Carrie Beyer and Jeff Flannery considered it their civic duty to get tested for COVID-19 on Memorial Day. Along with thousands of Alexandrians on Monday, the couple took their 18-year-old son to get tested at Cora Kelly School.
“We look at it as our civic duty,” Flannery told ALXnow. “I don’t think we would have come out at all unless Carrie convinced us, because we need to collect the statistics and get an accurate database of what’s going on in the city.”
The tests were conducted at Cora Kelly School and Landmark Mall — and both sites are located in the city’s most high-risk areas in the 22304 and 22305 ZIP codes, which include the West End and Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Potomac West neighborhoods. Today, the Virginia Department of Health announced there were three more COVID-19 deaths and 1,785 cases in the city, an increase of 31 cases since yesterday.
Last week, Governor Ralph Northam announced that the 3,000 tests would be administered in Alexandria on Memorial day, and that state’s most impacted areas will get additional testing throughout the remainder of the month. Northam delayed the first phased opening of Northern Virginia’s economy from May 15 to May 29 after receiving a letter from regional leaders, including Mayor Justin Wilson.
Wilson said that the free testing needs to continue.
“So far in the city, we’ve done just under 6,000 tests since March, and we’re doing about 50% of that one day, which is a significant expansion of our testing capacity,” Wilson told ALXnow. “I think the message that we’ve delivered to the Commonwealth is that this is great, this is wonderful, we need to keep it up.”
Wilson added, “I think we are achieving the 14 days of reducing positivity in the testing that’s occurring. We are experiencing reductions in the hospitalizations and new hospitalizations.”
On Sunday, Wilson signed another letter with his regional counterparts stating that the region has met four out of the six criteria necessary to move into phase 1 on May 29.
The @GovernorVA is expected tomorrow to announce the timing for our region’s entrance into Phase 1 of reopening.
Together with my counterparts, we have again provided input reflecting the consensus advice of our public health directors.
Making progress, but work ahead. pic.twitter.com/ogiuC8LMnF
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) May 25, 2020
Alexandria Health Director Dr. Stephen Haering said that there is a widespread availability of tests in the city for symptomatic individuals. He also said that test statistics only reveal the tip of the iceberg as to the rate of infections in the city.
“What we do know is that of the results that we’ve had where there’s been ethnicity reported, that 47% of all the results in Alexandria have been among those who are Hispanic or Latinx residents,” Haering said. “We continue to have more transmission, and we will throughout every phase of reopening the economy. So, our message has been, even though there was going to be different phases of reopening at different times that we have to all remain vigilant with social distancing and meticulous hand washing.”
Sabine Meade, a sophomore at T.C. Williams High School, got the test with her mother and brother. She said that staying home has been frustrating since she’s sees friends and neighbors ignore safety guidelines.
“Our family has been really strict about social distancing,” she said. “It’s actually been really frustrating to see other people go and hang out with their friends and blow it off as nothing when we’re taking it seriously.”
Vehicle-side COVID-19 testing is available at Inova Primary Care – Old Town by appointment only, and the Alexandria Hospital is preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients. Neighborhood Health has also pledged to continue free testing in Arlandria.
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