Alexandria parents should consider breastfeeding and using cow’s milk for short periods during the nationwide baby formula shortage, according to the Alexandria Health Department (AHD).
Those were just a couple of the department’s recommendations since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recall of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas produced at the Abbott Nutrition factory in Sturgis, Michigan — the largest producer of infant formula in the country.
Four children got bacterial infections because of formula made at the Abbot plant and two children died. Now more than 40% of the country’s baby formula supply is now out of stock. The Abbot factory is now set to reopen in two weeks, and it will take up to two months for products to reach grocery store shelves around the country.
Many Alexandria parents have turned online to find baby formula, with one resident even creating the NOVA Baby Formula Finding Network Facebook group, which now has 2,200 members.
If no formula is available, the Alexandria Health Department recommends feeding your baby whole cow’s milk for short periods.
“If you are still pregnant but will deliver soon, please give extra consideration to breastfeeding,” AHD advised. “Most women can breastfeed, and you are likely to avoid the formula shortage altogether.”
AHD provided the following dos and don’ts if parents are struggling to find baby formula:
- Do contact your baby’s physician or healthcare provider with any questions, especially if your baby is on a restricted diet or has any medical conditions.
- Do call ahead to nearby stores to find the ones that have formula before you travel.
- Do check smaller markets and drug stores when big box stores and supermarkets are out.
- Do consider buying formula online if you can afford it, only from well-established distributors and pharmacies.
- Do buy only a 10-14-day supply each time. It appears unlikely that the supply is going to run out, and hoarding will only make shortages worse.
- Do consider alternate or store-brand formulas if your baby is not on a restricted diet and has no major health problems.
- Do check local social media groups for tips or help finding formula in your area.
- Do contact the Alexandria Health Department or the Alexandria WIC office at 703-746-4998 for recommendations or resources.
- Don’t purchase formula online from private vendors or auctions. You won’t know what you’re actually getting, and there is little or no control over pricing.
- Don’t purchase formula from foreign or overseas locations. These products will not be FDA cleared, and may contain contaminants or ingredients inappropriate for your baby.
- Don’t feed homemade formula from a recipe. Even if only safe ingredients are used, these formulas will not provide adequate nutrition.
- Don’t water down or dilute your existing formula as your baby will not get adequate nutrition.
- Don’t feed your baby any plant-based milks as they lack many key nutrients.
Inova has filed concept plans for the 10-acre site that will relocate the Alexandria hospital to the former Landmark Mall property and is expected to start construction in 2024.
Phase I of the campus construction proposal includes a 565,525-square-foot level 2 trauma hospital with below-grade and structured parking, a 107,239-square-foot cancer center and a 88,085-square-foot specialty care building, according to the development concept plan filed with the city last week. The existing parking garage will remain, adding 550 parking spaces for the campus to the additional 950 spaces to be constructed.
The construction timeline would start with the hospital in 2024, and the cancer center and specialty care center in 2026. Construction and opening for the campus is targeted for 2028.
The development concept plan states 1.66 acres of open space is required and is incorporated into the plan’s document.
Phase 2 includes the potential for hospital expansion, Inova spokesperson Tracy Connell said.
Inova Health System will host a virtual community meeting on Wednesday (March 30) at 6 p.m. about the development proposal for the new hospital campus. Representatives from Inova and their design consultants will present an overview of the proposed development and answer questions, according to Inova’s website.
When the city initially announced the relocation of the hospital from the Seminary Hill location, it said that it would expand to over 2,000 health care workers.
“The hospital would be one of only three Level II trauma centers in Northern Virginia, seven statewide, and 270 nationwide, providing 24-hour specialty services for brain injuries, complex fractures, and other trauma care,” the hospital system’s website states. “The addition of a medical office building would allow an estimated 50 specialty physicians to see patients on the same campus as the new hospital.”
The proposal lists the companies involved in the project as Urban, LTD, as the civil engineer, Gorove Slade as the traffic engineer, Ballinger as the architect, Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh as the attorney and Davis Utility Consulting, LLC, as the utility engineer.
With construction slated for later this year, the planned John Carlyle Center for Health and Wellness is looking for tenants.
The developer behind the 126,000-square-foot medical facility is starting to push out the word ahead of construction that space is available to lease. Cushman & Wakefield is handling the leasing of the medical offices and retail spaces.
“We are in active discussions with potential tenants including hospital systems, national and local specialty practice groups,” Cushman & Wakefield representative Lindsey Groom said.
The facilities are expected to begin construction at the end of the third quarter or beginning of the fourth quarter of this year but an exact date has not been determined as construction logistics planning and the permitting process continues. The project at 765 John Carlyle Street will also include a 268,000-square-foot senior living residence and four-level parking garage.
Groom said there is a lack of these type of medical office properties in Northern Virginia.
“With the average age of medical office buildings in the I-395 North submarket being 40+ years old, this brand new facility will help address this strain going forward and help meet the demand for specialty care by providing healthcare providers and their patients with access points and care delivery in communities that are currently underserved, as the area’s population continues to grow,” Groom said.
