Alexandria, VA

A new free Friday food distribution at Casa Chirilagua in Arlandria has been set to help the community through most of the summer.

More than 1,000 boxes of fresh food from the Baltimore, Maryland-based Church of the Apostles in the City was given to residents, who lined up through the trails and around the football field at Four Mile Run Park.

“This is the first Friday that we’re doing this mass food distribution and it will continue for the next seven Fridays,” Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gómez Schellhaas told ALXnow.

Arlandria has some of the highest numbers of COVID-19, and is home to some of the city’s poorest residents.

Jay Baylor is the pastor at Church of the Apostles, and said that the church will deliver a truckload of food every week.

“When COVID hit, we upped our game and started delivering more food in our neighborhood in East Baltimore,” Baylor said. “Last week we brought 15 pallets down here to Casa Chirilagua and 10 pallets to Old Town Community Church.”

Arlandria resident Sophia Reyes had trouble carrying the 40 pounds of food home. Reyes, who lives with her daughter and granddaughter, said that the family has been dependent on weekly food distributions in the community.

“[My daughter] can’t work and it is very important for us to get this food,” Reyes said.

ALIVE! will also hold its next monthly food distribution on Saturday morning.

The “truck-to-trunk” food distribution will be held at ALIVE! from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the parking lots of Cora Kelly School and John Adams Elementary School. People who walk to the site are asked to observe social distancing.

Staff photos by James Cullum

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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.

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.

A huge thanks to city staff, Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, Mako Medical staff, and Virginia Army National…

Posted by Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

‪If you are planning to get tested for COVID-19 in Landmark drive-thru, please plan accordingly. It’s well organized. Great to see this many people interested in testing. ‬

Posted by Mo Seifeldein on Monday, May 25, 2020

Staff photos by James Cullum

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Casa Chirilagua and Neighborhood Health‘s efforts to increase the amount of COVID-19 testing in Arlandria have been rewarded by a $10,000 donation from AT&T split between the two nonprofits.

“At AT&T, we want to be there when our communities need us,” said Garrett McGuire, the AT&T regional director of external and legislative affairs, in a statement. “Chirilagua has faced many challenges during this pandemic, so we wanted to do what we could to help.”

Last Saturday, Neighborhood Health provided hundreds of free coronavirus tests outside Casa Chirilagua, and the nonprofit’s executive director said that the $5,000 donation came at a pivotal time.

“With this contribution, we were able to set up and administer testing and consultations at the Casa Chirilagua site,”Dr. Basim Khan said. “With this contribution, we were able to set up and administer testing and consultations at the Casa Chirilagua site. This additional testing is helping us identify and bring into care individuals who otherwise would have gone untested and unconnected to the care they need.”

Arlandria is also known as Chirilagua, after a municipality in El Salvador of the same name. The community, which is in the 22305 ZIP code, is heavily Hispanic and has 463 reported cases and an estimated population of 16,095. Hispanic residents make up 17% of the population and are leading with the highest number of cases in the city, with 783 reported cases, six deaths and 75 hospitalizations.

The actual number of cases in the community is unclear, since many residents live in packed housing and do not have health insurance and access to transportation.

Casa Chirilagua will use its $5,000 contribution to expand its outreach in Arlandria.

“AT&T’s response to the needs in the community brings a message of hope to those who have been terribly impacted by this crisis and ensures families have what they need to withstand this pandemic,” Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gómez Schellhaas said. “Together, we can get through this, and we are extremely grateful for AT&T’s support of the community and for leading the way to a better future!”

Staff photo by James Cullum

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With a line around the block, Casa Chirilagua and World Central Kitchen gave out 1,500 meals to families in Arlandria on Thursday afternoon.

Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow that there will be a new community food distribution next Thursday at Charles Houston Recreation Center. The food is being provided by Washington Street United Methodist Church, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and Royal Restaurant from 4 to 6 p.m.

Volunteers can sign up for the distribution here.

“If they decide this works and is a good need, they will do it bi-weekly,” Brunken told ALXnow.

In Arlandria, the food was provided by Taco Bamba in D.C., and community volunteers gave it out over the course of an hour. The meals were made of chicken, vegetables and rice. The residents also received bags of groceries from ALIVE!

