Alexandria, VA

The Alexandria City Council will consider amending 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 amendment under consideration for Tuesday night increased the requirements for cloth face coverings in public. It also means that the governor’s eventual lifting of a mask mandate will subsequently result in the city taking the same immediate action.

The proposed ordinance states that all city residents under the age of five years old will be 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) and currently exempts anyone 10 years old and younger from wearing a face covering.

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

Governor Ralph Northam and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Alexandria this week. Northam stopped by Pacers Running in Old Town, and afterward met with Cardona, Mayor Justin Wilson, National Education Association of the United States President Becky Pringle and Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School. Cardona was at the school as part of his “Help is Here” school reopening tour.

On Monday, demolition started at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, and Alexandria City Public Schools says that the completion date is still on schedule for the new school to reopen the school in Jan. 2023. In the meantime, MacArthur students will continue to use the old Patrick Henry Elementary School as swing space.

There was big news for Alexandria nonprofits this week, as the Spring2ACTion fundraiser raised $2.5 million and broke last year’s online giving record.

There were also 682 votes in this week’s poll on outdoor dining and takeout. We asked whether the city should keep its expanded restaurant offerings after in a post-COVID environment. An overwhelming majority of 84% of votes cast (576 votes) want businesses to enjoy the same level of latitude; 13% (89 votes) said some modifications should be made and just 2% (17 votes) want businesses to go back to pre-pandemic operations.

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  2. NOW: Alexandria preparing new face mask ordinance as CDC says fully vaccinated folks don’t need them
  3. Alexandria celebrates Earth Day virtually
  4. COVID-19 Update: City says anyone who registered by April 10 for COVID-19 vaccine should have an appointment
  5. Police: Falling death of man in Landmark does not appear to be suspicious
  6. Del Ray restaurant The Garden to bloom into new outdoor area
  7. Parents and students protest for expanded in-person instruction outside ACPS Central Office
  8. JUST IN: ‘Open ACPS!’ group to rally in front of Central Office on Monday
  9. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  10. EXCLUSIVE: Here’s what the inside of the Halal slaughterhouse looks like on Colvin Street
  11. School Resource Officers at ACPS on chopping block as Police chief proposes alternative program

Have a safe weekend!

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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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Alexandria residents 16 and older who registered for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 10 should have been contacted by the city’s Health Department to schedule their appointment, according to the city.

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.”

The city will receive 12,650 doses this week, not including additional vaccine doses federal programs provide directly to participating pharmacies and Alexandria’s federally qualified health center, Neighborhood Health.

Vaccine Update

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

  • White — 16,229 first doses, 12,009 fully vaccinated
  • Latino — 7,119 first doses, 4,202 fully vaccinated
  • Black — 3,744 first doses, 2,539 fully vaccinated
  • Other — 3,207 first doses, 2,312 fully vaccinated
  • Asian of Pacific Islander — 1,486 first doses, 901 fully vaccinated
  • Native American — 215 first doses, 115 fully vaccinated

Women have received 36,264 first doses and 15,080 have gotten their second shot, while 27,493 men have received their first doses and 11,941 have been fully vaccinated.The following age groups received their vaccinations:

  • 80+    — 3,050 got one dose, 2,539 fully vaccinated
  • 70-79 — 6,992 got one dose, 5,930 fully vaccinated
  • 60-69 — 9,829 got one dose, 7,323 fully vaccinated
  • 50-59 — 10,392 got one dose, 6,400 fully vaccinated
  • 40-49 — 11,285 got one dose, 6,630 fully vaccinated
  • 30-39 — 13,843 got one dose, 7,970 fully vaccinated
  • 20-29 — 7,128 got one dose, 3,674 fully vaccinated
  • 10-19  — 1,343 got one dose, 433 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 11,570, an increase of 293 cases since this time last week. The death toll stands at 133, and the city’s seven-day moving average is now 15.6, which is down from 26.3 this time last week.

Across Virginia, there have been 10,691 deaths and there are or have been 654,210 cases of the virus. There have also been 7 million PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 5.5%.

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, 273 cases
  • 70-79 — 33 deaths, 358 cases
  • 60-69 — 22 deaths, 861 cases
  • 50-59 — 15 deaths, 1,378 cases
  • 40-49 — Four deaths, 1,918 cases
  • 30-39 — Three deaths, 2,673 cases
  • 20-29 — One death, 2,370 cases
  • 10-19  — Zero deaths, 871 cases
  • 0-9     — Zero deaths, 845 cases

Latino residents have the most infections with 3,762 reported cases (19 deaths), white residents with 3,030 cases (63 deaths), and Black residents with 2,485 cases (39 deaths). There are 572 cases with Asian or Pacific Islander residents (eight deaths), 385 cases classified as “other” (two deaths) and 14 native American cases (no deaths).

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Morning Notes

Spring2ACTion starts early giving — “Alexandria’s official Day of Giving is April 28, but early giving is open and residents are generously donating to more than 100 local nonprofit organizations.” [Alexandria Living]

Citizen group advicates to return to ward representation — “For most of its history since the early 1800s, the City of Alexandria had neighborhood-based  representation on its city council. Now, a bipartisan coalition of residents is calling for a return to that type of government, arguing that ward representation would foster better service and accountability to residents.” [Alexandria Living]

Mister Kleen donates hand sanitizer dispensers to Neighborhood Health –“Mister Kleen Maintenance Company, Inc. is giving back to the community with a donation of more than 100 automatic hand sanitizer dispensers with stands to Neighborhood Health, a local nonprofit community health center that serves more than 42,000 patients in clinics across Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax County.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Thunderstorms in the morning will give way to partly cloudy skies and gusty winds late. Storms may contain strong gusty winds. Morning high of 67F with temps falling to near 55. Winds W at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 80%… Clear (in the evening). Gusty winds diminishing after midnight. Low 37F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Bartenders — “Doyles Outpost is the newest FUN in town a uniquely designed entertainment concept featuring a mouthwatering menu, full bar, novel two level laser tag arena, the latest arcade games and the HologateTM virtual reality attraction. We are the perfect venue for your next corporate event, social gathering or birthday party.” [Indeed]

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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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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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Morning Notes

Departmental Progressive Club announces candidate forum — “The Departmental Progressive Club (DPC) will hold a Candidates Forum on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 7pm. As a candidate for Mayor or City Council you are invited to participate. It will be held virtually and candidates and the
public will have access to the forum at 6:30 PM.” [DPC]

Birchmere founder co-writes book about venue — “For local author, musician and professional research expert Steve Moore, joining Birchmere founder Gary Oelze in writing a book about the history of the renowned and legendary Alexandria music venue, due out in June, is a true joy beyond compare.” [Zebra]

Historic garden tour in Old Town on Saturday — “Four historical properties will be highlighted: the Lee-Fendall House garden, the Ramsay
House garden, the Athenaeum garden and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Along the route, sites will be decorated with wreaths, window boxes, and planters created by members of the event’s sponsors: Garden Club of Alexandria and Hunting Creek Garden Club.” [Visit Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy with light rain developing later in the day. High 68F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%… Rain early (in the evening)…then remaining cloudy with showers late. Low 54F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Part-time women’s health data entry specialist — “The Part-time Data Entry Specialist (20 hours/week) for EWL will be responsible for inputting the client information into VDH’s EWL database, Catalyst; working in the Neighborhood Health EMR system (eClinicalWorks); managing ongoing cases, and updating team records.” [Indeed]

Photo by Pat Malone

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