Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Beyer: Trump Must Be Removed — Rep. Don Beyer: “Donald Trump is a danger to our democracy. I continue to support his impeachment and removal from office, and am looking carefully at new articles of impeachment being drafted and offered by my colleagues… Congress must ensure Trump’s removal from office by the swiftest and surest method available: confirmation of the American people’s will as expressed in the 2020 election.” [Press Release]

Current Inova Site to Become Residential Development — “At an online community meeting Wednesday evening, attorney Cathy Puskar said the hospital will be requesting a rezoning of its current Seminary Road/Howard Street property to allow a future developer to build single family detached homes and townhomes. The current hospital is surrounded by single family homes and multifamily units.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Local Experts Suggest Gentle New Year’s Resolutions — “For 2021, local mental health professionals advise being gentle with yourself when creating the daily schedules and resolutions that often come with the beginning of the New Year. As many are feeling drained and defeated after a tumultuous 2020, making tiny, downsized resolutions can offer reassurance and hope as we embark on a new year.” [Alexandria Gazette]

Local Historian to Host Lecture on Washington Presidency — “Alexandria resident Dr. Lindsay M. Chervinsky will host the virtual lecture “George Washington and France” on Thursday, Jan. 7. Chervinsky, who is a former White House Historian at the White House Historical Association, wrote about Washington and his cabinet for a recent book.” [Zebra]

The Unofficial History of the Hard Times Horse — “The horse and 1941 Chevy pick-up truck is another one of the legacies left by Fred Parker, who died in April after a battle with cancer. The horse and truck have stood proudly in front of the restaurant and have been featured in local parades.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Citizens’ Association Frustrated With ADU Policy Progress — “NRCA supported eight reasonable restrictions and prohibitions on ADUs…we are very disappointed that the vast majority of [our] comments and proposals were not included in the current version of the policy.” [Twitter]

Over 60 Restaurants Participate in January Restaurant Week — “For an extended two-week period, more than 60 restaurants in Alexandria, Virginia, will offer a $49 takeout, delivery or curbside pick-up dinner for two during Alexandria Restaurant Week To-Go, January 22 – February 7, 2021.” [Zebra]

Alexandria-based United Way Accused of Rewarding Sexist Behavior — “For decades, misogyny has been rampant across the organization’s leadership, according to detailed accounts from nine former United Way workers employed at the organization from the early 1990s to the beginning of 2020.” [Business Insider]

Blood Supply Low at Inova — “Inova Blood Donor Services estimates it must collect 200 units of must collect 200 units of blood, platelet, plasma and double red cells a day to meet the needs of the community. As of Jan. 4, the red blood cell inventory is below the desired levels for most blood types.” [Patch]

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(Updated 4 p.m.) Shortly after the first community meeting on plans for Landmark Mall, Inova is planning to host a second meeting tomorrow to discuss potential rezoning of Inova Alexandria Hospital’s current Seminary Hill site.

Current plans for the hospital are to be rezoned and redeveloped as residential properties, a move that has drawn some praise from local civic associations, according to Alexandria Living Magazine.

Still, the final vision for what new development looks like at the current Seminary Hill location is unclear. The City clarified that no permits or plans have been approved so far.

According to a news release from the City of Alexandria:

On December 22, Inova, in partnership with Foulger-Pratt and the City, announced a redevelopment proposal to construct a new hospital and mixed-use district at the former Landmark Mall site. In order to facilitate the relocation of the hospital from its current location to Landmark Mall, Inova plans to work with the community as it moves forward with a request to rezone the existing hospital site at Seminary Road for a variety of residential uses.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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The primary forces behind the Landmark Mall redevelopment are hosting a meeting tonight to discuss upcoming details of the project.

Foulger-Pratt, Inova Health System, City of Alexandria are hosting a virtual meeting tonight (Monday) from 7-8:30 pm. to discuss plans for the joint four million-square-foot project that will include a new medical campus at the former Landmark Mall. Plans call for a project that would revitalize the West End with a “new mixed-use, walkable urban village.”

Mayor Justin Wilson said in his January newsletter that the redevelopment will bring a billion dollars in new investments to the region.

“Despite over two decades of decline, it is not a mystery why we had been unable to spur redevelopment on this site in the past,” Wilson wrote. “It is a complicated site, with a complicated ownership structure requiring significant infrastructure investment.”

The video can be watched via YouTube or Facebook Live and questions can be submitted in advance.

“Inova would create a new medical campus, anchored by a relocated and expanded Alexandria Hospital,” the City of Alexandria said in a press release. “The site would include residential, retail, commercial and entertainment offerings integrated into a cohesive neighborhood with a central plaza, a network of parks and public spaces, a new fire-EMS station, and a transit hub serving bus rapid transit, DASH, and Metrobus.”