Next week’s World Central Kitchen food distribution will be at William Ramsay Elementary School after 5 p.m.

Staff photos by James Cullum

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Morning Notes

Uncertainty Lingers for Furloughed Alexandrians — “When Joy Phansond was furloughed from her job as sales coordinator at the Holiday Inn in Old Town, the temporary layoff was initially supposed to last until April 5. Then it was extended to May 5. Then it was extended again until June 5.” [Gazette]

Cinema Del Ray Canceled Due to Coronavirus — “Due to COVID-19, we must ensure the safety of our fellow community members by canceling Cinema Del Ray 2020. We greatly appreciate the support Cinema Del Ray has been shown in the past. We will be back next year, better than ever!” [Facebook]

Old Town Spanish Restaurant ‘La Tasca’ Files for Bankruptcy — “In the past two years, La Tasca has closed two locations in Chinatown and Clarendon.” [Washington Business Journal]

Food Trucks Lift Spirits in Cameron Station — “Rothschild started reaching out to various food truck vendors on March 25, and shortly thereafter she landed her first truck to visit the neighborhood, at the corner of Cameron Station Boulevard and Harold Secord Street – barbecue purveyor Smoking Kow. And neighbors were ready for a feast.” [Gazette]

Tenants and Workers United Raises $16K for Arlandria Community — “Many of our members have had their work hours reduced or been laid off completely. For the undocumented community, there is no social safety net: no unemployment benefits and no stimulus check from the federal government.” [actblue.com]

Contest: Alexandria Living Magazine Gives Away $600 in Merchandise — “Along with KH Giving, we can finally announce the winner of this week’s Mission Masks giveaway! Dixie won $600 worth of prizes including $250 in gift cards from Sweet Fire Donna’s, $100 from Chadwicks and $100 from Bastille and more! These gift cards are all purchased from local restaurants as a way to support them.” [Facebook]

Photos: Meal Distribution at William Ramsey Elementary — “Enjoy these photos of ACPS meal distribution at William Ramsey Elementary School. Thank you to volunteer and photographer, Chris Castillo.” [Facebook]

How Funeral Homes and Cemeteries are Coping in Alexandria — “Some immediate families of the deceased elect to have ceremonies recorded or live streamed for extended family and friends who cannot be present. Others are opting to hold a memorial service at a later date, when larger groups may be able to congregate, rather than a funeral with restricted attendees now.” [Alex Times]

‘La Brocante’ and ‘Top It Off’ Open This Weekend in Del Ray — “La Brocante and Top It Off are now both open on the weekends only (including TODAY until 5 p.m.), with social distancing measures in place (extra sanitizing, limits on the number of people in the stores, and face masks).” [Facebook]

‘Pacers Running’ Donates Shoes to ‘Together We Bake’ — “Thank you @runpacers and @on_running for giving running shoes to our TWB family! We’re excited to break in our shoes.” [Facebook]

New Job: Member Marketing Manager — “We are looking for someone passionate and analytical who loves product marketing. The purpose of this role is to help drive many stakeholders across many departments to inspire members to act on our top opportunities. If you love coordinating complex marketing campaigns, then this job is for you.” [Indeed]

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The following Letter to the Editor was written by Adriana Gomez Schellhaas, executive director of Casa Chirilagua, a Christian nonprofit in the Chirilagua/Arlandria neighborhood that provides help for local low-income families. 

“When will we go back to normal?”

Like me, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question since this crisis started.

What was normal to you, pre-pandemic? For me, normal was spending time with friends and happily not social distancing, going to work without having to wear a mask and being able to work for eight+ hours a day because my toddler twins were spending the day with our lovely babysitter.

Before COVID-19, normal for many of our neighbors in Chirilagua was spending any free time working a second or third job to ensure bills were paid and food was on the table. Normal for many others was an accustomed reality of food insecurity, joblessness, and lack of medical care. The normalcy of the economic disparities that exist in this vibrant community where we, Casa Chirilagua, have spent the last 13 years building long-term relationships with neighbors has caused it to be one of the hardest hit areas of COVID-19 in Northern Virginia.

Since COVID-19, normal has turned upside down for Casa Chirilagua and our neighborhood. The squeals and excitement of our Kids Club students during the afternoons have been replaced by a donation pantry bursting at the seams with vital food and essential items for Casa families, thanks to the outpour of generosity from city residents and folks all the way from Rockville, Maryland.

