Newsletter

There were just 75 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Alexandria since this time last week, according to the Alexandria Health Department.

There are now 29,809 reported cases of the virus in Alexandria, up from 29,734 last Monday. The number of deaths remains at 184, and the seven day average of daily new cases is now 21, down from 84.5 this time last week.

On Thursday, March 10, the Virginia Department of Health retired a number of its Covid dashboards, and will no longer list cases by locality. New data specific to Alexandria will have to be pulled from the city’s Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Last Friday (March 11) marked the second year of the pandemic, and Mayor Justin Wilson said that the city is moving into a new phase. Face masks and distancing are no longer required in schools or government buildings — a sharp turnaround from the worst days of the pandemic, which were just two short months ago. There was a record-setting 12,822 positive cases in January, followed by a steep drop-off to 1,227 cases in February.

Alexandria now has a “Substantial” transmission rate from VDH and a “Low” community level of transmission from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have also been 603 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools since Dec. 1, an increase of 10 cases. Of those, 517 are children and 104 are staff, although the numbers listed on the school system’s dashboard don’t add up.

Vaccine stats

  • There are 24,733 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 76% of residents (116,537 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 84% (129,147) of residents got at least one dose
  • 62,440 residents got booster shots

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

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Nicole Burlimann now has a completely different life. Exactly two years ago, she was the food and beverage manager at the Hilton Garden Inn — facing a busy spring full of events. Then COVID hit, her position was terminated and she collected unemployment for months while watching and waiting for restrictions to be lifted and normalcy to resume.

After four months, Burlimann started working part-time at Piece Out Del Ray (2419 Mount Vernon Avenue) when it opened in the summer of 2020. The restaurant is owned by the Ponzi family, and they later promoted Burlimann as general manager at their St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub and Market 2 Market locations in Del Ray.

“I wake up every day feeling very fortunate and thankful to live where I live, to have the support system that I have,” Burlimann said. “Now I just go with the flow. And that’s knowing that it’s so much worse for so many other people… I didn’t think we’d have that second wave that we had. But I am really looking forward to the spring as things are loosening up and an uptick in business.”

Today (Friday, March 11) marks two years since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, and the first case in the city was reported at Virginia Theological Seminary. That two-year period saw Alexandria tread through dramatic social waters with the Alexandria City Public Schools system’s conversion to online learning and eventual return to in-person instruction, local businesses experiencing dramatic closures, demonstrations against police brutality and much more.

To date, there have been 184 reported deaths and 29,809 cases reported in Alexandria. The worst month of the pandemic was just two months ago, as January saw more than 12,000 cases. The numbers of new cases have dropped considerably since then, and restrictions have been loosened to a point of normalcy not seen since March 2020.

Starting this month, face mask mandates were lifted in City government buildings and within Alexandria City Public Schools, and the Alexandria will soon start charging businesses rent for their use of parklets — parking spaces in front of businesses converted to dining areas.

The decision was made after guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave Alexandria and its neighboring jurisdictions a “Low” community level of transmission. Inova Alexandria Hospital has even lifted its visitation requirements.

No pandemic playbook

Mayor Justin Wilson, who celebrates a birthday on March 11, told ALXnow that the city is entering into a new phase of the pandemic.

“We’re heading into a different phase that’s a lot closer to normal,” he said. “We’re not going to shut things down anymore because we have vaccines, and we can we can protect those who are vulnerable and make sure everyone else can continue living their lives. But I also think there’s gonna be a lot that will probably never return to normal. And some of that’s okay.”

Wilson says the city was faced with a managing a catastrophic emergency situation without a playbook.

“There was no playbook, there were no rules,’ Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson told ALXnow. “In the beginning our big ask was going to all of the utilities like Dominion, Verizon, Comcast, and asking if they could give forbearance and not cut off their customers, and they all agreed, which was great. All of our utilities agreed and actually held to that for a long, long time — a year in-plus. Yeah. Then we sent a letter to landlords asking them to not not evict tenants. Early on, there was so much pain and tumult and everything that you were just trying to address and it was like triaging patients.”

The city extended services made possible through emergency federal funds, millions of pounds of free food was distributed by ALIVE!,

and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership helped businesses receive millions in federal grants.

