(Updated at 425 p.m. Tuesday, October 19) Alexandria has reached yet another grim milestone, as the city surpassed 14,000 reported cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
As of today (Monday, October 18), the number of cases has climbed to 14,070, up 171 cases since this time last week.
The number of cases for children under 12 is “unexpectedly” high, accounting for 287 cases in August and September, according to the Alexandria Health Department.
“Children under 12 years old are not yet eligible for vaccination, which is likely a contributor to this result,” AHD reported.
The death toll remains at 148.
The seven day average of daily new cases reported is 22, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 13.9, down from 15.8 last week. There have been about 197 cases reported in the last two weeks, and the seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is 3.1%, according to the the Virginia Department of Health.
In the meantime, 100.5% of Alexandria’s 12-17-year-olds (7,376 kids) have gotten at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 88% (6,462) have been fully vaccinated according to VDH. Just over 69% (90,310) of residents over the age of 18 have been vaccinated, a have about 80% (15,551) of seniors.
How is 100.5% possible for Alexandria’s 12-17-year-olds? Natalie Talis, a population health manager with the Alexandria Health Department said that VDH uses National Center for Health Statistics population estimates, and that the vaccines administered exceed the population estimates.
“We have heard that VDH will start to use 2020 census data, but we are not sure when,” Talis said. “Any time population estimates are used, there is a risk of a discrepancy.”
There have also been 41 cases reported in Alexandria City Public Schools in October. There were also 64 cases reported last month in ACPS.
Alexandria has experienced high transmission since mid-August, while Manassas Park is the only locality in Virginia seeing moderate transmission. Arlington County, Fairfax County, Fairfax City and Charles City have moved from high to “substantial” transmission.
Months after the majority of Alexandria residents were fully vaccinated, coronavirus precautions now turn toward booster shots aimed at keeping those vaccinations effective.
A Pfizer vaccine booster has already been approved and yesterday a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel authorized booster shots for Moderna’s vaccine.
In general, the boosters are being considered for those who received their second dose at least six months ago. The Pfizer booster is currently available for those 65 or older and those at heightened risk of COVID-19. The Moderna booster is being considered on similar guidelines.
Alexandria seniors can now get free transportation from Alexandria Yellow Cab to get their COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.
“The City’s Division of Aging and Adult Services is coordinating transportation for City of Alexandria residents to and from vaccination sites in or outside of Alexandria,” the City reports. “Individuals do not need to be signed up for Senior Taxi for this service.”
VDH says that unvaccinated Virginians make up a majority of new cases. So far, 93,630 residents have been fully vaccinated and 105,859 residents have been partially vaccinated. More than 68% of residents over the age of 18 have been vaccinated, and so have nearly 80% of seniors.
Seniors are allowed to bring a companion with them, and are asked to make a vaccination appointment by calling 703-746-5999 at least two days in advance.
COVID-19 by the numbers
In the meantime, the cases in Alexandria have climbed to 13,938, an increase of 177 cases since this time last week. The death toll remains at 148.
There has been no change in the 20 cases reported in Alexandria City Public Schools in October. There were also 64 cases reported last month in ACPS.
The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 15.8, which is up from 13.9 last week. There have been just over 200 cases reported in the last two weeks, and the seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is 3%, according to the the Virginia Department of Health.
Alexandria has experienced high transmission for more than a month, while Manassas Park and Fairfax City are seeing moderate transmission, and Arlington, Fairfax County and Kings and Queens County have moved from high to “substantial” transmission.
The Alexandria Health Department also recommends that pregnant women get vaccinated.
There have been four more deaths in Alexandria due to COVID-19 since last week, bringing the death toll from the virus to 148.
In the meantime, Alexandria was praised last week by Governor Ralph Northam for having the highest vaccination rate among teens in Virginia. The city is also currently preparing to provide vaccines for children under the age of 12.
The number of reported cases has climbed to 13,761, an increase of 176 cases since this time last week. There have also been 20 cases reported in Alexandria City Public Schools in October and 64 cases reported last month.
“More than 95% of Alexandria’s 12-17 year-olds have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine,” the city reported. “In anticipation of vaccine authorization for the 5-11 age group, Alexandria Health Department is working closely with Alexandria City Public Schools; private schools; pharmacies; and private providers, including pediatrician offices, to ensure equitable access to vaccines and proactive education for families.”
While the city’s transmission rate remains high, recent VDH data shows that cases are going down. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 13.9, which is down from 16.7 last week. There have been just over 200 cases reported in the last two weeks, and the seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is 2.9%, according to the the Virginia Department of Health.
Manassas Park and Fairfax City, with moderate transmission, are the only localities in Virginia not experiencing a high transmission rate.
VDH says that unvaccinated Virginians make up a majority of new cases. So far, 92,946 residents have been fully vaccinated and 105,130 residents have been partially vaccinated. More than 67% of residents over the age of 18 have been vaccinated, and so have 79% of seniors.
The Alexandria Health Department also recommends that pregnant women get vaccinated.
Earlier this week, @GovernorVA recognized the extraordinarily high vaccination rate for young people in Alexandria.
Our teens have led the way in putting this pandemic behind us and we eagerly await permission to begin vaccinating those under 12!https://t.co/46Csg8gVY6
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) September 29, 2021
Alexandria will begin implementing a vaccine mandate on October 25, ALXnow has learned.
City employees who aren’t vaccinated by that time are required to get weekly COVID-19 tests, the city said in a statement.
