(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) The Alexandria City Council will consider adjusting the city’s face mask ordinance to evolve with Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order, which is continually being amended to loosen statewide coronavirus restrictions.

The ordinance states that all city residents under the age of five years old are required to wear face masks except while exercising, eating and drinking or if they have a verified health condition. The ordinance was approved last September and expires this September.

The amendment under consideration for Tuesday night means that the governor’s eventual lifting of a mask mandate will subsequently result in the city taking the same immediate action.

ALXnow first reported the city’s intention to amend the mask ordinance after the CDC issued its guidance last month that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues.

Northam also recently announced that, should COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, he would lift the following restrictions on May 15,

  • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 100 people for indoor settings and 250 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • Entertainment venues: Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity or 1,000 people, up from 30 percent capacity or 500 people. Outdoor venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity–up from 30 percent–with no specific cap on the number of attendees.
  • Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at indoor recreational sporting events will increase from 100 to 250 spectators or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase from 500 to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less.
  • Alcohol sales: Restaurants may return to selling alcohol after midnight, and dining room closures will no longer be required between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

There have been 134 COVID-19 deaths and 11,754 cases in Alexandria, according to the Virginia Department of Health. More than half of the city’s residents have gotten one shot of the vaccine (73,709 residents) and about 38% of city residents have been fully vaccinated (51,161 residents).

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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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Alexandria turned another corner in the fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday, as the city has moved into vaccination open scheduling.

“This is a big moment, as the days of long waiting lists for vaccinations are largely behind us,” Mayor Justin Wilson told ALXnow. “The next phase is a new challenge as we must work to bring doses to those who have not sought them and continue to spread the word that we have three very safe and effective vaccines that are available to Alexandria residents. This is how we get our residents and businesses back to normal.”

More than 108,000 residents have gotten shots — 42,094 fully vaccinated and 65,960 single doses administered, according to the Virginia Department of Health. It’s a far cry from the 25,000+ vaccine waitlist earlier this year, and means that residents can now choose vaccination appointment dates and locations to get inoculated without pre-registering.

“This milestone highlights the hard work by AHD and City staff, the dedication of Medical Reserve Corps and community volunteers, and the contribution of each Alexandrian who has received the vaccine to help end the pandemic,” AHD said in a release. “With the increase in COVID-19 variants and ongoing significant community transmission in Alexandria, streamlined vaccine appointment open scheduling will increase access to vaccination for all residents and essential workers.”

According to the Alexandria Health Department, residents and frontline essential workers who pre-registered for a vaccine with the city or the Virginia Department of Health, have been contacted for an appointment. The city also recently began re-administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was temporarily halted after reports of side effects.

The city has set a summer target of fully inoculating 80% of residents (106,000 people).

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, free and they can save your life,” AHD said. “When enough people get vaccinated, Alexandrians can get back to normal.”

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Three more Alexandria residents have died of COVID-19 since this time last week, as an emergency alert will go out Monday at 10 a.m. to notify anyone 16 and older that they are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Virginia will send alerts through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to participating wireless carriers, which then push the alerts to compatible mobile devices in the area,” according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

The city will receive more than 8,100 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week, according to the city. This doesn’t include doses that are being distributed to Neighborhood Health or pharmacies receiving doses from the federal government.

Residents eligible for Phases 1a, 1b, or 1c, who pre-registered before April 10, “should have received an invitation to schedule a vaccine appointment,” according to the city. “If you have not received an invitation to schedule, first check your spam folder. Please complete this form if you have not been contacted.”

According to the Alexandria Health Department:

  • COVID-19 vaccination providers cannot charge residents for the vaccine or for the balance of a vaccine bill not paid by insurance
  • Vaccine providers can not charge residents for administration fees or copays
  • Anyone who does not have health insurance can’t be denied for a vaccine
  • No additional medical services will be offered for anyone needing a vaccine

Across Virginia, there have been 10,595 deaths and there are or have been 647,111 cases of the virus. There have also been 6.8 million PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 6.1%.

