Alexandria surpasses 15,000 cases of COVID-19, goes back to ‘High’ transmission rate

Alexandria’s COVID transmission rate has risen from “Substantial” to “High”, as the number of reported cases has surpassed 15,000.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 7, there have been 15,056 reported cases of COVID-19 in the city, according to the the Virginia Department of Health. There has also been another death since last week, bringing the death toll from the virus to 155.

Alexandria, which remains under a state of emergency until Jan. 22, 2022, experienced “Substantial” COVID-19 transmission from mid-October 17 until the end of November, before which it saw “High” transmission for two months.

The city saw “Low” and “Moderate” transmission levels from May to June this year — the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic. The only localities not experiencing “High” COVID transmission levels in Northern Virginia are Manassas Park and the City of Fairfax, which have maintained “Moderate” levels.

The Omicron variant and rising COVID numbers

Last week, VDH announced that it is monitoring the Omicron variant, and that it is tracking COVID-19 samples to detect it and other variants.

“Even with new variants, safety measures like wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance are highly effective,” the Alexandria Health Department said in a release. “Vaccination remains the most important tool to fight the pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals ages 18 and older who are fully vaccinated should get a booster to maximize their protection against COVID-19.”

COVID numbers have risen sharply over the last week, with 251 residents infected since Dec. 1. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 36, up from 7.8 last week. The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is also up — now 4.3% versus 2.7% last week.

There have been 19 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools so far this month. There were 62 cases reported in ACPS in November.

Vaccine update

About 50% of Alexandria’s 5-17-year-olds (8,852 people) have been fully vaccinated, according to VDH.

Additionally, 73% (94,540) of residents older than 18 are fully vaccinated, as are about 83% (16,179) of seniors. Additionally, 28,845 residents have gotten booster shots.

There are still 34,954 unvaccinated residents, and the Alexandria Health Department says they account for a majority of new cases.

Meanwhile, the City now plans to reduce its COVID-19 updates from twice a week to once a week.

“With nearly 77% of Alexandrians ages 5 and up partially vaccinated and the 7-day moving average of positive cases at a third of the peak in early fall, the frequency of this COVID-19 news release will reduce to once per week,” the city recently announced.

Find vaccine providers in Alexandria here. If you feel sick, get tested.

Via CDC/Unsplash