Image via City of Alexandria

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Morning Notes

Travel and Leisure Promotes Alexandria as Road Trip Destination — “An easy four-hour drive from New York and just ten minutes from the nation’s capital, the waterfront city balances the sophistication of an urban metropolis with the neighborly vibes of a small town.” [Travel and Leisure]

Inova Could be Rezoned as Single Family Homes — “Current plans call for the hospital property to be sold and rezoned for single family homes and townhomes, according to information provided by the City of Alexandria.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Del Ray Decorated With Holiday Cards — “The streets are lined with over 30 cards made of plywood and paint. The increase in cards from previous years comes from being at home due to COVID-19.” [WFXR]

Vaccine Distribution Starts Across Virginia — “As of Sunday, 38,172 vaccine doses have been administered in Virginia.” [Patch]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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(Updated 12:30 p.m.) While COVID-19 is on the rise in Alexandria, Dr. Rina Bansal, President of Inova Alexandria Hospital, said hospitalizations for the virus are higher but remaining stable.

“It’s busy,” Bansal said. “We’re managing admissions and discharges. The key is to make sure patients who don’t need to be in the hospital can be discharged quickly. We’re open and here to care about the community.”

Bansal said the winter season is already busier than the rest of the year before the added complication of COVID. But the hospital is managing, with staff starting to receive the vaccine and the hospital recently recognized for quality and safety.

“We have a higher [count] than we did four weeks ago,” Bansal said. “We did see an increase but it’s more stable now. Went up to the 40s but we’re not seeing an increase in the day by day, week by week basis that we did earlier.”

Bansal said one of the key differences is the first wave of COVID-19 was characterized by the most vulnerable populations getting sick and requiring hospital care.

“This time, it includes people who are younger,” Bansal said. “There are people who are not getting sick enough to come into the hospital or turning around more quickly. From a treatment perspective, we’ve also learned so much in the last few months and clinical management is better. It makes it easier to care for patients.”

Still, Bansal urged locals not to socialize or gather for the winter holidays after a nationwide uptick in cases after Thanksgiving.

“People want to socialize and we would definitely recommend against that,” Bansal said.

Bansal also encouraged locals to come in and get their flu shots. During the first wave of the pandemic, Bansal said the hospital had issues where those who should have come in for check ups and medical issues were avoiding the hospital due to COVID-19.

“We continue to be open and fully operational,” Bansal said. “Don’t be scared to come into the hospital.”

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Two more Alexandria residents have died from COVID-19, and the total case count in the city since the pandemic started in March is now at 4,444. That’s an increase of 81 cases since Monday.

A woman and a man in their 80s are the latest victims of the virus, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Of the 76 deaths, 98% have been residents above the age of 50.

Additionally, Inova Alexandra hospital is at 68% capacity, which Mayor Justin Wilson said “is perfectly normal.”

“They have right now 12 patients that they are treating in Inova Alexandria (Hospital) who are COVID-positive,” Wilson reported in his monthly town hall meeting on Thursday night. “And they have another 17 patients that are under investigation. These are folks who may likely have COVID but have not yet tested positive.”

Health care workers also make up 305 positive COVID cases, according to VDH.

Demographics

There are or have been 2,297 women (with 38 deaths) and 2,134 men (with 38 deaths) in Alexandria with the virus. The only age groups that have not experienced a death so far are children and teenagers.

  • 80+    — 33 deaths, 130 cases
  • 70-79 — 21 deaths, 152 cases
  • 60-69 — Five deaths, 329 cases
  • 50-59 — 14 deaths, 556 cases
  • 40-49 — One death, 764 cases
  • 30-39 — One death, 1,009 cases
  • 20-29 — One death, 867 cases
  • 10-19  — Zero deaths, 314 cases
  • 0-9     — Zero deaths, 311 cases

Latino residents have the most infections with 2,015 reported cases (with 13 deaths), and Black (19 deaths) and white residents (40 deaths) both have 927 cases apiece. There are 162 cases with Asian or Pacific Islander residents (and one death), 108 cases classified as “other” (with two deaths) and four native American cases.

There have also been 35 outbreaks in the city, including 12 at long term care facilities, 17 in congregate settings, four in child care settings, one at a college and one in a K-12 setting. There have been 455 cases associated with the outbreaks.

Across Virginia, there have been 3,682 deaths and there are or have been 188,770 cases of the virus. There have been 2.7 million PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 5.9%.

Testing Update

There have been 53,065 COVID tests administered in the city so far and 5,414 antibody tests. The city’s seven-day positivity rate is now at 3.8%.

  • Arlington County has 4,919 cases, 154 deaths and a 4.9% seven-day positivity rate
  • Fairfax County has 25,152 cases, 609 deaths and a 5.3% seven-day positivity rate
  • Loudoun County has 8,225 cases, 134 deaths and a 6.3% seven-day positivity rate

Need a test? Inova is now offering vehicle-side and walk-in testing services for diagnosing flu and COVID-19, at the Victory Center parking lot (5001 Eisenhower Avenue).

Cases By ZIP Code

The areas of the city with the leading number of cases are the 22304, 22305 and 22312 ZIP codes, which include the West End and Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Potomac West neighborhoods.