Our parking lot is not filled with cars of dedicated volunteers coming to spend time to read and tutor students, but has been turned into a COVID-19 testing site thanks to our wonderful partnership with Neighborhood Health.

Our regular fundraising pattern for this time of year isn’t the normal lull we experience after Spring2ACTion but has changed drastically as we continue to see donation after donation from kind individuals, church partners, and organizations like the Del Ray Business Association and Hume Springs Civic Association, all wanting to support the mission of Casa Chirilagua and make sure Casa families have the necessary resources to survive this pandemic.

This is not normal. But what if it was?

What if this outpouring of generosity lasted all year round, year after year, ensuring that our most vulnerable neighbors in Arlandria have what they need? What if vital health screenings were readily available week after week to neighbors who could not afford them or do not have access to a doctor?

What would it look like to truly love our neighbor as ourselves?

This crisis has caused the “normal” negative issues which plague our community to rear their ugly heads even more. However, it has also resulted in generosity, camaraderie and empathy to shine ever so brightly. Business owner Jason Yates sent us a donation of 100 handmade masks. Sheriff Lawhorne and his deputies did not hesitate for one second when I asked for their assistance in directing traffic during our donation hours. City residents like Marcia Call organized her own donation drive, delivering to us the biggest haul of donations we have seen to date.

There are countless others, like Rosa Landeros, the parent liaison at Mount Vernon Community School, who said to me, “Anything this community needs, please call me.”

The ways that many in our city have loved our neighbors in Chirilagua during this crisis is emotionally overwhelming for me in a beautiful way. When this is over, my prayer is that these gestures of love and kindness will not cease but increase, making it the new normal for us and our city.

ALXnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor for consideration, please email it to [email protected] Letters may be edited for content and brevity, at our discretion.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) Alexandria is now accepting applications for $600 per month for three months of emergency rental assistance for residents affected by COVID-19 and who are living beneath the median household income.

The emergency funds have been made available via $13.9 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and will be provided to residents regardless of their citizenship status, according to the city. Additionally, the program flier has been translated into English, Spanish, Arabic, and Amharic.

Applications are being accepted through Alex311 through Friday, May 29. Residents can also call 703-746-4990 for a hard copy of the application. The first round of payments could be made immediately upon approval, according to the city’s housing director.

“Applications received after May 29 will be reviewed on a rolling basis contingent on funding availability,” notes a city release.

The funds will be available to households that do not exceed the following asset limits:

Household size  Asset Limits
 1-person household  $2,205
 2-person household  $2,520
 3-person household  $2,835
 4-person household  $3,150
 5-person household  $3,403
 6-person household  $3,655

There have been numerous cries for a moratorium on rents throughout the city, including in Arlandria and in the West End.

We are offering rental assistance to residents. See the qualifications here: https://www.alexandriava.gov/housing/info/default.aspx?id=115425

Posted by Mo Seifeldein on Thursday, May 21, 2020

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Morning Notes

Arlandria in Crisis Over COVID-19 Spread — “Azucena Esquival lives in a cramped apartment in the Arlandria neighborhood of Alexandria, where the problem of community spread isn’t just theoretical. The pandemic is in her household. Earlier this month, she tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Another adult in her household paid $300 to get a test, which was also positive. They are living with two people who have not been tested. None of them are currently working, and they have no source of income.” [Gazette]

Alexandria Unemployment Claims Spike — “As of the Times’ print deadline, Alexandria residents had filed 10,609 initial unemployment claims, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. Initial claims began pouring in throughout mid-March, climbing from 33 the week of March 14 to 797 the week of March 21.” [Alex Times]

Senior Shoppers Surprised with $100 Cash Visa Cards at Alexandria Safeway — “Shoppers at the Safeway in Alexandria on King Street were surprised this morning with $100 gift cards at checkout courtesy of PenFed Credit Union. In all, there were 100 cards disbursed to customers in addition to goodie bags containing face masks and hand sanitizers.” [Zebra]