“To limit the potential spread of COVID-19 in the workforce and in the community, City of Alexandria government employees are required to be fully vaccinated,” Kelly Gilfillen, the city’s acting director of the Office of Communications and Public Information told ALXnow. “All employees who are unvaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccination status will be required to be tested weekly for COVID-19 beginning October 25.”
Gilfillen continued, “Any exemptions would only be considered for the testing requirement as this is considered an accommodation for those who choose not to be vaccinated or not to disclose their vaccination status.”
Alexandria City Public Schools staff have, since August, been required to report their vaccination status or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing.
“This is a vital tool to add to our current health and safety mitigation measures,” said Alexandria City School Board Chair Meagan Alderton. “It is a proactive step we can take to help reduce transmission of the virus in our school facilities and strengthen safety measures to protect our community as a whole.”
Alexandria’s transmission rate has remained high for more than a month, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Alexandria seeks input on phase II revision of noise ordinance — “On May 15, the Alexandria City Council adopted phase I technical revisions of the City’s noise ordinance. The City is now seeking public input on a phase II revision that would address policy issues associated with land use, noise levels and changes with noise sources. The objective is to finalize this revision for Council consideration by the end of 2021.” [City of Alexandria]
Alexandria author writes book on 19th century Scottish migrant — “First-time author Ellen Hamilton has spent years working on the story of William Gregory, who settled here in Alexandria in 1807. Now, her first book, ‘A Scottish Migration to Alexandria’, is going into print.” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria Health Department to offer free flu shots — “In an effort to ensure that the community has access to the influenza vaccine, the Alexandria Health Department is hosting a free clinic on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Hammond Middle School from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Rain showers in the morning with scattered thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. High 79F. Winds SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening, then mainly cloudy overnight with thunderstorms likely. Potential for heavy rainfall. Low 68F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Temporary bilingual COVID-19 vaccine promoter — “. The Vaccine Promotor(a)/CVN will engage with residents of underserved communities to provide education about COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination. The Promotor(a) will work with Neighborhood Health’s COVID-19 Outreach team to plan an overall outreach strategy and provide support to other vaccine-related activities.” [Indeed]
In a community update yesterday (Thursday), ACPS staff said they’re starting to make progress on plans to vaccinate students in-school.
Currently vaccination is only available for children ages 12 and above. Julie Crawford, chief of Student Services and Equity, said at a meeting yesterday that the teenager category has been one of the most thoroughly vaccinated age groups in the city. Crawford said ACPS is getting ready to offer in-school vaccination as a prelude for when vaccination is allowed for the younger age group.
“Children could be vaccinated on-site during the school day,” Crawford said. “We want to get that up and running as soon as possible, so we can have that up and ready for those below 12 as quickly as possible.”
Crawford said vaccination would only be offered to students with parental consent.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company is hoping to release clinical trial data on the vaccine for children under 12 by the end of October with Pfizer seeking vaccine authorization sometime in November.
News of over a dozen school deaths from COVID in Miami has led ACPS to reconsider it’s earlier position of allowing staff to decide whether to be vaccinated or not.
At a School Board meeting last week, the board voted to make it clear that in the coming weeks a plan will be put together on requiring all staff to be vaccinated — unless that falls into the broad category of claiming a medical or religious exemption.
At the meeting, Alexandria City Public Schools Executive Director of Human Resources Melanie Kay-Wyatt said that 84% of staff report that they’ve been vaccinated, a 62% increase from this past May. But some on the School Board said they’re still concerned at the amount of unvaccinated staff that leaves in the school.
“If it were 98% vaccinated I’d be less apprehensive,” said School Board member Christopher Suarez. “But the reality is there are 422 staff in our building who don’t have the vaccine. That is a lot of people. I do want to make sure good policy is implemented. I don’t want to be rash or unreasonable, but I think at a minimum we need to have some sort of firm resolution today that tells staff there will be mandatory testing. If you don’t have a bonafide medical or religious reason, you will want to get that first dose tomorrow.”
Others on the school board said they had similar concerns and urged their colleagues to pursue mandatory vaccination to the extent allowable under law.
“My feeling is, if for religious or some health reason a teacher can’t be vaccinated, that should be acceptable,” said School Board member Margaret Lorber, “but otherwise we should require all teachers and all staff.”
Some on the board said they were baffled by the decision of some staff not to get vaccinated.
“I am curious for those who are not getting vaccinated,” said School Board member Heather Thornton. “I want to know to the extent that we can know. All of the evidence coming up from above shows that this is the safe route to go.”
The School Board adjusted the agenda to allow the board to vote on a resolution that called for staff to come back to the City Council with a plan to move forward on vaccination requirements. There are still several uncertainties, like whether some vaccines can be required and how the schools would handle staffing shortages if there’s an outbreak. Superintendent Gregory Hutchings said ACPS is in conversation with the health department and is working to determine what kind of disciplinary action is allows to enforce the mandate.
“There’s a lot of grey because no one in Virginia has challenged this,” Hutchings said. “So it’s difficult when we don’t have any legal studies.”
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.
Notification:: The 200-400 blocks of King Street and both 100 Blocks of Lee St., Fairfax St., and Royal St. are closed to (drive thru) vehicle traffic for the Old Town Festival of Speed and Style until 4 p.m. today. pic.twitter.com/Wf0tEOYpNm
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) September 5, 2021
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.