May COVID-Updates

May 29th Update:

Face Coverings Required; Farmers’ Markets to Resume On-site Sales; Free Jobs Event

For Immediate Release: May 28, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Face Coverings Required Beginning Tomorrow 

The Governor's Executive Order 63 will require face coverings in indoor public settings starting tomorrow, May 29, and until further notice. This includes stores, governmental facilities, and public transportation. There will be exceptions for children under age 10; people with health conditions that do not allow them to wear face coverings; eating or drinking; and exercising. Violation of the order will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. For questions about the order, call the Virginia Department of Health at 877.ASK.VDH3. Watch a video to learn how to make and use cloth face coverings correctly. Remember that cloth face coverings do not protect the wearer; they protect other people from the wearer. They are not substitutes for staying home as much as possible and maintaining physical distance in public.

 Four Farmers’ Markets to Resume On-Site Sales 

The Del Ray, Four Mile Run, Old Town and Old Town North farmers' markets have submitted management plans to safely comply with the Governor's Forward Virginia Phase One blueprint for reopening, and may resume on-site sales. Vendors and staff must wear face coverings when entering or working at the market, and customers are strongly encouraged to do so, as well. Everyone should practice the Six Steps to Stop the Spread of COVID-19. Vendors will be required to use enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and there will continue to be no food preparation, food sampling, or on-site dining allowed. Customers are strongly encouraged to use pre-order and delivery options when offered; visit ALX at Home to browse options.  

Free Online Event for Job Seekers on May 29

The City of Alexandria Workforce Development Center and Catholic Charities of Arlington are hosting an online “Meet the Employer” event on Friday, May 29, 1-2 p.m. Job seekers will have the opportunity to meet the Premier Staffing Source team and learn more about immediate COVID-19 contact tracing employment opportunities in Virginia. Attendance and registration are free. Learn more about the event and how to register.

63 New COVID-19 Cases and 3 New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,887, including 44 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. As Northern Virginia moves into Phase One of the Forward Virginia blueprint, it is important to note that there is still community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 and everyone is safest at home. This is especially true for persons at higher risk for severe illness, including those who are pregnant, over the age of 65, or have underlying medical conditions. Those who do go out are reminded to remain 6 feet apart from others; wear a cloth face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained outdoors and at all times in indoor public spaces; and wash hands frequently.  

 

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115626.

May 28th Update:

Temporary Expansion of Outdoor Dining; Isolation and Quarantine Guidance; Food Distributions

For Immediate Release: May 27, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

City Council Approves Temporary Expansion of Outdoor Dining

The Alexandria City Council has approved a plan to allow restaurants to use sidewalks and parking spaces in front of their businesses for outdoor dining. This will help restaurants serve customers outdoors when Phase One of Governor Ralph Northam’s Forward Virginia blueprint takes effect in Northern Virginia on May 29. Outdoor dining under Executive Order 61 will be limited to 50 percent of the restaurant’s permitted capacity. Restaurants interested in participating must submit an application.

100 Block of King Street Closed to Vehicular Traffic During Phase One

In conjunction with the start of Phase One of the Forward Virginia blueprint in Northern Virginia on May 29, the City will temporarily close the 100 block of King Street to vehicular traffic. Lee Street will be restricted to local traffic only between Cameron and Prince Streets. These changes will allow restaurants to use portions of the sidewalk and street for outdoor dining tables as described above. A wide path will be maintained in the center of the street for pedestrians to maintain physical distancing while walking on the block, and for emergency vehicle access. These changes are not intended to create a pedestrian plaza or to encourage pedestrians to visit the area or to congregate. The temporary changes will remain in effect every day during Phase One, and the City will make a decision about next steps before the transition to Phase Two.

 

Signage outdoors and in businesses will remind the public to maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet, wear cloth face coverings as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and required by Executive Order 63, and wash hands regularly. Although restaurants are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages for carryout or delivery, these beverages are intended for responsible home consumption and may not be consumed in public places. The Alexandria Police Department will have increased presence on lower King Street and along the Waterfront to help maintain compliance with the law.

COVID-19: Isolation and Quarantine Guidance

The City and AHD have developed guidance for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, have been exposed to the virus, or have recovered from the illness. “When You Can Be Around Others" (also available in SpanishAmharic and Arabic) includes detailed guidance on how people in these situations may determine the safest time to leave isolation or quarantine.

ALIVE! Food Distributions

ALIVE! is providing four food distributions this week. Although attendees are encouraged to drive up for contactless distribution, walk-ups are also welcome and encouraged. Persons who choose to attend these distributions on foot are asked to wear face coverings, maintain 6 feet of physical distance, and bring reusable bags or carts to carry meals and food home. Food may not be consumed at any site.