‘The Dog Park’ Having Anniversary Sale — “10 years ago on May 15th, The Dog Park opened it’s doors! We had a 10 day celebration planned but due to the ongoing crisis we decided to postpone the event until our customers feel more comfortable leaving their homes. However we can still celebrate.🐾 On Friday, May 15th we will be having an Anniversary Sale. EVERYTHING (with the exception of can/kibble) is 10% OFF to honor our anniversary.” [Facebook]

Teacher Does Extra to Help Student Online — “Virtual High Five! Ms. Hall congratulates one of her kindergarten students during a 1:1 zoom session. Ms. Hall noticed during their synchronous math class yesterday that this student was struggling with a concept and scheduled an extra 1:1 zoom session to work through it.” [Facebook]

Here’s How to Thank Hospital Heroes — “We have been grateful for the outpouring of support our community has provided our healthcare heroes! We are sharing notes of gratitude sent for #InovaHeroes. If you would like to send a message to an Inova team member, send an email to…” [Facebook]

Pork Barrel BBQ Buys Fancy New Red Tent — “We have UPGRADED to a bigger and better tent! Pick up all your orders for Pork Barrel BBQ, Holy Cow Del Ray and The Sushi Bar at the BIG RED TENT from here on out!” [Facebook]

Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Auctions Gift Cards to Local Restaurants — “Click Below & Bid! And then…order some takeout for dinner to support THEM in this time of COVID (https://events.handbid.com/…/scholarship-fund-of-alex…/items). ALERT: Some Gift Cards are ALREADY SOLD through our Buy-it-Now Option. Get Bidding before it’s too late.” [Facebook]

Carpenter’s Shelter Honors Volunteer of the Week — “Our Volunteer of the Week, Angela of DC Metro Church, truly has a heart for the children of the shelter. For over 4 years, she participated weekly in Children’s Hour at the shelter, a program in which volunteers interacted with and entertained kids in shelter for an hour on weekday evenings. After the weekends, the children would be jumping out of their seats in anticipation of children’s hour with Angela every Monday! Even now, with our children’s hour program suspended due to COVID-19, she donates to help our families currently housed in a hotel. Thank you Angela for your huge heart and years of service to our families.” [Facebook]

New Job: WMATA Assistant Superintendent — “This is technical management, supervisory and administrative building and support equipment maintenance work. Employee in this job is responsible for assisting in the planning, scheduling, inspecting, managing, coordinating and establishing work priorities for major Plant Maintenance activities.” [Indeed]

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The following Letter to the Editor was written by John Liss, co-executive director of New Virginia Majority, a statewide racial justice and pro-democracy organization based in Arlandria.

Perhaps no greater community illustrates the tone-deaf nature of ignoring the most vulnerable communities than Arlandria/Chirilagua.

This Alexandria neighborhood is primarily Latino, and as of May 7, 55% of the 572 tests given were positive. The rate of infection in this community of 16,000 is equivalent to global hot spot areas such as Queens, New York, Wuhan, China and Milan, Italy. Only concerted government action will control this outbreak, save lives and prevent
even further community spread.

In Alexandria, 39% of positive cases of COVID-19 and 38% of COVID-19 hospitalizations are Hispanic/Latinx, yet they only comprise 17% of the population. Chirilagua, the heart of the Latinx community, is among the hardest hit, with at least 50 families suffering from the virus (as of the end of April). Many immigrants are uninsured, and without access to quality and affordable health care they may not obtain medical care.

We are calling on Governor Northam to provide at least 2,000 tests per week until we can begin to accurately assess and address the spread of the virus, housing solutions to safely isolate, as well as the medical needs of this neighborhood.

Before the governor considers reopening the state he needs to leave the governor’s mansion and actually see what is happening here. Without thousands of tests, access to isolated housing, and medical treatment, Chirilagua residents face more illness and for some, death.

Reopening does not mean there is no longer a threat of getting sick – it means that if you do become sick, our hospitals will be able to take care of you, if you have health insurance, of course. Many Virginians will not have the option for testing or treatment, as they are uninsured or underinsured, and will then have to make a choice on paying for a test or paying for necessary bills.

To add insult to injury, not only are underserved communities like Chirilagua being willfully ignored, according to yesterday’s article in The Atlantic, officials in Virginia are “blending the results of two different types of coronavirus test in order to report a more favorable result to the public.”