Vaccine Update

According to VDH, 58,555 residents have gotten at least one shot and 29,412 residents have been fully vaccinated.

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

  • White — 15,487 first doses, 10,924 fully vaccinated
  • Latino — 6,284 first doses, 3,437 fully vaccinated
  • Black — 3,511 first doses, 2,258 fully vaccinated
  • Other — 3,018 first doses, 2,112 fully vaccinated
  • Asian of Pacific Islander — 1,368 first doses, 789 fully vaccinated
  • Native American — 187 first doses, 94 fully vaccinated

Women have received 33,475 first doses and 15,080 have gotten their second shot, while 25,080 men have received their first doses and 11,941 have been fully vaccinated.The following age groups received their vaccinations:

  • 80+    — 3,011 got one dose, 2,480 fully vaccinated
  • 70-79 — 6,893 got one dose, 5,716 fully vaccinated
  • 60-69 — 9,417 got one dose, 6,542 fully vaccinated
  • 50-59 — 9,550 got one dose, 5,313 fully vaccinated
  • 40-49 — 10,198 got one dose, 5,550 fully vaccinated
  • 30-39 — 12,459 got one dose, 6,540 fully vaccinated
  • 20-29 — 6,097 got one dose, 3,015 fully vaccinated
  • 10-19  — 1,022 got one dose, 315 fully vaccinated
  • 0-9     — No Vaccines distributed

Demographics

To date, 133 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 26.3, which is down from 33 this time last week.

The most recent fatalities were three men, two in their sixties and one man in his 80s.

There are or have been 5,942 women (with 62 deaths) and 5,484 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, 272 cases
  • 70-79 — 33 deaths, 359 cases
  • 60-69 — 22 deaths, 856 cases
  • 50-59 — 15 deaths, 1,367 cases
  • 40-49 — Four deaths, 1,916 cases
  • 30-39 — Three deaths, 2,649 cases
  • 20-29 — One death, 2,342 cases
  • 10-19  — Zero deaths, 860 cases
  • 0-9     — Zero deaths, 834 cases

Latino residents have the most infections with 3,747 reported cases (19 deaths), white residents with 3,001 cases (63 deaths), and Black residents with 2,453 cases (39 deaths). There are 567 cases with Asian or Pacific Islander residents (eight deaths), 379 cases classified as “other” (two deaths) and 13 native American cases (no deaths).

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It was another busy week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

This week, ALXnow profiled Mayor Justin Wilson and his opponent, former Mayor Allison Silberberg. The pair are facing off in the June 8 Democratic primary, and have vastly different ideas on city governance.

Alexandria Police released its 2020 crime data this week, revealing a 19% increase in Part 1 crime and 15% reduction in Nuisance crimes. ALXnow also reported a number of noteworthy crime stories, including the release of a video showing a chase suspect who died after his arrest in D.C. on April 12, and the indictment of a West End murder suspect.

This week also brought the unbelievable story of locals chasing down suspected shoplifters in Del Ray.

On the vaccine front, the Alexandria Health Department paused Johnson & Johnson vaccinations, following new concerns about potential side effects.

In school news, Alexandria City Public Schools will shift to three feet distancing in classrooms on April 26. Additionally, the School Board has started a conversation on reducing the number of members from nine to six.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. BREAKING: ‘Alexandria City High School’ chosen as replacement name for T.C. Williams High School
  2. JUST IN: Dr. Stephen Haering suddenly retires as director of Alexandria Health Department
  3. Southern Towers residents nervous as landlord steps up eviction proceedings
  4. Man stabbed at Old Town intersection
  5. NEW: Locals chase down suspected shoplifters in Del Ray
  6. JUST IN: T.C. Williams JV football team walks off field after alleged racial slur, spitting incident
  7. Man faces 10 years for DWI in horrific West End crash in Safeway parking lot
  8. Planning Commission approves controversial subdivision, plants potential loophole for future denial
  9. JUST IN: Video released of police arresting chase suspect who died in D.C.
  10. JUST IN: Six Alexandria Police officers put on administrative duties after chase suspect dies
  11. JUST IN: West End murder suspect faces life plus 13 years in prison

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via ACPS/Facebook

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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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After nearly 11 years as the Alexandria Health Department Director, Dr. Stephen Haering suddenly announced his retirement, effective immediately, on Friday.

