Newsletter

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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Thanksgiving turkey prepared in a restaurant (Flickr photo by Sarah Lou)

Thanksgiving is scheduled for later this week, so do you have any travel plans for this upcoming week?

Last year, during some of the peak COVID-19 numbers, a majority of poll respondents said they weren’t planning to travel for the holidays. Last year, the vaccines had not been approved yet and daily cases were trending upwards. The latter is true again this year, but it’s generally much safer to be around family provided everyone takes some precautions.

Photo via Sarah Lou/Flickr

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The 2019 Turkey Trot, photo via Visit Del Ray/Facebook

After COVID shut it down last year, the annual Alexandria Turkey Trot is gobbling up parts of Del Ray later this week.

The Turkey Trot is scheduled for Thanksgiving Morning (Thursday, Nov. 25) at 9 a.m. The event is put together by DC Road Runners and the Del Ray Business Association. The five-mile run/walk is scheduled to take trotters through Del Ray, starting and ending at George Washington Middle school. Dogs and strollers are allowed and will have their own starting area separate from the runners.

Drivers in the area can expect temporary road closures along Mount Vernon Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue during day.

“In the spirit of the holiday, runners and spectators are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to support ALIVE!, the oldest and largest private safety net in the City of Alexandria, VA dedicated to fighting poverty and hunger,” the Del Ray Business Association said in the Facebook post.

Those interested in joining the Turkey Trot can register online. Standard registration is $25, with $20 registration for children ages 13-20 and $10 for children under 13.

Photo via Visit Del Ray/Facebook

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Morning Notes

School Board discusses SRO return, updating police MOU — “…the School Board discussed the short-term, and potentially long-term, future of the [School Resource Officer program] at a meeting on Nov. 11.” [Alexandria Times]

Restaurants in Alexandria offer Thanksgiving packages to go — “You can explore multi-course Thanksgiving menus and special to-go offerings from a variety of Alexandria restaurants.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Bells are ringing for Del Ray’s annual holiday and business decorating contest in Alexandria — “In the Del Ray section of Alexandria it means the Annual Holiday Home and Business Decorating Contest is about to begin.” [Zebra]

Alexandria mom frustrated with school violence caught on video — “More violence was reported at schools in Alexandria, Virginia — all caught on video. The 7News I-Team has been all over this major issue for weeks.” [ABC7]

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Alexandria non-profit ALIVE! is looking for help to put together Thanksgiving baskets for locals in need.

The non-profit is looking to fill 150 baskets by Sunday, Nov. 7.

ALIVE! needs the following items:

  • Canned pumpkin
  • Canned yams
  • Corn
  • Cornbread mix
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Gravy
  • Canned or packaged turkey or mushrooms
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Green beans
  • Mac and cheese
  • Pie crust
  • Stuffing

Donations can be dropped off tomorrow (Saturday) from 9 a.m. to noon at the ALIVE! food warehouse (801 S. Payne Street).

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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Local nonprofit Casa Chirilagua is planning to keep with the spirit of Thanksgiving by distributing meals to those in need, but needs some public help for setup and distribution.

“We are distributing 500 meals for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, Nov. 25,” said the organization, which provides assistance in the Chirilagua and Arlandria neighborhood. “The setup will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the distribution will begin at 2:00 p.m.”

Casa Chirilagua needs volunteers to help

  • Setup tables
  • Organizing the boxes
  • Helping manage the line
  • Make sure people are remaining socially distanced,
  • Handing out boxes
  • Taking tickets
  • Handing out masks
  • Cleanup

The organization asked that those who volunteer make sure they have not been exposed to COVID-19 before they volunteer, that they haven’t experienced any symptoms of respiratory illness within the last 14 days, and that they don’t live with someone who is considered at risk.

Volunteers can sign up through the Volunteer Alexandria website.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Unlike many of his Latino neighbors in Arlandria, Realtor Brett Rice has had a solid year and is giving back in a big way. On Wednesday, Nov. 25, which is the day before Thanksgiving, Rice and Alexandria Restaurant Partners will give away 500 meals worth about $35,000 to the community.

“The pandemic hasn’t been bad for everyone, and people are buying second homes and vacationing, and I just want to do something that will help the community,” Rice told ALXnow.

Each meal will feed a family of four, and there’s no news yet as to what’s on the menu.

“This year has been very good for his business and he feels lead to give back to neighbors who have had a hard year,” said Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gómez Schellhaas. “We are certainly on board.”

Alexandria Living Legend Pat Miller has set up a page for donations.

Rice, who lives in Del Ray, also owns Arlandria Floors, and said that his business was at rock bottom during the height of the pandemic, although his troubles pale in comparison with the city’s poorer residents. He came up with the idea two weeks ago while hanging out with his friend Murray Bonnit, who has joined in the effort.

“I haven’t had to struggle to pay bills, and I haven’t lost my family members, and I think people forget around here how affluent we live in Del Ray,” he said. “We can’t live in this bubble with a lot of talk and no action.”

