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Alexandria City Public Schools received 88,000 KN95 face masks for all students and staff last week, not long after newly installed Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order removing face mask mandates in public schools.

Alexandria, along with Arlington and Fairfax County, defied that order and are still requiring students, staff and visitors wear masks indoors. The Alexandria City High School athletic department has also reinstituted mask wearing during practices and competition.

“The Universal masking, of course, is critical in all of our ACPS buildings and on our vehicles,” Julie Crawford, the ACPS chief of student services and equity, told the School Board last Thursday night. “We want to stress how important properly secured masks are to decreasing the transmission rate, especially for in-person activities.”

The 88,000 KN95 masks consist of both adult and student-sized masks, according to Alicia Hart, the ACPS acting chief of facilities and operations.

“Due to the limited supply, the first priority for the KN95 mask distribution is for ACPS students and staff,” Hart said. “As additional masks arrive, provisions for visitors will be considered. Please note that there are no non-essential visitors to our schools at this time.”

Hart could not say how long the shipment will last, but said ACPS will make more orders if necessary.

“We will continue to make additional orders as necessary, which is our standard practice with all PPE (personal protective equipment) needs,” Hart said.

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Alexandria’s Covid numbers are going down, but the numbers of new reported cases continues to rise by the hundreds on a daily basis.

There have been 26,907 total cases reported by the Virginia Department of Health as of today (Monday, Jan. 18), and the number of deaths has climbed by two since last week to 163. Sunday, Jan. 17, saw the the fewest single day number of cases reported so far this year with 191 new cases.

There have been 7,406 cases reported in Alexandria so far this month alone. The city’s transmission rate went from “Substantial” to “High” last month.

By the numbers

  • The seven day average of daily new cases is now 337, down from 409 this time last week
  • The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 27.4%, down from 28.6% last week
  • There have been 37 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools so far this month

Vaccine stats

  • There are 28,503 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 70% of residents (107,033 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 82% (125,377) of residents have gotten at least one dose
  • 44,419 residents have gotten a booster shot

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

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The Alexandria City Council will likely extend the city’s state of emergency from the end of January to June 30, 2022. Tuesday night’s (Jan. 11) vote will be the fifth extension of the declaration since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The declaration, which was first approved by Council in March 2020, has been continually updated, and finds that “the emergency continues to exist and will exist into the future.”

If approved, the city will end up being under a state of emergency for 27 months.

There have been 162 deaths and 23,737 reported cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The full emergency declaration is below.

WHEREAS, the Director of Emergency Management of the City of Alexandria, Virginia finds that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a Communicable Disease of Public Health Threat for Virginia and is of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant a coordinated response by City departments, agencies, and voluntary organization.

WHEREAS, on March 14, 2020, City Council adopted Resolution No. 2928 confirming the Director of Emergency Management’s Declaration of Local Emergency which extended through June 10, 2020. On June 9, 2020, City Council amended such resolution extending the Declaration of Local Emergency through September 30, 2020. On September 22, 2020, City Council amended such resolution extending the Declaration of Local Emergency through March 31, 2021. On March 23, 2021, City Council amended such resolution extending the Declaration of Local Emergency through September 30, 2021. On September 14, 2021, the City Council amended such resolution extending the Declaration of Local Emergency through January 31, 2022.

WHEREAS, the Director of Emergency Management finds that the emergency continues to exist and will exist into the future.

THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY DECLARED, that a local emergency exists throughout the City of Alexandria; and IT IS FURTHER DECLARED AND ORDERED, that during the existence of said emergency, the powers, functions and duties of the Director of Emergency Management shall be those prescribed by state law and the ordinances, resolutions and operations plans of the City of Alexandria, and that any actions taken under this declaration shall be directed at the prevention or response for, damages, loss, hardship or suffering threatened by, or resulting from, the emergency. The declaration for COVID-19 effective as of March 9, 2020, at 8:00 am and shall remain in full force and effect until June 30, 2022, at midnight unless sooner amended or rescinded by resolution of the City Council.

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Fresh from a bout with Covid that left Mayor Justin Wilson isolating in Spain, Wilson’s first virtual town hall of 2022 launched with a discussion of the current situation with COVID-19.

Alexandria has seen record-high levels of confirmed Covid cases thanks to the highly infections omicron variant. Wilson implored locals to swap out the simple cloth masks for more effective N95 or KN 95 masks.

“We need to up our masking game,” Wilson said. “The simple cloth masks are not going to be sufficient in the face of this highly transmittable variant. We’re encouraging people to get K-95 to prevent spread.”