  • Thursday, May 28: Charles Houston Recreation Center Parking Lot (901 Wythe St.), 4 p.m.- 5:30 p.m. Distribution of  meals and 1-2 bags of shelf-stable groceries. Held in partnership with the City, Washington Street United Methodist Church, Royal Restaurant, and the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
  • Thursday, May 28: William Ramsay Elementary School Parking Lot (5700 Sanger Ave.), 5-6 p.m. Distribution of meals and two bags of shelf-stable groceries and produce. Held in partnership with World Central Kitchen and Hunger Free Alexandria. 
  • Saturday, May 30: Truck-to-Trunk Food Distribution: Cora Kelly Elementary School (3600 Commonwealth Ave.), and John Adams Elementary School (5651 Rayburn Ave.) Parking Lots, 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Drive-through food distribution at both sites, with walk-throughs allowed. Distribution includes at least 4 bags of shelf stable groceries, fresh eggs, and a box of farm fresh produce while supplies last. 

 

City of Alexandria Announces COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Assistance Program

The City of Alexandria is now accepting applications for the COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Assistance Program (Program) which provides $4 million in funding for emergency rental assistance for Alexandria residents experiencing housing insecurity due to COVID-19 related loss of income. Applications received through Friday, May 29 will be reviewed as part of the first application cycle, with priority given to applicants in the Tier 1 income range (see more below). Applications received after May 29 will be reviewed on a rolling basis contingent on funding availability.

 

Funds in the amount of $600/month for up to three months will be provided directly to property owners on behalf of eligible tenants. Financial assistance will be provided regardless of citizenship status. To apply for rental assistance, visit www.alexandriava.gov/housing or call 703.746.4311.

 

To be eligible for the COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Assistance Program, households must meet the following criteria:

·         Live in the City of Alexandria corporate limits   

·         Document loss of income directly related to COVID-19       

·         Be current on rent as of March 31, 2020

·         Have a gross monthly household income, adjusted for household size, at or below the

          following program maximums:

o   Tier 1: $2,117 for 1-person household, $2,847 for 2-person household, $3,517 for 3-person household, $4,187 for 4-person household, $4,856 for 5-person household, $5,526 for 6-person household OR

o   Tier 2: $4,410 for 1-person household, $5,040 for 2-person household, $5,670 for 3-person household, $6,300 for 4-person household, $6,805 for 5-person household, $7,310 for 6-person household

 

There are restrictions on household assets.  Who is not eligible, generally:

·         Households with a tenant-based voucher

·         Households residing in project-based voucher communities

·         Households residing in public housing

·         Households receiving other government-based rental assistance, including rent relief

          through COVID-19 Community Development Block Grant funding

 

The COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Assistance Program is part of a broader effort to provide support to vulnerable Alexandrians and small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Planned rent relief, food security support, and small business assistance will be funded by $13.9 million allocated to the City of Alexandria through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

 

For more information on City of Alexandria Office of Housing resources and other housing opportunities, please contact us at 703.746.4990, download our Housing Resource Guide, or visit our webpage. To learn about housing resources in response to the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Housing Resources webpage.

 

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115604.

May 27th Update:

Moving to Phase One; Face Coverings Order; Recreation Reopening Phases; Food Distribution

For Immediate Release: May 26, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Gov. Northam to Allow Northern Virginia to Move to Phase One Reopening

Governor Northam announced today that he will allow Northern Virginia to move from Phase Zero to Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” blueprint for reopening on Friday, May 29. Phase One lifts some restrictions on businesses while continuing measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The region will move to a “Safer at Home” strategy, which continues the ban on gatherings of more than 10 people and maintains standards for physical distancing, teleworking, and wearing face coverings. Details of the Phase One reopening for Northern Virginia are expected to be published on Wednesday.

 

Face Coverings Required Statewide Starting Friday

Governor Northam announced today that effective Friday, May 29, Virginians will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public places, including in stores, governmental facilities, and public transportation. There will be exceptions for children under age 10; people with health conditions that do not allow them to wear face coverings; eating or drinking; and exercising.  

 

City Announces Reopening Phases for Recreation Activities

The City has announced reopening phases for programs and services offered by the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA). The timing of the RPCA reopening phases is anticipated to align with the phases in the Governor’s “Forward Virginia” blueprint for Northern Virginia, but is subject to change. Programs and facilities will operate according to federal, state and local health guidelines, which include significant adjustments to capacity and format. Fewer participants than usual will be accommodated during the first two phases in summer camps, classes, pools, fitness rooms and more. Some facility amenities will remain closed until it is safe to reopen in accordance with guidelines. Visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation for reopening updates, including details about registration and participation. 

