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UPDATE: Official says bizarre Covid-related Halloween party cancelation notice wasn’t from city

Halloween on Lee Street in Old Town, October 31, 2022 (staff photo by James Cullum)

Updated at 5:45 p.m. — There is a slight surge of Covid cases in Alexandria, however a notification that a Halloween-themed event at a city recreation center this weekend was unfounded, according to the City.

On Tuesday, an Evite was sent to reporters announcing a Halloween festival at the Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Community Center, but on Wednesday another email was sent announcing that the event was canceled.

“In the wake of the latest surge in Covid-19 cases and the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders we are having right now we figure it is best to cancel the Chick Armstrong Rec. Center’s Halloween Fest,” the email said. “We are sorry to miss the fun but it is best to stay home and stay safe. So we hope to host next year once the vaccine is out and it is safer to gather again. We are sorry to have to cancel but health comes first. Stay healthy everyone and remember to mask up.”

Diane Ruggiero, the city’s deputy director of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities, told ALXnow that the city does not send evites, and that the message was sent from someone outside the city.

“Halloween Fest at Chick Armstrong Rec Center is scheduled for Saturday, October 14 from noon – 3 p.m.,” she said. “This free friendly spooky event will feature food, vendors, games, music, and a costume contest for the entire family. The event has not been cancelled due to Covid.”

Covid update

The Covid-19 pandemic was officially over in May, although the numbers of infected residents are climbing.

There were 614 new cases reported in the last 13 weeks, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The seven-day average for new cases is 15.86, far from the 36.86 seven-day average this time last year. The worst day of 2023 was on Jan. 5, when there were 59 new cases and the seven-day average was 41.57.

New Covid cases over the last 13 weeks in Alexandria (via VDH)

According to VDH:

  • There were 98 reported cases between Aug. 29 and Sept. 4
  • There were 92 reported cases between Sept. 5 to Sept. 11
  • There were 62 cases of children ages 0-9 who contracted the virus in the last 13 weeks
  • There were 18 new cases of children and young adults ages 10-19 who contracted the virus in the last 13 weeks
  • There were 18 deaths reported over the course of the last year, no deaths in the last six months and a total of 126 Covid-related deaths in Alexandria
Covid cases by age group in Alexandria over the last 13 weeks (via VDH)

There are also a number of Halloween-related events scheduled at recreation centers throughout the city next month, including:

  • Boo Fest at Charles Houston Recreation Center, Friday, Oct. 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ($5 per person)
  • Family October Fest 2023 at Patrick Henry Recreation Center, Oct. 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ($15 per person)
  • Family Masquerade Ball at Patrick Henry Recreation Center, Oct. 27, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. ($9 per person)
  • HalloTeen Night at William Ramsay Recreation Center, Oct. 27, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. (Free)
  • Family Costume Ball at William Ramsay Recreation Center, Saturday, Oct. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. (Free)

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