Wilson, who contracted the virus in Spain in December, has posted COVID-19 updates on social media every day of the pandemic. That practice that ends today, he tweeted.

Back to business

Like many businesses, Bill Blackburn and his partner Mike Anderson of the Homegrown Restaurant Group had to furlough employees, get Paycheck Protection Program loans, and figure out how to keep their six restaurants afloat in Carlyle and Del Ray. While his staff are longer required to wear face masks, a number of changes to his businesses are permanent.

“In regard to the last two years, it feels in some ways like it’s been two decades,” Blackburn said. “In some ways, it feels like two weeks. We’ve gone through so many transformations, we’ve had so many false starts. It just seems like that we we’ve constantly been changing. Staff has turned over, styles of service have changed and we have outdoor service tents, outdoor dining, to-go windows, ordering with QR codes, a new point-of-sale system, adding DoorDash and Uber Eats — all these things have just become such a main part of business.”

The mask rule has also been lifted by Alexandria Restaurant Partners, according to partner Scott Shaw. ARP owns owns Mia’s Italian KitchenVola’s Dockside GrillTheismann’s Restaurant and BarLena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & TapPalette 22 in Shirlington, The Majestic, and opened BARCA Pier & Wine Bar a year ago.

“We’re back to running restaurants again without the complication of the complications of COVID,” Shaw said. “We feel very fortunate to have survived. It was an enormous amount of work by our team. It was just hard work. It was hard work to close the restaurants, and hard work to partially reopen. It was hard work at every stage of the game. We’ve developed a resiliency and, and adaptability that we didn’t know we had.”

Visit Alexandria also predicts that tourism will rebound, but that the hotel industry will continue to struggle.

As for nonprofits, ACT For Alexandria made impressive strides during the last two years breaking records raising millions in their annual one-day Spring2ACTion fundraiser. This year, ACT is asking for $2.5 million for the fundraiser, which is on April 27.

“We have a very generous community, and nonprofits that have been doing incredible work all year,” said ACT for Alexandria’s Brandi Yee. “It’s another chance for community members to support the nonprofits who are still on the front lines helping people who have been affected by Covid.”

Natalie Talis, a population health manager with the Alexandria Health Department, says staff are tired and a little burned out.

“The Alexandria Health Department is still here, whether or not COVID is,” Talis said. ” We will always be that important resource for helping to provide guidance to businesses, to nonprofits, to faith-based entities, as well as to residents, in terms and what are those best ways that you can protect yourself and the people around you.”

Alexandria remains in a state of emergency until June 30.

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Wearing face masks in government buildings is now optional in Alexandria, as nearly two years of the pandemic restriction winds to a close.

The decision, which was announced on March 1, comes after new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave Alexandria and its neighboring jurisdictions a “Low” community level of transmission.

“Effective immediately, wearing a mask is not required in most settings, but individuals may choose to do so at any time,” the city said in a release. “As a result of this new guidance from the CDC and Alexandria Health Department, use of masks by visitors to City of Alexandria government facilities is now optional. Effective immediately, visitors are encouraged to continue to wear a mask indoors based on their personal preference, as informed by their personal level of risk.”

Alexandria will still require masks in health care and congregate settings when the city has substantial or high community transmission.

There have been 29,734 reported Covid cases in the city, an increase of 153 cases since this time last week. The death toll remains at 183. The 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.

Masks are also now optional within Alexandria City Public Schools, where there have been 593 cases reported since Dec. 1. The numbers don’t add up, though, since ACPS reports 509 total student cases and 102 total staff cases.

Vaccine stats

  • There are 24,924 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 76% of residents (116,308 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 84% (128,956 people) of residents have gotten at least one dose
  • 57,108 residents have gotten booster shots

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

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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.

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Alexandria, Fairfax County and Arlington now have low Covid transmission levels, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s last update on community levels was on Feb. 25. The Virginia Department of Health still lists the city’s transmission rate as high, although the categorization has not been updated since Feb. 19. Alexandria has experienced high transmission since December.

There are 29,434 total reported cases in Alexandria, an increase of 130 cases since last week. There have been four more COVID-related deaths, bringing the death toll in the city to 184.

There have been 1,227 new Covid cases in February — a far cry from January, which saw a record-setting 12,822 positive cases.

