Trends in Positive Tests and Hospitalizations Remains Sticking Point for Reopening Alexandria

Alexandria has met three of the five criteria for reopening, Mayor Justin Wilson said in a weekly town hall yesterday (Thursday), but the last two remain elusive.

Standards set out by the CDC, and reinforced at every level from the state to the local health director Dr. Stephen Haering, says that there are five standards that need to be met

  • A downward trend in positive tests over 14 days
  • A downward trend in hospitalizations over 14 days
  • Enough hospital beds and intensive care capacity
  • An increasing and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Increased testing and tracing.

Wilson said the city has the hospital bed supply and has access to sufficient PPE. While local groups said the city needs to offer more testing in areas like Arlandria, Wilson said the city is securing access to more testing and tracing.

Inova Alexandria is at 69% capacity, lower than they had been. Wilson noted that this also included the elective procedures allowed again. There are 64 patients at the hospital who are COVID-19 positive or presumed positive.

“Generally speaking, at Inova Alexandria, we’re fine as far as capacity at this point,” Wilson said.

Where Wilson said Alexandris is stick is the sustained downward trending.

“We have enough hospital beds, PPE, and are masking significant investments in testing and contact tracing,” Wilson said, “but we still don’t see the downward trend the Governor wanted to see.”

Wilson said after Gov. Northam announced his intention to move into Phase 1 of reopening last week, Wilson and colleagues from five other Northern Virginia jurisdictions met over a weekend, along with their respective health directors, and asked them to assess the jurisdictions against the metrics for reopening. Wilson said the each of the health directors said they either didn’t have enough data to reach a conclusion or they did not recommend reopening.

After pressure from local leadership, Gov. Northam agreed to delay the opening of Northern Virginia. At this point, Wilson said May 28 is the currently scheduled date for Northern Virginia to reopen, but Wilson said there’s still uncertainty about that.

“My hope is on the 28th we can roll into phase one,” Wilson said. “I suspect we’ll be in a situation two weeks from now where we don’t have a full verdict on those metrics. [That’s] going to have to be a judgment call the governor will have to make.”

Staff photo by James Cullum