After public outcry, earlier today the state did disaggregate this data. However, earlier this week the state briefly stopped reporting out tests and positive results by ZIP code. This information is important to identify hot spots that need more testing, and helps to target coordinated housing and health services.

Data transparency, access to testing, isolated housing, and treatment for ALL Virginians are essential to ensuring that it is safe for us all. In short, sending some Virginians back to work before it is safe to do so is irresponsible, callous, and will lead to more illness and death.

ALXnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor for consideration, please email it to [email protected] Letters may be edited for content and brevity, at our discretion.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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The Arlandria-based New Virginia Majority on Thursday was joined by a coalition of advocacy groups from around the state in asking Gov. Ralph Northam to abandon his phased reopening plan for the entire state, not just Northern Virginia.

“Northern Virginia is not the only area in the state that should have a delayed opening,” said John Liss, the co-executive director of New Virginia Authority in a Zoom press conference. “This is no consolation for uninsured or underinsured Virginians, for those who have to choose between taking care of their health, paying their rent or putting food on the table.”

Liss was joined by the Arlington NAACP, CASA, Care in Action, the Fairfax NAACP, the Loudoun NAACP, the Prince William County NAACP, the Richmond for All, the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, and the Virginia Student Power Network.

Northam recently announced that the reopening of the state’s economy would be delayed in Northern Virginia until May 29 — two full weeks after the rest of the state opens. The governor made the decision after requesting a letter from regional leaders.

Northern Virginia has been a hotspot of the virus, with 1,349 cases in Alexandria and 32 fatalities. The city’s poorest neighborhoods have been affected dramatically, and the largest number of infections is among Hispanic residents, with 621 cases and at least four reported deaths. The area of the city with the leading number of cases is the 22305 ZIP code, which includes the Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Potomac West neighborhoods, and as of Tuesday had the largest number of reported cases at 393, with an estimated population of 16,095 residents. That’s an increase of 23 new cases over the last two days.

Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman said that a recent article by The Atlantic highlights inefficiencies within the state’s COVID-19 testing practices.

“We’re here today to state our opposition to the May 15 reopening in any part of Virginia, it will be devastating to the black, Latinx and immigrant communities, and ultimately every resident of the Commonwealth,” Perryman said. “We demand that careful reconsideration of any notion of reopening Virginia until streamlined aggressive testing and contact tracing operations are developed and in place so that new cases can be isolated. Furthermore, we demand an evidence-driven economic recovery plan rooted in public health, best practices that will protect all Virginia families and essential workers.”

Perryman added, “We need a coordinated response. We do not need each region to come to the governor and ask for a delay. If this many local governments have to come there, that means we have a problem that’s large scale and widespread. And what we are facing is going off a cliff by reopening too early.”

The groups also wrote a letter to the governor. The full letter is below the jump.

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Dr. Basim Khan and community health nonprofit Neighborhood Health have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic in Arlandria, the neighborhood with the highest number of positive tests.

Khan spoke to the City Council yesterday (Tuesday) about the progress, and challenges, for testing and providing healthcare options for Arlandria residents.

“It’s grown quite a bit, and we expect it will increase more,” Khan said. “We are testing every weekday in Arlandria. Our goal is to make it as quick as possible for patients.”

Khan said there are opportunities to isolate and reduce the spread of the virus, which he said has been heavily concentrated in Alexandria’s low-income communities, but that means being able to isolate and treat patients.

According to available information from the Virginia Department of Health, the city’s Hispanic population leads with positive cases at 553 and four reported deaths. As of yesterday, the area of the city with the leading number of cases is the 22305 ZIP code, which includes the Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Potomac West neighborhoods, and as of Tuesday had the largest number of reported cases at 370, with an estimated population of 16,095 residents.

“We’re trying to ramp up testing as aggressively as possible,” Khan said, “but we’re not just testing, we’re assuming responsibility [for the patients].  If we just tested them and said ‘bye’ that wouldn’t be a good service.”

Khan said Neighborhood Health is working to hire more doctors and practitioners. Meanwhile, Khan said that Neighborhood Health is stepping up in other ways, like repurposing staff to get food to patients or training staff to do contact tracing.

Khan said those aren’t the primary roles of Neighborhood Health, but in these circumstances, it’s all hands on deck.