The seven day average of new cases is now 20, down from 29 last week, and the seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 5.7%, down from 6.5%.

Alexandria City Public Schools reports a total of 582 cases since December 1 (up 10 cases since last week), although the number of infected staff and students adds up to 599.

Vaccine stats

  • There are 25,161 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 75% of residents (116,047 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 84% (128,719 people) of residents have gotten at least one dose
  • 126,478 residents have gotten booster shots

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

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The rapid decline in Covid cases continues in Alexandria, but the transmission level remains high, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

There were 14 were cases of COVID-19 reported in the city today, according to VDH. That’s the lowest number of new daily cases since November 29, 2021, when 13 cases were reported.

The latest numbers

Alexandria saw a record-setting 12,822 positive COVID cases in January, and cases have dropped drastically over the last five consecutive weeks. This month, there have been 1,132 new cases.

There have been four more COVID-related deaths, bringing the death toll to 180.

There have been 29,434  total reported cases in Alexandria, an increase of 130 cases since last week. The seven day average of new cases is now 29, down from 77 last week. The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 6.5%, down from 12.4% last week.

Additionally, Alexandria City Public Schools reports a total of 572 cases since December 1, although the number of infected staff and students adds up to 589.

The Alexandria Health Department is also recommending a fourth shot for immunocompromised residents who have received a booster shot.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released interim guidance clarifying that people with a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) who received an mRNA vaccine from Moderna and Pfizer should receive a COVID-19 booster dose three months after they complete their initial series of three doses, for a total of four doses,” AHD said in a release. “For immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, additional doses are strongly recommended.”

Vaccine stats

  • There are 25,417 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 75% of residents (115,700 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 84% (128,463 people) of residents have gotten at least one dose
  • 56,208 residents have gotten booster shots

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

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Staying home is a good defense against Covid, but what if your home is full of mold? The Alexandria Health Department is recruiting 50 city residents with respiratory issues to participate in a free air quality pilot study, and is offering them $100 in gift cards.

The Alexandria Air Cleaning Evaluation for Healthier Homes pilot is based on the premise that many residents in underserved areas live in conditions that “actively harm their well-being.”

“The biggest piece of public health advice during COVID is to stay home,” Natalie Talis, AHD population health manager, told ALXnow. ” More and more Alexandrians have been spending more time at home because of that, but for many residents home can actually harm their health.”

Participants need to make less than $80,000 a year, have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), have WiFi, and agree to before-and-after home health assessments by the Health Department. After being chosen, entrants will get air quality monitors and portable Medify Air filters installed in their homes for six months, starting in March.

“Even before COVID happened, we knew that your home can impact your health, between air quality, trip hazards, inaccessibility, rodents and pests and mold — these are not new things in Alexandria,” Talis said.  “For people who have asthma, or COPD, things like mold or poor ventilation can really trigger those flare-ups, which could lead to those preventable urgent care or emergency room visits, as well as impacting their quality of life, forcing them to stay home from activities away from work or school.”

Talis said that the pilot is part of a broader effort to make home conditions healthier in poorer neighborhoods around the city.

“The goal is to have data and information about whether an intervention like this can really impact people’s health conditions,” she said. “While this program is specifically focused on respiratory health, the long-term goal is to also address the many other conditions and issues that are related to your home. For example, you know, how are we going to support aging and helping to make sure that homes are accessible for people who may have disabilities or who may need extra modifications in their home?”

In last year’s Community Health Improvement Plan 2025, AHD found 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. Talis also said recent data showed Black residents living in 22304 (in the Landmark area) are disproportionately experiencing higher rates of asthma hospitalizations compared to other members of the community.

According to the Healthy Housing In Alexandria report:

  • More than 70% of Alexandria’s housing stock was built prior to 1990 (many asbestos regulations did not go into effect until 1985), more than 60% was built before 1980 (lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978), and nearly 20% was built before 1950, which means the housing may contain asbestos as well as lead (in paint, pipes, and fixtures) and may not have many of the energy, health, and safety measures commonly employed now.
  • A snapshot of the City’s health available via the 2021 County Healthy Rankings indicates 17% of its housing suffers from severe housing problems; i.e., at least one of the following four issues: overcrowding, high housing costs, lack of kitchen facilities, or lack of plumbing facilities.12 Of those four issues, high housing costs and overcrowding are the most prevalent in Alexandria; according to the American Community Survey, only 348 units lack kitchens and 143 units lack flush toilets.
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Regardless of a reporting inaccuracy by the Virginia Department of Health, Alexandria’s Covid numbers are still going down.

