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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.

Vaccine update

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.

There are still 34,954 unvaccinated residents, and the Alexandria Health Department says they account for a majority of new cases.

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

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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.

Vaccine update

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.

The City recently announced a number of upcoming vaccine clinics for residents, including children ages 5-11. Booster shots are also available for residents 18 and older.

There are still 36,458 unvaccinated residents, and AHD says they account for a majority of new cases.

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

Via CDC/Unsplash

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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.

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

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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.

 

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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.”

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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.”

Vaccine Update

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

Demographics

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

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Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson has asked City staff to prepare a revised face mask ordinance since news broke that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising that anyone who is fully vaccinated no longer needs to wear them.

“Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues,” the CDC said Tuesday. “For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (more than) 2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or (more than) 2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen).”

Wilson, who has been fully vaccinated, said that the city’s current face mask regulation will continue as-is until the Alexandria Health Department  gives the all-clear from the governor’s recommendation. Wilson added that the city has asked when Governor Ralph Northam will make the announcement, but did not yet receive a response.

“I have asked our staff to prepare a revised ordinance incorporating the new guidance,” Wilson said. “But we also will await the governor’s action since they basically took our local ordinance and applied it statewide.”

Face coverings have been mandatory in public in Virginia since May 29, with exceptions such as while dining, exercising, or has a health condition that makes wearing a face mask unsafe.

Wilson said he will continue to wear face masks until the governor makes his recommendation.

“I still wear masks when I’m around people outside my family,” he said.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria health director reflects on sudden retirement, tenure with city — “When Dr. Stephen Haering, director of the Alexandria Health Department for the past 11 years, unexpectedly announced his retirement on April 9, he did so for what he called ‘deeply personal’ reasons. Haering, whose retirement was effective immediately according to a city news release, told the Times in an interview that his departure was ‘not associated with the pandemic response.'” [Alex Times]

Vaccination drive brings a dose of hope for restaurant workers — “More than 1,000 restaurant and small business employees have filed through the doors of the old Fireflies restaurant over the past few weeks with the same purpose: receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. The location’s current vacancy made this the perfect site to administer such a large number of shots, Bill Blackburn, restaurateur and co-owner of Homegrown Restaurant Group, said. Blackburn joined forces with community organizer Charlotte Hall and Scott Shaw of Alexandria Restaurant Partners – who donated the space – to orchestrate the Alexandria Restaurant Drive whereby restaurant workers could receive vaccinations in a streamlined way.” [Alex Times]

Bren Mar Park demolition project to begin — “Demolition work will begin at Bren Mar Park on Collier Lane and Edsall Road in Alexandria, Virginia, as the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) removes a home on the property.” [Fairfax County]

Reimagined ‘Taste Of Old Town North’ to be held over 2 months — “The Reimagined Taste of Old Town North will start on April 21 and will continue through June 21. During the two-month period, residents can purchase a Taste Passport for $10 to use at participating businesses. These businesses will offer discounts to Passport holders.” [Patch]

Today’s weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). High 63F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph… A few clouds from time to time (in the evening). Low 44F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Taekwondo instructors and camp counselors — “Our growing company is currently seeking motivated and enthusiastic individuals who are GREAT with people to join our team at multiple locations. Our programs include martial arts classes for all ages, as well as After-school & Summer Camp programs for children 6-12 years old. Work hours tend to fall in the afternoons, evenings and Saturday mornings. This is a part-time position that can lead to a full-time position with excellent opportunity for advancement.” [Indeed]

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Following new concerns about potential side effects, Alexandria and statewide health administrations are pausing all planned Johnson & Johnson vaccinations.

The news comes after the CDC and the FDA released a recommendation to stop using the vaccine after six patients reportedly developed a rare and severe type of blood clot.

According to the Alexandria Health Department:

Based on federal and state guidance, Alexandria Health Department and other vaccinating providers in Virginia are pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines immediately. Individuals with existing appointments will be contacted to either reschedule their appointment or receive a vaccine from a different manufacturer, based on available supplies. Updates will be shared as they become available.

The city recently moved into Phase 2 of vaccination efforts and aims to vaccinate at least 80% of the city’s adult population. Currently 20% (30,975 residents) are fully vaccinated and 1/3 are partially vaccinated (53,757 residents).

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Alexandria will get 11,110 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week, according to the Alexandria Health Department.

“This does not include additional vaccine supplies from federal programs provided directly to participating pharmacies and Alexandria’s federally qualified health center, Neighborhood Health,” according to AHD.

Residents are encouraged to pre-register with the city to get on the vaccine waitlist at alexandriava.gov/Vaccines or call 703-746-4988 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To date, 130 city residents have died of COVID-19, and 11,277 have contracted the virus, according to the Virginia Department of Health. That’s 200 more cases since this time last week, and the city’s seven-day moving average is now 33.

Across Virginia, there have been 10,360 deaths and there are or have been 635,552 cases of the virus. There have also been 6.7 million PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 6.1%.

Vaccine Update

According to VDH, 51,948 residents have gotten at least one shot and 29,412 residents have been fully vaccinated. There are now about 20,000 residents on the waiting list.

White residents far outpace other races in the city for first doses and full vaccinations.

  • White — 14,342 first doses, 9,727 fully vaccinated
  • Latino — 5,438 first doses, 2,741 fully vaccinated
  • Black — 3,243 first doses, 2,001 fully vaccinated
  • Other — 2,784 first doses, 1,866 fully vaccinated
  • Asian of Pacific Islander — 1,206 first doses, 659 fully vaccinated
  • Native American — 157 first doses, 73 fully vaccinated

Women have received 29,928 first doses and 15,080 have gotten their second shot, while 21,966 men have received their first doses and 11,941 have been fully vaccinated.The following age groups received their vaccinations:

  • 80+    — 2,967 got one dose, 2,392 fully vaccinated
  • 70-79 — 6,795 got one dose, 5,490 fully vaccinated
  • 60-69 — 8,916 got one dose, 5,840 fully vaccinated
  • 50-59 — 8,410 got one dose, 4,099 fully vaccinated
  • 40-49 — 8,686 got one dose, 4,245 fully vaccinated
  • 30-39 — 10,476 got one dose, 4,888 fully vaccinated
  • 20-29 — 4,999 got one dose, 2,262 fully vaccinated
  • 10-19  — 778 got one dose, 224 fully vaccinated
  • 0-9     — No Vaccines distributed

Demographics

There are or have been 5,839 women (with 62 deaths) and 5,383 men (with 68 deaths) in Alexandria with the virus. The only age groups that have not experienced a death are children and teenagers.

  • 80+    — 54 deaths, 272 cases
  • 70-79 — 33 deaths, 356 cases
  • 60-69 — 20 deaths, 845 cases
  • 50-59 — 15 deaths, 1,342 cases
  • 40-49 — Four deaths, 1,884 cases
  • 30-39 — Three deaths, 2,603 cases
  • 20-29 — One death, 2,287 cases
  • 10-19  — Zero deaths, 845 cases
  • 0-9     — Zero deaths, 820 cases

Latino residents have the most infections with 3,703 reported cases (19 deaths), white residents with 2,950 cases (63 deaths), and Black residents with 2,403 cases (39 deaths). There are 562 cases with Asian or Pacific Islander residents (five deaths), 378 cases classified as “other” (two deaths) and 12 native American cases (no deaths).

Photo via ARHA

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