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Thanksgiving is only three weeks away, and with coronavirus on the rise in much of the country, plans for the holiday are in flux.

The usual gatherings of family and friends are now subject to a calculation: is a big turkey dinner worth the risk of contracting a potentially deadly or debilitating disease?

For some, the solution will be a smaller dinner, perhaps with only some of the fixin’s. For others, however, it might be business as usual.

Asked about it last week on CNBC, two prominent figures in the medical field said the traditional Thanksgiving gathering was out for them this year.

What are your current turkey day plans? If they’ve changed from your usual Thanksgiving plans, let us know in the comments.

Photo via Sarah Lou/Flickr

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With parades, festivals and even the Christmas tree lighting in Old Town all impacted by COVID-19, the holiday season will be dramatically different for Alexandria business owners.

Bearing that in mind, Visit Alexandria just announced Alexandria Shop Small Week, a new virtual promotional series from Nov. 27 to Dec. 6 with deals and giveaways to help make up for losses to this year’s post-Thanksgiving period of holiday shopping.

The series begins with Plaid Friday: Alexandria’s Small Business Black Friday on Nov. 27.

“Nearly 50 independent shops are touting one-of-a-kind deals on designer and coveted merchandise, including home décor, chic fashion, gourmet food, classic toys and gifts for pets,” according to Visit Alexandria. “Check out Black-owned Alexandria businesses during the nationwide ‘Buy Black Friday’ initiative every Friday from October 30 to November 27, 2020.”

According to Visit Alexandria:

Members of the Old Town Business Association and Old Town Boutique District are celebrating Plaid Friday with two unique offerings. Snag a free plaid mask made by local designer DMARAN when you spend $100 or more at participating Old Town stores, plus enjoy gift-wrapping at select stores. Don your favorite tartan as part of this year’s Virtual Plaid Patrol and snap a pic to post to Instagram, tagging @otboutiques, @alhstayle and @tsgalexandria and use #PlaidPatrol. You’ll be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card to an Old Town Boutique District business of your choice. Two winners will be selected.

Nearly 50 independent shops, many opening early, offer some of their best deals of the year.

  • Small Business Saturday – November 28
    Enjoy free parking, prizes from the Elf Patrol and nearly 50 independent boutiques featuring discounts or gifts with purchase.
  • Museum Store Sunday – November 29
    Enjoy discounts of 20% at participating Alexandria museum stores plus 20% off Black history merchandise from Manumission Tour Company’s online store.
  • Cyber Monday – November 30
    Promotional online offers from more than 30 Alexandria boutiques include discounts, gifts with purchase and free shipping.
  • Giving Tuesday – December 1
  • Instagram Gift Card Giveaways – December 4-6
    Follow @VisitAlexVA for three days of giveaways and your chance to win one of three $300 gift cards to a choice of local boutiques.
  • Alexandria Santagram Giveaway  Extends through Shop Small Week, November 9-December 20
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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Biden Needs Support — “President-Elect Biden must be given all the support he needs to take the helm of government, including swift consideration and confirmation of his team, so that he can take the country forward. We have no time to lose – there is serious work to be done.” [Twitter]

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter Was on Jeopardy — “This picture is from years ago when I had the opportunity of a lifetime to appear on Jeopardy and personally meet Alex Trebek. He was as warm and engaging as you would think he was. Today we mourn his loss. He was a television icon and philanthropist who left the world a much better place. My heart goes out to the Trebek family and to the families of all who have been impacted by this terrible disease.” [Facebook]

Mayor Reminds Residents of Celebrating Biden Win Without Fireworks — “Just a reminder from your Mayor/Wet Blanket: Fireworks remain illegal in the City of Alexandria #CelebrateResponsibly” [Twitter]

City Recommends Celebrating a Virtual Thanksgiving — “The City and the AHD strongly urge those celebrating Thanksgiving to choose lower risk activities to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 outbreaks, rather than the traditional indoor gatherings and traveling.” [Twitter]

City Tearing Down Robinson Terminal North — “AlexRenew is demolishing the building as part of its much larger plans to improve Alexandria’s sewer and stormwater infrastructure.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria’s Tree Lighting Goes Virtual on Nov. 21 — “Alexandria’s annual Tree Lighting ceremony that rings in the holiday season will be a little different this year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event that usually takes place at Market Square will be held online on Saturday, Nov. 21.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Areas of patchy fog early. Partly cloudy skies. High 72F. Winds light and variable. A few clouds overnight. Areas of patchy fog. Low 54F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Development and Communications Specialist — “The Campagna Center’s (TCC) Development Specialist plays a vital role in ensuring that TCC’s donors feel good about their giving. The individual will act as the first point of contact for stewardship activities and donor requests, always presenting an amicable demeanor, a can-do attitude, and appropriately reflecting TCC’s mission and values.” [Indeed]

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