VDH identified 220 cases that were “inaccurately auto-generated duplicated in the case reporting system,” which is why there were 19 cases reported on Feb. 6, 20 cases on Feb. 7 and 43 cases on Feb. 8 — all sharp contrasts to the hundreds of daily cases being reported the previous week. Additionally, three deaths from January were also added to the city’s death toll, which now stands at 176.

“These cases have been removed from Alexandria’s total case numbers, causing the case counts on February 6-8 to appear artificially low on Virginia Department of Health and City of Alexandria dashboards,” according to the Alexandria Health Department.

There have been 29,204 total reported cases in Alexandria, an increase of 366 cases since this time last week. The seven day average of daily new cases is now 52, down from 77 last week.

There is one set of numbers unaffected by the inaccuracy is the seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests, which is is also significantly down — now 8.8%, down from 12.4% last week and 15.7% two weeks ago.

There have also been 538 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools since Dec. 1, an increase of 32 cases since last week. Of those cases, 460 are students and 92 are staff.

Every locality in Virginia is now experiencing high transmission. Alexandria went from “Substantial” to “High” transmission in December.

There are high transmission rates in every locality in Virginia. (Via VDH)

Vaccine stats

  • There are 25,964 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 75% of residents (115,078 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 83% (127,916 people) of residents have gotten at least one dose
  • 55,535 residents have gotten booster shots

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

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Covid cases continue to recede in Alexandria for the fourth straight week, and local pharmacies are now giving out free adult N95 face masks as part of a new federal program.

There were also seven news deaths reported since this time last week, bringing the death toll from the virus to 172.

The new face masks can be found at the same pharmacies that provide free COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Alexandria Health Department.

There have been 28,838 total reported cases in Alexandria, an increase of 536 cases since this time last week. The seven day average of daily new cases is now 77, down from 84.5 this time last week. The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 12.4%, down from 15.7% last week.

The city’s transmission rate went from “Substantial” to “High” in December.

Fluctuating ACPS numbers

There have also been 506 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools since Dec. 1, of which 434 are children and 85 are staff, although the numbers listed on the school system’s new dashboard have proved unreliable.

  • Last week the dashboard listed 523 cases systemwide with 202 student infections and 46 infected staffers since Dec. 1
  • Two weeks ago, ACPS reported 930 cases since Dec. 1, with 288 infected children and 620 infected staffers

Vaccine stats

  • There are 26,907 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 74% of residents (114,195 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 83% (126,973) of residents have gotten at least one dose
  • As of Feb. 4, 53,396 residents have gotten a booster shot

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

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The number of positive Covid cases continues to go down in Alexandria, as officials say that the latest wave of Omicron cases will recede within a month.

While cases have gone down for the third straight week, numbers are still historically high.

“Right now the transmission still remains at historically high levels,” Alexandria Health Department Director,Dr. David C. Rose told City officials recently. ” Previously in the pandemic, we only had a handful of days with over 120 cases per day… Modeling shows that we should be out of the current surge within a month or so.”

There have been 28,302 total reported cases in Alexandria, an increase of 949 cases since this time last week. There have also been 9,822 cases reported in Alexandria in January, including 523 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools since Dec. 1, of which 202 are children and 46 are staff.

In the meantime, the city is continuing to ask residents, businesses and visitors to “Wear It Well” by wearing face masks in public indoor spaces, whether vaccinated or not.

The city’s transmission rate went from “Substantial” to “High” last month.

By the numbers

  • The number of deaths remains at 165.
  • The seven day average of daily new cases is now 84.5, down from 208 this time last week
  • The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 15.7%, down from 21.7% last week

Vaccine stats

  • There are 28,503 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 70% of residents (107,641 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 82% (126,279) of residents have gotten at least one dose
  • As of last week, 45,919 residents have gotten a booster shot

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

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