Mayor Justin Wilson said he was shocked by the news.

“Dr. Haering has been essential to our efforts over the past year to address COVID,” Wilson told ALXnow. “His retirement is a shock and he leaves huge shoes to fill. For now, I am full of gratitude for his tireless service to our City.”

The city did not provide information on his next steps, and the reason for his departure was not made public.

City Councilman John Taylor Chapman said that Haering will be missed.

“Dr. Haering has been a tireless advocate for residents and businesses throughout the pandemic,” Chapman said. “His leadership will be missed.”

City Manager Mark Jinks commended Haering for his work.

“Dr. Haering’s leadership was key to Alexandria’s ability to respond quickly and nimbly to the COVID-19 pandemic in our community,” Jinks said in a statement. “His almost 11 years of service to our community have made Alexandria safer, healthier and more resilient. We wish him well in his retirement.”

According to the City, Dr. Anne Gaddy, the AHD deputy director, has been named as Acting Health Director by the Virginia Department of Health, effective immediately. Gaddy was presiouly tasked with planning, organizing and administering Alexandria’s vaccination processes.

Sheriff Dana Lawhorne said he enjoyed working with Haering.

“I’m forever grateful to him for his tireless efforts to accelerate vaccinations for my staff,” Lawhorne said. “You always knew that when the going got tough, he got going. He never let you down. I’m going to miss him.”

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It was a historic week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

President Joe Biden visited the Neighborhood Health COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary on Tuesday, just before announcing that the date for adults to get access to the vaccine has been moved to April 19.

The Alexandria School Board, on Thursday night, voted to change the name of T.C. Williams High School to Alexandria City High School.

The School Board also voted unanimously to reduce the distancing requirement in ACPS schools from six feet to three feet, all the while community support is growing to expand in-person instruction to more than the current two days a week. Summer school is currently planned to begin in July and will be four days a week, and ACPS is planning on reopening to five days a week at the beginning of the next school year.

Our top story was on the T.C. Williams Titans junior varsity football team walking off the field after an incident with the Robinson Rams on Monday night. Robinson Rams players allegedly spit at and made a racial slur against T.C. players. The incident has prompted Fairfax County Public Schools to announce a “stand-down” meeting for all athletic teams and coaches to discuss “appropriate behaviors required to play sports in FCPS.”

Additionally, six Alexandria Police officers were placed on administrative duties after a chase suspect died while in custody. Police responded to a call for shots fired in the 800 block of North Patrick Street, and multiple buildings and vehicles were struck. The driver of the vehicle crashed on Interstate 295, and then jumped over an overpass barrier and fell more than 20 feet and was tased by police, arrested and later died.

Important Stories

Top Stories

  1. JUST IN: T.C. Williams JV football team walks off field after alleged racial slur, spitting incident
  2. BREAKING: Shots fired in Old Town leads to chase that ends in D.C.
  3. JUST IN: President Biden set to visit Alexandria vaccination site Tuesday
  4. National Park Service announces George Washington Parkway to go on a diet
  5. Neighborhood Health vaccinating thousands at sites in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County
  6. JUST IN: Woman arrested after fight on King Street Metro station platform
  7. UPDATE: $8,500 reported stolen in terrifying West End robbery
  8. JUST IN: President Biden visits COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary
  9. COVID-19 update: Alexandria moves into vaccination phase 1C
  10. JUST IN: Six Alexandria Police officers put on administrative duties after chase suspect dies
  11. Fairfax County man arrested for three burglaries, released three days later

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via T.C. Williams Football Boosters/Facebook

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