Dr. Stephen Haering, Director of the Alexandria Health Department, said that he is hoping that as Virginia prepares to hire more contact tracers, they will hire some from Alexandria.

“I’m hoping to get contact tracers hired from Alexandria, not just because they know the languages like Spanish or Amharic, but they know the communities,” Haering said.

Councilman Canek Aguirre agreed that part of combating the virus in Arlandria is overcoming an English proficiency barrier.

Haering also said the Health Department has been asking those with coronavirus to do some of their own contact tracings, reaching out to people they may have come in contact with over the last few days because the current contact tracers are currently overwhelmed.

Aguirre also noted that when he travels around Chirilagua, nearly everyone he sees is wearing a mask, but walking near the waterfront in Old Town there are tons of people without masks. Councilwoman Amy Jackson attributed this in part to a lack of police officers or city officials present to encourage masks and social distancing.

“We need to see police officers on the streets, in Old Town,” Jackson said. “We need law enforcement, just a few, down there actually being present and accounted for — being there to help and assist. If we don’t have those people there to do that, we’re going to run out of time. It’s going to be summer, and it’s going to be a free for all.”

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Another Alexandria resident has died of COVID-19, and there are now 1305 cases, an increase of 35 cases since yesterday.

There are now 31 fatalities related to the virus, but the Virginia Department of Health did not update any of its demographic data for Alexandria and sex, age, racial and ethnic and ZIP code data.

The most recent fatality is the first since Saturday, when VDH revealed in its data that a woman in her 70s died from the virus.

According to available information, the city’s Hispanic population leads with positive cases at 553 and four reported deaths.

There are more than 500 new or probable cases in the city in the month of May alone. VDH also reported that there are 148 COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Alexandria, and that there have been 96 cases associated with 11 outbreaks in the city, and that 91 of those cases have been health care workers.

Nine of the outbreaks occurred at long-term care facilities, and 15 deaths have occurred at such facilities, although that number has not been updated since the city’s release on May 2. The other outbreaks occurred at a “congregate” setting and an educational setting.

It is not clear how many people have recovered from the virus, and an accurate count on the number of cases is difficult to maintain in Alexandria since the highest infection rates are in the city’s poorest areas.

VDH did not update ZIP code date on cases and tests today. As of yesterday, the area of the city with the leading number of cases is the 22305 ZIP code, which includes the Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Potomac West neighborhoods, and as of Tuesday had the largest number of reported cases at 370, with an estimated population of 16,095 residents.

Local groups are demanding that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam authorize supplying 10,000 testing kits to the Arlandria area, and providing housing for poor COVID-positive patients living in jam-packed housing.

People under the age of 50 have been getting infected in greater numbers, while there were relatively few new cases for residents above the age of 70. A large percentage of deaths have occurred at long-term care facilities, and there has been one death of a person in their 20s. There have been 13 reported deaths of residents in their 80s.

VDH also did not update the numbers of Alexandria females and males with the virus. As of yesterday there were 642 females with the virus (with 16 deaths and 66 hospitalizations) and 595 males (with 14 deaths and 75 hospitalizations) who tested positive for COVID-19 in the city. The sex of three cases was not reported.

VDH also did not update the daily age breakdown for new cases in Alexandria.

The age breakdown of deaths and new cases:

  • 80+     — 13 Deaths, 52 cases, 19 hospitalizations
  • 70-79 — Eight deaths, 70 cases, 28 hospitalizations
  • 60-69 — One death, 106 cases, 23 hospitalizations
  • 50-59 — Seven deaths, 157 cases, 29 hospitalizations
  • 40-49 — Zero deaths, 247 cases, 21 hospitalizations
  • 30-39 — Zero deaths, 300 cases, 18 hospitalizations
  • 20-29 — One death, 181 cases, four hospitalizations
  • 10-19  — Zero deaths, 75 cases, one hospitalization
  • 0-9     — Zero deaths, 51 cases, two hospitalizations

Statewide, there have been 927 reported deaths, which is an increase of 36 deaths since yesterday, and 864 of those deaths are confirmed to have been COVID-19-related, according to VDH. There are now 26,746 cases (25,431 confirmed, 1,315 probable) and 3,520 hospitalizations (including 22 probable cases). Additionally, 180,084 tests have been administered in Virginia.

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