The project saw some bumps in January when the developer made changes to the approved design that city staff did not support.
After nearly two years of the pandemic in Alexandria, Mayor Justin Wilson says it is now time to turn the corner against COVID-19.
In his monthly newsletter, Wilson wrote that more than 80% of city residents have been vaccinated, more than a third have gotten booster shots and anyone can get a vaccine who wants one.
Wilson said that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s newest determination that the city’s transmission level is “Low” is not a reason to immediately get back to normal. The Virginia Department of Health didn’t go that far, and only upgraded the city’s transmission level from “High” to “Substantial.”
There have been 29,581 reported cases of Covid in the city and 183 deaths, according VDH. Numbers have dropped in the last several weeks, going from a record-setting 12,822 positive cases in January to 1,227 cases in February.
“It is now time to turn the corner,” Wilson wrote. “At a time where our community needed heroes, heroes have emerged from every corner of our City.”
Wilson added, “We have seen our brave healthcare workers and public health employees risk everything to keep our community safe. We have seen dedicated public servants ceaselessly serve our community, even at risk to themselves and their families. We have seen the essential workers keeping our supermarkets open, our restaurants functioning, our pharmacies and retailers available, our hospitals cleaned and our public transit running.”
Alexandria has seen nearly 30,000 residents contract Covid, while 184 residents have died so far and the city remains in a state of emergency until June 30.
Wilson will conduct his monthly virtual town hall meeting on Thursday (March 4) at 8 p.m.
Alexandria’s transmission rate remains “High” for the second week in a row, as the first case of the Omicron variant has been detected in Virginia, which just surpassed 1 million cases of COVID-19.
There have been 1,000,694 reported cases of COVID-19 in Virginia since the pandemic began in March 2020. There have also been 14,957 deaths statewide.
Additionally, the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant was reported on Dec. 9 in northwest Virginia by an adult resident who recently traveled domestically.
“We knew it was only a matter of time before we would record our first Omicron infection in the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver said in a statement. “Right now, the highly transmissible Delta variant is causing almost all cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. We have very effective vaccines that can interrupt the chain of transmission and reduce the odds that unpredictable mutations like the Delta and Omicron variants will emerge. Do your part. Get vaccinated if you are eligible. Get your booster shot if you’re eligible.”
Local COVID numbers
In Alexandria, there are now 15,300 reported cases of COVID-19, an increase of 273 cases since this time last week. The number of reported cases in a single day peaked at 50 on Dec. 12 — the highest since February 12, 2021, when 57 cases were reported.
The death toll in the city remains at 155.
There have also been 19 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools this month. There were 62 cases reported in ACPS in November.
Reported cases rose sharply at the end of November, pushing the city from a “Substantial” to “High” transmission rate. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 25.3, down from 36 last week. The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 5.1%, up from 4.3% last week.
About 53% of Alexandria’s 5-17-year-olds (9,444 people) have been fully vaccinated, according to VDH.
Additionally, 73% (94,847) of residents older than 18 are fully vaccinated, as are about 84% (16,206) of seniors. Additionally, 31,804 residents have gotten booster shots.
— Va Dept of Health (@VDHgov) December 10, 2021
As the city prepares for the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, Alexandria’s COVID-19 infections have continued a steady decline through the holidays.
The upcoming annual festivities were put on hold last year, and it usually bring thousands of visitors to Alexandria.
As of today (Monday, November 29), cases stands at 14,789, up 97 since this time last week. There death toll also remains at 154, according to the the Virginia Department of Health.
The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 7.8, down from 11.3 last week. The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is also down — now 2.7% versus 3.2% last week.
There have been 62 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools in November. There were 77 cases reported in ACPS in October.
Alexandria has experienced “Substantial” COVID-19 transmission since the week beginning October 17, before which the city 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.
About 38% of Alexandria’s 5-17-year-olds (6,735 people) have been fully vaccinated, according to VDH.
Additionally, 73% (94,720) of residents older than 18 are fully vaccinated, as are about 84% (16,221) of seniors. Additionally, 24,774 residents have gotten booster shots.
There has been a 155% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases reported in Alexandria this month versus July, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
As of August 24, there have been 521 new cases reported this month, a sharp uptick from the 204 new cases reported in July, which was a 343% increase over the 43 new cases in June. There has also been another death — the first since July 13 — and the death toll from the virus now stands at 142.
The city is now experiencing a “high” level of coronavirus transmission, whereas it was at “substantial” earlier this month.
Alexandria has a goal of fully vaccinating 110,000 residents, which is 80% of the population — a goal that the city says it has already reached.
So far, 84,957 residents have been fully vaccinated, and 98,681 residents have been partially vaccinated. Just over 62% of residents over the age of 18 have been vaccinated, and so have 77% of seniors.
Additionally, the Alexandria Health Department has already started administering third doses to moderately and severely immunocompromised residents.
The Alexandria City Council on Saturday unanimously voted on Saturday to align the city’s face mask ordinance with the state’s guidance.
That means that Governor Ralph Northam’s recent lifting of the mask mandate applies to vaccinated city residents, and that any additional changes his office makes will not need local approval.
