarantine, hazard pay, things like that; a lot of emergent expenses.”

Wilson said that will likely reach a total of $10 million before the pandemic’s end. Wilson said much of that is expected to be covered by $20-27 million in federal support, which must be dedicated to new costs rather than filling the sudden holes in the city budget.

How that support is allocated is expected to be discussed at an upcoming City Council meeting on Tuesday (May 12), Wilson said.

Additional expenses Wilson said the funding could go to address include food insecurity, rental assistance for local residents out of work and unable to afford housing, and small business assistance.

There are also investments in public health, as well as contact tracing, that Wilson said is likely to remain an investment in place for a long time.

In total, Wilson said 127 people have been hospitalized in Alexandria due to coronavirus and 29 have died. Hospitals are at 75% capacity.

While data broken down by zip codes showed high numbers testing high for coronavirus in Arlandria and the West End, Wilson said some of that is likely due to significant testing work being done in those areas.

“We have a much broader scope of people being tested there,” Wilson said.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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