Wilson said mask-wearing indoors was ubiquitous in Europe, which has helped keep the virus under control. But when asked about a mask mandate, Wilson deferred to the governor’s office, noting that the Dillon Rule makes Alexandria’s authority to enforce that mandate unclear.

“The authority on masking requirements has always been a little murky from the beginning,” Wilson said. “The city was one of the first jurisdictions to adopt a masking ordinance back in 2020. That ordinance was later replicated by the state and applied state-wide. We did not include enforcement in our ordinance, largely as a nod to some of the authority concerns in a Dillon Rule state.”

Wilson said a mask mandate would have to come from state authorities.

“In my view, and I’m not an attorney, but the governor has much clearer authority which is why we preferred those orders to come out of Richmond, and at this point that’s where they need to come,” Wilson said.

Today (Monday), Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia as a result of the spike in COVID-19 cases, which gives hospitals authority to expand bed capacity, but stopped short of issuing a mask mandate or other Covid mitigation measures.

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Alexandria surged past 20,000 new cases of COVID-19 going into the New Year, and on Sunday (Jan. 2) set yet another single-day record for the most reported cases ever.

COVID-19 peaked in Alexandria on Sunday with 1,040 newly reported cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health. As of today (Tuesday, Jan. 4) there have been 20,875 reported cases, which is more than 3,000 within the last week.

There have also been four more deaths, bringing the death toll from the virus to 161.

By the numbers

  • The seven day average of daily new cases is now 399, up from 248 last week
  • The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 28.6%, up from 13.3% last week
  • There are 20 infections currently being treated at Inova Alexandria Hospital

Vaccine stats

  • There are 30,233 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 69% of residents (106,155 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 80% (123,647) of residents have gotten at least one dose
  • 40,594 residents have gotten a booster shot

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

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COVID testing data, photo via Justin Wilson/Twitter

Alexandria is seeing an uptick in reported COVID cases in part due to the Omicron variant, but it could also have something to do with the record number of Alexandrians getting COVID tested before the holidays.

Mayor Justin Wilson said on Twitter that the city saw its single biggest day for COVID testing last Friday.

“1,640 tests were recorded in the City,” Wilson said, “blowing away the previous record from May ’20.”

ACPS has also asked that students and staff get tested before returning from the winter break.

Testing providers are struggling to keep up with the demand, but Washingtonian reported on some of the ways folks around the area can find last-minute tests before the holidays.

Photo via Justin Wilson/Twitter

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In the last two weeks, Alexandria went from just over 15,000 reported cases of COVID-19 to surpassing 16,000 cases.

As of today (Monday, Dec. 20) there have been 16,075 reported cases of the coronavirus in Alexandria, and more of 800 of new infections have listed since this time last week by the Virginia Department of Health. There have also been 156 deaths from the virus.

The Alexandria Health Department says “individual actions” will slow down the spread, and urged “practical” safety precautions over the holidays.

In the meantime, the First Night Alexandria celebration on New Year’s Eve in is still on. The event brings thousands of people to Old Town for dozens of events and culminates with fireworks on the waterfront.

“First Night Alexandria is committed to keeping the health and safety of our community our top priority,” First Night Alexandria says on its website.

Alexandria’s transmission rate went from “Substantial” to “High” at the end of November, and AHD advises residents to limit the number of people at celebrations, take COVID tests, avoid travel and get booster shots.

“Cases have been increasing over the past few weeks following a post-Thanksgiving surge,” the city said in a weekly release. “Based on a recent AHD analysis of November cases, unvaccinated people are 4 times more likely to get COVID-19, and 5 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to fully vaccinated people. However, with the significantly increased transmission rates, there is also a rise in cases among those who are fully vaccinated.”

The seven day average of daily new cases is now 111, and the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 69, up from 25.3 last week. The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 7.2%, up from 5.1% last week.

Contact tracing

The rise in cases has forced the health department’s contact tracers to shift their workload, and they will no longer make multiple attempts to reach residents who test positive.

“Currently, staff will only make one phone call with a voicemail and send one text message,” AHD said. “Residents are strongly urged to answer calls from AHD or to return them for guidance on next steps. Those who are positive should also begin calling their potential close contacts to let them know they may have been exposed and to get tested as soon as possible, regardless of vaccination status.”

Vaccine update

About 57% of Alexandria’s 5-17-year-olds (10,024 people) have been fully vaccinated, as have 73% (95,273) of residents older than 18, and about 84% (16,244) of seniors. Additionally, 35,886 residents have gotten booster shots.

