Newsletter

Alexandria’s seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now the lowest in Virginia.

The percentage was 3.1%, as of Tuesday, September 7, even though the city is experiencing a high level of transmission for the third straight week, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Mayor Justin Wilson says that the low seven-day average is a good sign.

“We know what works: vax + masks indoors,” Wilson tweeted. “Keep it up.”

There are now 12,994 reported cases in the city since the first case was reported in March 2020. That’s an increase of 177 cases since this time last week. There have also been 53 cases reported in Alexandria City Public Schools since last month. The death toll stands at 142.

There have been 209,668 Polymer Chain Reaction (PCR) tests administered in the city; 25,026 antigen tests and 7,937 antibody tests.

Below are statistics for neighboring jurisdictions:

  • Arlington County has 16,872 cases, 261 deaths and a 3.1% seven-day positivity rate
  • Fairfax County has 85,151 cases, 1,167 deaths and a 4.5% seven-day positivity rate
  • Loudoun County has 30,903 cases, 285 deaths and a 5.4% seven-day positivity rate

VDH says that unvaccinated Virginians are making up 99.6% of new cases.

So far, 87,136 residents have been fully vaccinated, and 100,390 residents have been partially vaccinated. Nearly 64% of residents over the age of 18 have been vaccinated, and so have nearly 78% of seniors.

Public events haven’t stopped. On Sunday, the Old Town Festival of Speed & Style brought thousands of visitors to King Street over the weekend, and on Monday a vast majority of elected officials and candidates converged for the Alexandria Democratic Committee’s annual Labor Day Picnic, which included an appearance by gubernatorial candidate, former Governor Terry McAuliffe.

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

https://twitter.com/TerryMcAuliffe/status/1434946273879154692

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This coming Monday, September 6, is Labor Day and a number of city government offices and facilities will be closed.

The biggest event of the three-day weekend will be the day before Labor Day — Sunday, September 5. The annual Old Town Festival of Speed & Style will bring crowds to marvel at classic and beautiful rides along King Street.

City services will shift to a holiday schedule the next day. Trash collection will move to Tuesday, parking enforcement at metered spaces will be lifted, and it will be your last chance to enjoy public pools.

The city has listed the following closures and other changes planned for the week of September 6.

Resource Recovery: Residential refuse and recycling will not be collected September 6. Collection services will be delayed by one day during the week of September 6: Monday’s collection will be on Tuesday; Tuesday’s collection, on Wednesday; Wednesday’s collection, on Thursday; and Thursday’s collection, on Friday. Visit Resource Recovery for more information. The Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Center (3224 Colvin St.) will be closed Monday, September 6.

Animal Shelter: The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (4101 Eisenhower Ave.) will be open weekend hours by appointment on September 6. To make an appointment, visit AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment or call 703.746.4774. For an animal emergency, call 703.746.4444.

Health Facilities: The Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St.), the Flora Krause Casey Health Center (1200 N. Howard St.) and the Teen Wellness Center at Alexandria City High School (3329 King St.) will be closed September 6.

Historic Alexandria: On September 6, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (105-107 S. Fairfax St.) will be open regular hours, from 1 to 5 p.m. All other City museums will be closed. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/Historic and follow Historic Alexandria on social media or call 703.746.4554.

Hotlines: All emergency hotlines operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including the child protective services hotline at 703.746.5800; the domestic violence hotline at 703.746.4911; the emergency services for mental health or substance abuse crisis hotline at 703.746.3401; the adult protective services hotline at 703.746.5778; and the sexual assault hotline at 703.683.7273.

Libraries: All Alexandria Library branches and the Alexandria Law Library (520 King St.) will be closed September 6. Visit the Alexandria Library website for more information.

Parking: On September 6, the Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces, residential permit parking districts and other areas with posted parking time limits. This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces and does not permit parking in any location normally prohibited (for example, no-parking zones, loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities). Temporary no-parking signs will be enforced September 6.

Impound Lot: The City’s Impound Facility (5249 Eisenhower Ave.) will be closed September 6. The Impound Facility is closed every Saturday and Sunday and on all observed City holidays. Fees will continue to accrue on Saturdays and Sundays but not on holidays.

Recreation and Arts Centers: On September 6, the Charles Houston (901 Wythe Street) and Patrick Henry (4653 Taney Ave.) recreation centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility (3210 King St.) and all other facilities will be closed. Visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation for more information.

Outdoor Pools: Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron St.) and Warwick Pool (3301 Landover St.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. September 6. Visit alexandriav.gov/Aquatics for more information.

Schools: All Alexandria City Public Schools and administrative offices will be closed Friday, September 3 and Monday, September 6.

Courts: On September 6, the Alexandria Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Alexandria Circuit Court, Alexandria General District Court, Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and Court Service Unit (520 King St.) will be closed.