Some of the areas share jurisdictions between Alexandria and Arlington and Fairfax Counties:

  • 22301 — 171 cases, 4,57653 people tested (Estimated population 15,171)
  • 22302 — 480 cases, 8,174 people tested (Estimated population 20,238)
  • 22304 — 1,398 cases, 15,883 people tested (Estimated population 54,003)
  • 22305 — 890 cases, 6,271 people tested (Estimated population 16,095)
  • 22311 — 792 cases, 7,417 people tested (Estimated population 16,898)
  • 22312 — 1,123 cases, 9,280 people tested (Estimated population 6,901)
  • 22314 — 496 cases, 10,744 people tested (Estimated population 47,826)

Photo via CDC/Unsplash

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In a year dominated by the coronavirus, Inova Alexandria Hospital was named the overall business of the year in the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’s annual Best In Business Awards.

The chamber’s annual event, now in its 27th year, was held virtually over the course of eight hours on Friday, Oct. 1. Nominees for the awards rotated into the United Way building in Old Town to receive their awards, which were live streamed on Facebook.

Dr. Tammy Mann, President & CEO of The Campagna Center, was also named the 2020 Business Leader of the Year.

The following awards were presented:

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Details have emerged regarding a shootout in the West End on Sept. 13.

At around 5 p.m., Alexandria Police received several calls reporting 10-15 gunshots fired in the 3100 block of S. 28th Street near Ft. Ward Park. Callers told police that a man in a black Mercedes Benz was shooting a gun while driving from S. 28th Street onto N. Hampton Drive, according to a search warrant affidavit.

“One of the callers told police that he had just been shot at the intersection of N. Hampton Drive and N. Van Dorn Street while operating his vehicle,” notes the affidavit.

The 33-year-old man was shot in the stomach and was later released from the hospital.

Two adult males have been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.

Bullets hit an apartment building in the 4700 block of West Braddock Road, and a responding officer “observed a Black Male suspect holding a dark colored semi-automatic handgun and pointing it in the direction of King St.,” according to an affidavit.

One of the witnesses identified 19-year-old Terrell Talley in a police lineup, and he was later arrested and charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling and discharging a firearm in a public place. Talley is being held without bond. Police also arrested 18-year-old Adham Heiba and charged him for the same offenses.

A witness at the scene was about to take his daughter to Fort Ward Park, and was in the garage of his apartment complex near Ford Road and N. Hampton Drive when he heard four gunshots, according to police. Then, while driving his daughter to the park he saw a gunfight between a black sedan and a light-colored sedan near Braddock Road and N. Hampton Drive. The man told police that the black sedan was swerving in traffic while shots were being fired.

Officers found a victim and his girlfriend at West Braddock Road and N. Van Dorn Street. The man was bleeding from the head, and his girlfriend reported to police that they were driving their Hyundai Elantra eastbound on W. Braddock Road when “a car pulled up and began shooting at them from the left lane,” according to an affidavit.

Witnesses told police that an older model black Mercedes, a blue jeep, a maroon Lincoln sedan and white Volkswagen Jetta were involved. The driver of the Jetta is described as a teenage Black male with faded black hair on the sides and twists on top. The owner of the maroon Lincoln later called police and reported that her car was involved in a shooting and had “multiple bullet holes,” according to the affidavit. The car was impounded.

There have been an increasing number of shootings in Alexandria in recent months. Police are expected to provide an update this week on Part I crime a well as on the recent spat of evening shootings.

Map via Google Maps

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The Alexandria City Council on Saturday passed an ordinance requiring everyone in the city to wear a face mask in public.

The measure passed 5-2, and a $100 civil penalty for not wearing a mask was removed from the ordinance before passage after it was universally agreed at the meeting by council and city staff that it will not be enforceable. The city manager must now designate city staff to hand out masks and citations to lawbreakers.

The ordinance will go into effect on October 1 and expire when Alexandria’s local emergency declaration ends.

“I think it’s good in the sense that it signals our intent to the community,” City Councilman Mo Seifeldein said. “I did not think this is actually going to be enforced at all, but there there are many laws or ordinances that have binds that are not enforced because we use our discretion and common sense in doing them.”

City Councilman Canek Aguirre and Councilwoman Del Pepper voted against the mask ordinance. Aguirre said that the matter was never brought forward to council by The Partnership For A Healthier Alexandria, the Public Health Advisory Commission, Neighborhood Health or the Inova hospital system.

“I’m in opposition to this,” Aguirre said. “I strongly feel that an ordinance is not the way to go, especially when there’s absolutely no way to enforce this.”

A number of city residents spoke against the ordinance.

“I come to you as someone who’s already been physically assaulted by two men for requiring them wearing face masks in my business,” said Alan Pounders, who runs a restaurant along the waterfront. “Myself and my staff, we’ve been verbally assaulted over this on almost a daily basis.”

There are exceptions. Children under the age of 10 will not be required to wear a mask, nor will people with disabilities that can’t wear them for health reasons and athletes falling within the governor’s executive order on COVID-19 restrictions.

There are 62 COVID-related fatalities and there are now or have been 3,613 cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

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