There are still 32,493 unvaccinated residents.

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

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Alexandria’s transmission rate remains “High” for the second week in a row, as the first case of the Omicron variant has been detected in Virginia, which just surpassed 1 million cases of COVID-19.

There have been 1,000,694 reported cases of COVID-19 in Virginia since the pandemic began in March 2020. There have also been 14,957 deaths statewide.

Additionally, the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant was reported on Dec. 9 in northwest Virginia by an adult resident who recently traveled domestically.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we would record our first Omicron infection in the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver said in a statement. “Right now, the highly transmissible Delta variant is causing almost all cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. We have very effective vaccines that can interrupt the chain of transmission and reduce the odds that unpredictable mutations like the Delta and Omicron variants will emerge. Do your part. Get vaccinated if you are eligible. Get your booster shot if you’re eligible.”

Local COVID numbers

In Alexandria, there are now 15,300 reported cases of COVID-19, an increase of 273 cases since this time last week. The number of reported cases in a single day peaked at 50 on Dec. 12 — the highest since February 12, 2021, when 57 cases were reported.

The death toll in the city remains at 155.

There have also been 19 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools this month. There were 62 cases reported in ACPS in November.

Reported cases rose sharply at the end of November, pushing the city from a “Substantial” to “High” transmission rate. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 25.3, down from 36 last week. The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is now 5.1%, up from 4.3% last week.

Vaccine update

About 53% of Alexandria’s 5-17-year-olds (9,444 people) have been fully vaccinated, according to VDH.

Additionally, 73% (94,847) of residents older than 18 are fully vaccinated, as are about 84% (16,206) of seniors. Additionally, 31,804 residents have gotten booster shots.

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

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

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As the city prepares for the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, Alexandria’s COVID-19 infections have continued a steady decline through the holidays.

The upcoming annual festivities were put on hold last year, and it usually bring thousands of visitors to Alexandria.

As of today (Monday, November 29), cases stands at 14,789, up 97 since this time last week. There death toll also remains at 154, according to the the Virginia Department of Health.

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 7.8, down from 11.3 last week. The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is also down — now 2.7% versus 3.2% last week.

There have been 62 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools in November. There were 77 cases reported in ACPS in October.

Alexandria has experienced “Substantial” COVID-19 transmission since the week beginning October 17, before which the city saw “High” transmission for two months. The city saw “Low” and “Moderate” transmission levels from May to June this year — the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic.

Vaccine update

About 38% of Alexandria’s 5-17-year-olds (6,735 people) have been fully vaccinated, according to VDH.

Additionally, 73% (94,720) of residents older than 18 are fully vaccinated, as are about 84% (16,221) of seniors. Additionally, 24,774 residents have gotten booster shots.

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

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

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

Via CDC/Unsplash

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The Alexandria Health Department is advising residents to take COVID-19 tests before and after traveling this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

“Everyone has a role in keeping COVID-19 out of holiday gatherings,” AHD said in a release, and advised unvaccinated residents to skip traveling altogether. “If travel is unavoidable, get a COVID-19 test 1-3 days before and 3-5 days after travel. Those who are fully vaccinated should still monitor themselves for symptoms after travel or large gatherings and get tested if needed.”

AHD continued, “During gatherings, take steps to increase ventilation and consider using masks or maintaining physical distance if unvaccinated individuals or people at high risk of severe illness are attending.”

Alexandria has experienced “Substantial” COVID-19 transmission since the week beginning October 17, before which the city saw “High” transmission for two months. The city saw “Low” and “Moderate” transmission levels from May to June this year — the lowest the city has experienced since the beginning of the pandemic.

There are still 37,404 unvaccinated residents, and AHD says they account for a majority of new cases.

COVID-19 in Alexandria

As of today (Wednesday, November 24), cases stands at 14,728, up 157 cases since this time last week, according to the the Virginia Department of Health. There have also been two more deaths since last week, bringing the death toll to 154.

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 11.3, up from 9.5 last week. That’s still much lower than in mid-September, when the seven-day average was 36 cases for every 100,000 residents.

The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is also up — now 3.2% versus 2.9% last week.

There have also been 62 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools in November. There were 77 cases reported in ACPS in October.

Vaccine update

About 38% of Alexandria’s 5-17-year-olds (6,735 people) have been fully vaccinated, according to VDH.

Additionally, 72% (94,456) of residents older than 18 are fully vaccinated, as are about 84% (16,195) of seniors. Additionally, 22,945 residents have gotten booster shots.

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

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

Via CDC/Unsplash

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