Department of Motor Vehicles: All Virginia DMV locations in Northern Virginia (including 2681 Mill Rd.) are open by appointment only. Many DMV services are available either online or by visiting dmvNOW.com/appt to schedule an appointment. Walk-in services are not available at this time.

Transit:  On September 6, the Alexandria Transit Company’s fare-free DASH bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule. The free King Street Trolley will operate from King Street Metro to Alexandria City Hall/Market Square, with service every 15 minutes, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit dashbus.com for more information.

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With COVID-19 numbers sharply rising in Alexandria, the city is advising parents to expect cases at schools and daycares.

So far this month, 14 cases have been reported in Alexandria City Public Schools.

In the event of an outbreak, the Alexandria Health Department will call or email family members of close contacts to see whether children are having any COVID-19 symptoms, how to quarantine and other next steps.

“Prepare in advance by learning what to expect,” the city said in a release. “Your child’s school or daycare should send a general notification letter indicating that there was an exposure and they will work with the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) to identify close contacts.”

Alexandria saw a 235% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in August over July, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The city entered into a “high” level of transmission on August 15, up from “substantial” in July and “moderate” and “low” transmission levels in June and May. Unvaccinated residents account for the jump in the numbers, according to VDH.

There has been a recent dip in the average of new cases, as much higher case counts were reported last week.

As of August 31, there have been 12,817 reported cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 163 cases since this time last week. The death toll from the virus stands at 142.

Alexandria has a goal of fully vaccinating 110,000 residents — 80% of the population — a goal that the city says it has already reached.

So far, 86,154 residents have been fully vaccinated, and 99,605 residents have been partially vaccinated. Just over 63% of residents over the age of 18 have been vaccinated, and so have 78% of seniors.

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

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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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Alexandria’s COVID transmission levels have been upped from “substantial” to “high”, and the city’s Health Department is recommending that severely immunocompromised residents get a third vaccine shot.

Alexandria now has 12,490 cases of COVID-19 reported since the first case in March 2020. That’s an increase of 40 reported cases since Monday.

“The CDC now recommends a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals,” the Alexandria Health Department said in a release. “The decision follows emergency use authorization by the FDA and a unanimous recommendation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.”

AHD also said that a third dose is not recommended for the general public.

According to AHD:

Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised include those who have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood, received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome), advanced or untreated HIV infection, or active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

VDH says unvaccinated Virginians make up most new cases. Find more about vaccine providers here.

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A vaccine mandate for Alexandria government employees will be ready for implementation by this fall, according to Mayor Justin Wilson.

“The policy is being finalized in place right now and should be in place in the September/October timeframe,” Wilson told ALXnow. “This will likely not come before Council as this is in the City Manager’s purview. Although he is of course keeping us up to date.”

The city recently notified employees that it is prepping the vaccine requirement, as VDH says unvaccinated Virginians are making up a vast majority of new cases. Alexandria City Public Schools will also determine this week if it will require vaccinations from staff.

Alexandria is experiencing “substantial” coronavirus transmission, according to the Virginia Department of Health. This month, the city has experienced a 55% jump in COVID cases over July, with 317 new cases reported. There were 204 new cases reported in July, which was a 343% increase over the 43 new cases in June.

There are now 12,450 reported cases in Alexandria since the first case was reported in March 2020. Deaths have remained at 141 since last month. On August 12, there were 33 new cases reported — the most in more than three months.

This month, Richmond became the first city in Virginia to require its employees get vaccinated.  In July, Fairfax County passed a measure requiring all county staff to get vaccinated. Next door in Washington, D.C., government employees are required to get vaccinated by August 19.

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, 83,769 residents have been fully vaccinated, and 97,270 residents have been partially vaccinated. Just over 62% of residents over the age of 18 have been vaccinated, and so have 77% of seniors.

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

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Where you live in Alexandria can determine your life expectancy, and a newly released City plan is focusing on removing the effects of decades of discriminatory practices.

The Community Health Improvement Plan 2025 (CHIP) is a blueprint to address poverty, mental health, and housing policies and systems in the city. For instance, the average life expectancy in the city’s heavily Hispanic Arlandria neighborhood is 78, while more affluent areas like Old Town have a life expectancy of 87.

“These differences are a result of decades of discriminatory policies and systems that are now built into City processes, our environment, and how community and organizational decisions are made,” notes the CHIP. ” The global pandemic, economic crisis, and racial and social injustice in 2020 only exacerbated these differences in health.”

Hundreds of city residents participated in the creation of the document, which includes numerous priorities highlighted in the 2019 Community Health Assessment, including housing, mental health, and poverty as areas needing improvement.

“Each priority area contains strategies, tactics, timelines, progress measures and tactic owners (the responsible organization or institution) to ensure accountability and effective implementation,” the city said.

Each priority area has an organization that has agreed to take it on.