“Any executive order issued by the governor regarding face coverings is the requirement that needs to be followed in Alexandria,” City Attorney Joanna Anderson said on Saturday.
Local businesses can determine whether they want to continue mask requirements, and masks will continue to be mandatory in K-12 schools.
“The state of emergency in Virginia will remain in place at least through June 30 to provide flexibility for local government and support ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts,” according to the governor’s office.
According to the city:
There are some instances when fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors, including on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Since vaccine clinics are considered health care settings, masks will be required by all patients, guests, volunteers, and staff, while inside and outside of vaccine sites. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors–including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment–must continue to wear masks unless they are fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance. The order also states that all K-12 students, teachers, staff and visitors must wear a mask over their nose and mouth while on school property, regardless of vaccination status.
There have been 11,799 cases of COVID-19, and the death toll is 135 in Alexandria. Approximately 40% of eligible Alexandrians have been fully vaccinated, according to the City.
The ribbon was cut at the Inova Cares Clinic for Women on Saturday, providing the West End with obstetrics and gynecological services.
The ribbon cutting was attended by a number of local politicians, including members of the General Assembly and Mayor Justin Wilson. Also unveiled was a new Inova Ewing Forensic Assessment and Consultation Teams department (FACT) to support domestic violence and assault victims.
“I think we know that on the West End of our city we are underserved, certainly, for obstetrics and gynecology services,” Wilson said. “I’m also excited about bringing this FACT program back to our city, getting these services back here.”
Both clinics will be located next to the current Inova Cares Clinic for Families and Inova Transitional Services at 4700 King Street.
“The Inova community is serving everyone regardless of their need, regardless of their ability to pay for their health care,” said Dr. J. Stephen Jones, CEO of the Inova health system. “These new facilities will provide access and a better relationship between our providers and our communities.”
About 40% of City residents have gotten their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and nearly 30% have been fully inoculated.
Alexandrians can walk in to get their COVID-19 vaccine, as the city expects 12,650 doses this week, including first and second doses, according to the Alexandria Health Department.
The city will receive 11,610 doses this week, not including additional vaccine doses federal programs provide directly to participating pharmacies and Alexandria’s federally qualified health center, Neighborhood Health.
“AHD administers vaccines at clinic events and allocates the remaining doses to private providers,” according to the city. “Appointments from AHD and private providers are listed on alexandriava.gov/Vaccines, with both scheduled and walk-in opportunities.”
According to VDH, 69,810 residents have gotten at least one shot and 46,508 residents have been fully vaccinated.
- White — 16,944 first doses, 12,009 fully vaccinated
- Latino — 8,286 first doses, 4,202 fully vaccinated
- Black — 4,079 first doses, 2,539 fully vaccinated
- Other — 3,414 first doses, 2,312 fully vaccinated
- Asian of Pacific Islander — 1,629 first doses, 901 fully vaccinated
- Native American — 265 first doses, 115 fully vaccinated
Women have received 47,663 first doses and 26,791 have gotten their second shot, while 39,629 men have received their first doses and 19,717 have been fully vaccinated.
The following age groups received their vaccinations:
- 80+ — 3,097 got one dose, 2,573 fully vaccinated
- 70-79 — 7,106 got one dose, 6,037 fully vaccinated
- 60-69 — 10,234 got one dose, 7,833 fully vaccinated
- 50-59 — 11,294 got one dose, 7,477 fully vaccinated
- 40-49 — 12,485 got one dose, 7,935 fully vaccinated
- 30-39 — 15,412 got one dose, 9,592 fully vaccinated
- 20-29 — 8,175 got one dose, 4,457 fully vaccinated
- 10-19 — 2,121d got one dose, 661 fully vaccinated
- 0-9 — No Vaccines distributed
No new deaths have been reported since last week, and the number of cases in the city now stands at 11,683, an increase of 113 cases since this time last week. The death toll stands at 133, and the city’s seven-day moving average is now 14.4, which is down from 15.6 from this time last week.
Across Virginia, there have been 10,807 deaths and there are or have been 661,925 cases of the virus. There have also been 7.1 million PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 4.6%.
There are or have been 6,037 women (with 62 deaths) and 5,595 men (with 71 deaths) in Alexandria with the virus. The only age groups that have not experienced a death are children and teenagers.
- 80+ — 54 deaths, 274 cases
- 70-79 — 33 deaths, 358 cases
- 60-69 — 22 deaths, 868 cases
- 50-59 — 15 deaths, 1,388 cases
- 40-49 — Four deaths, 1,932 cases
- 30-39 — Three deaths, 2,700 cases
- 20-29 — One death, 2,402 cases
- 10-19 — Zero deaths, 880 cases
- 0-9 — Zero deaths, 857 cases
Latino residents have the most infections with 3,816 reported cases (19 deaths), white residents with 3,050 cases (63 deaths), and Black residents with 2,516 cases (39 deaths). There are 576 cases with Asian or Pacific Islander residents (eight deaths), 388 cases classified as “other” (two deaths) and 14 native American cases (no deaths).
Photo via CDC/Unsplash