Alexandria surges past 16,000 cases of COVID-19, with more than 800 new cases in a week

In the last two weeks, Alexandria went from just over 15,000 reported cases of COVID-19 to surpassing 16,000 cases.

As of today (Monday, Dec. 20) there have been 16,075 reported cases of the coronavirus in Alexandria, and more of 800 of new infections have listed since this time last week by the Virginia Department of Health. There have also been 156 deaths from the virus.

The Alexandria Health Department says “individual actions” will slow down the spread, and urged “practical” safety precautions over the holidays.

In the meantime, the First Night Alexandria celebration on New Year’s Eve in is still on. The event brings thousands of people to Old Town for dozens of events and culminates with fireworks on the waterfront.

“First Night Alexandria is committed to keeping the health and safety of our community our top priority,” First Night Alexandria says on its website.

Alexandria’s transmission rate went from “Substantial” to “High” at the end of November, and AHD advises residents to limit the number of people at celebrations, take COVID tests, avoid travel and get booster shots.

“Cases have been increasing over the past few weeks following a post-Thanksgiving surge,” the city said in a weekly release. “Based on a recent AHD analysis of November cases, unvaccinated people are 4 times more likely to get COVID-19, and 5 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to fully vaccinated people. However, with the significantly increased transmission rates, there is also a rise in cases among those who are fully vaccinated.”

The seven day average of daily new cases is now 111, and the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 69, up from 25.3 last week. The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 7.2%, up from 5.1% last week.

Contact tracing

The rise in cases has forced the health department’s contact tracers to shift their workload, and they will no longer make multiple attempts to reach residents who test positive.

“Currently, staff will only make one phone call with a voicemail and send one text message,” AHD said. “Residents are strongly urged to answer calls from AHD or to return them for guidance on next steps. Those who are positive should also begin calling their potential close contacts to let them know they may have been exposed and to get tested as soon as possible, regardless of vaccination status.”

Vaccine update

About 57% of Alexandria’s 5-17-year-olds (10,024 people) have been fully vaccinated, as have 73% (95,273) of residents older than 18, and about 84% (16,244) of seniors. Additionally, 35,886 residents have gotten booster shots.

There are still 32,493 unvaccinated residents.

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