As Alexandria contends with an affordable housing crisis, one goal would add affordable housing units to new city government and recreational buildings. The city’s Office of Housing is partnering with the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership to devise strategies, which include the conversion of hotels into affordable housing apartment complexes.

The development of the CHIP coincided with the revision of the “Alexandria City Public Schools’ 2025 Strategic Plan” and the “Children and Youth Master Plan 2025, and the city says a “Unified Planning Team” will work toward community engagement opportunities and shared outcomes.

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Developments in Beauregard, via City of Alexandria

With the city hoping Landmark development and the West End Transitway will help turn the Van Dorn corridor into a new commercial hub, developers near the Mark Center are hoping to cash in.

According to Maya Contreras, principal planner for Alexandria, plans are in the works to add new density to a stormwater pond near the Hilton (5000 Seminary Road) and to a site originally planned to be an office space, but will likely become something else.

“The request is for amendments to [Coordinated Development District] (CDD)#4 that would add density to both the Hilton site (5000 Seminary Road) and [Institute for Defense Analyses] (IDA) site (4880 Mark Center Drive) and add additional uses to the CDD, as the ownership of 4880 Mark Center Drive is interested in uses at their site not currently permitted,” Contreras said. “The applicant also requests a Master Plan Amendment (MPA) in connection with the project and a subdivision to allow creation of a new parcel to be carved out of the Hilton site.”

Contreras said in a meeting of the Beauregard Design Advisory Committee that Hilton is looking to develop the pond into a pad site — a parcel of land suitable for development — though Hilton is planning to sell the location rather than develop it for a hotel use.

Similarly, Contreras said the IDA site next door to the new Alexandria Health Department building could be developed as something other than office space.

“A pad site is a site where a building can be constructed,” Contreras said. “Right now IDA pad site is a legal lot: there could be a building built there. Right now on the Hilton site is where their stormwater pond is. There was no anticipation of a building going there, a lot has to be created for something to go there.”

As part of the new development, Contreras said the city hopes to make the Winkler Botanical Preserve more accessible to the public. The park featuring nature trails and a waterfall is tucked away and somewhat inaccessible at the moment.

The new development comes at the city is working through plans to establish some form of bus-rapid transit as the West End Transitway. The Transitway likely won’t have dedicated lanes throughout the corridor, but Contreras said the city is looking into priority signaling and other options to help increase reliability.

But some on the committee shared concerns that the planned consolidation of bus stops in Alexandria may have hurt the very area the city is trying to make more transit accessible.

“DASH has decreased its service at Seminary and Beauregard,” said Fatimah Mateen, a member of the Beauregard Design Advisory Committee. “There used to be the AT-9, but  that’s been discontinued. And I’ve heard Metrobus is not going to bring back the 16-L. We have a lot of housing coming into that particular area but we’re losing [bus] service, and I think that’s going to be a big problem.”

Contreras said that some of the stops have been consolidated, but city planners are working with the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services to keep them appraised of how much residential is expected to develop in the area down the road.

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Alexandria has seen a jump in its COVID-19 numbers this month, as the state health department says unvaccinated Virginians are making up 99.6% of new cases.

The Virginia Department of Health, on Friday, revealed the information in a new dashboard that launched Friday. Alexandria has suffered 11,921 reported cases, 140 deaths and 572 hospitalizations since the onset of the pandemic. The last death was reported on July 1, there were two deaths in June and four deaths in May.

There have been 39 new cases reported so far this month in the city, and 13 cases were reported on July 9. That was the biggest single-day jump since May 20, when 18 new cases were reported. There were only 43 new cases in June, which was a 77% drop from the 193 new cases reported in May.

So far, 76,697 residents have been fully vaccinated and 91,724 residents have been partially vaccinated.

Alexandria has a goal of fully vaccinating 110,000 residents, which is 80% of the population, and the Alexandria Health Department and mayor believe the city has already reached that goal. They say that city’s vaccination numbers don’t reflect shots given to residents outside of the city, like in Maryland or D.C.

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

Courtesy Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

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Alexandria’s history with slavery makes Juneteenth a particularly important holiday.

June 19 recognizes the emancipation of slaves in the United States, and the date is expected to soon be a federal holiday, even though Alexandria has recognized it since 2019.

But because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the City is also recognizing Friday, June 18, as a holiday.

“We should all be looking at ways that we can help our community, especially in the context of a pandemic which has particularly ravaged communities of color,” said Audrey David, executive director of the Alexandria City Black History Museum, in a recent blog post, “Start by exploring the Black History Museum’s Preserving Their Names online only exhibition, released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, which features images of objects and digital photographs from the new Black Lives Remembered Collection.”

The Alexandria Black History Museum is also presenting a virtual performance on Saturday with the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices.

The holiday means most, but not all, City employees will have Friday off. Parking restrictions will also be lifted at legal parking spaces throughout the city, however Alexandria City Public Schools will be open.

What’s open

City-run facilities and services that will be open include:

Closures

The following City services are closed Friday:

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