 

World Central Kitchen Meal Distribution on May 28 

In partnership with World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit food distribution organization founded by chef José Andrés, meals will be distributed at Ramsay Elementary School on Thursday, May 28, at 5 p.m, and groceries will be distributed by the nonprofit community organization ALIVE! For more information, view the event flyer in English or Spanish.

 

31 New COVID-19 Cases and 3 New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,785, including 41 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store. 
 

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115578.

May 26th Update:

Successful Day of Community Testing; City Events this week

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Successful Day of Community Testing

The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) and the City of Alexandria supported two free COVID-19 community testing events today, at which samples were collected from approximately 3,000 drive-through and walk-up participants at sites in the Arlandria and West End areas. Each testing participant will receive results once they are available, and those who test positive for COVID-19 will receive specific guidance from AHD about how to protect themselves and others. Case and test counts will be added to Alexandria’s overall data on the Virginia Department of Health Daily Dashboard as they are reported. A separate summary detailing the May 25 community testing is expected to be available next week.

Although testing was open to anyone over the age of 2, today’s events were held primarily for community members who have not previously been able to access testing. These events were funded by the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, with significant in-kind support from AHD, the City, volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps, and the Virginia Army National Guard.

City Events and Activities this Week 

Many City meetings, events and activities can now be attended virtually, including a May 26 City Council meeting devoted entirely to issues related to COVID-19. This week’s activities include live concerts, fitness classes and workshops. The City Calendar has a complete list of virtual opportunities, as well as cancellations

21 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,754, including 38 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

May 22nd Update:

Emergency Rent Relief

For Immediate Release: May 21, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Emergency Rent Relief Assistance Program Launched

The City is providing short-term emergency rental assistance to help Alexandria renters experiencing housing insecurity due to COVID-19 related loss of income. A total of $600 per month for up to three months may be paid directly to property owners on behalf of eligible tenants. Financial assistance will be provided regardless of citizenship status. Visit the COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Assistance Program webpage to learn more or apply. 

New Resources for Those Impacted by COVID-19

Includes multi-language resources, food distribution by chef Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen, job opportunities, housing assistance and more. Please share these resources with others, particularly those who are in need and vulnerable residents. Learn more.

67 New COVID-19 Cases and 3 New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,627, including 37 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.
 

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 This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115551.

May 21st Update:

Free Community Testing May 25; COVID-19 Screening Tool

For Immediate Release: May 20, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Free Community Testing on May 25

AHD and the City are supporting two free COVID-19 community testing events on Monday, May 25, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Drive-through and walk-up testing will be available at Landmark Mall (5801 Duke St.; enter from Van Dorn St.). Walk-up testing only will be available at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology (3600 Commonwealth Ave.). 

Everyone visiting a testing site should wear a cloth face covering or surgical mask, and walk-up participants should wear sunscreen. 

Testing will be open to anyone over the age of 2, but the primary purpose will be for community members who have not previously been able to access testing. These testing sites will not require doctor referrals, appointments, or identification. Spanish, Arabic, and Amharic translators will be available on-site. This event is made possible through funding by the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, with significant in-kind support from AHD and the City.

COVID-19 Screening Tool

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House, in conjunction with Apple, have developed a detailed COVID-19 Screening Tool that can help users check symptoms and determine what to do next if they think they have COVID-19, The site also provides links to state health departments, resources, COVID-19 updates, and more.

33 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,577, including 34 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115537

 

May 20th Update:

City of Alexandria Announces Schedule of Services for Week of Memorial Day, May 25

For Immediate Release: May 19, 2020

City of Alexandria government offices and facilities remain closed to the public except by appointment. The following list includes schedule information for City services and partner agencies for the week of Memorial Day (May 25). For links to detailed information about changes to City services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus

Resource Recovery: Residential refuse and recycling will not be collected on Monday, May 25. Collection services will be moved one day later during the week of May 25. The Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Center (3224 Colvin St.) is open on Saturdays only (including May 23) until further notice.

Animal Shelter: The Vola Lawson Animal Shelter will be open on Monday, May 25, by appointment only. To make an appointment, email info@alexandriaanimals.org or call 703.746.4774.

Health Facilities: The Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St.), the Flora Krause Casey Health Center (1200 N. Howard St.) and the Teen Wellness Center at T.C. Williams High School (3330 King St.) will be closed on Monday, May 25.

Historic Alexandria: All City museums remain closed to the public until further notice. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/Historic or call 703.746.4554.

Hotlines: All emergency hotlines operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including the child protective services hotline at 703.746.5800; the domestic violence hotline at 703.746.4911; the emergency services for mental health or substance abuse crisis hotline at 703.746.3401; the adult protective services hotline at 703.746.5778 and the sexual assault hotline at 703.683.7273. For immediate police, fire or emergency medical assistance, call or text 911.

Libraries: All Alexandria Library branches and the Alexandria Law Library (520 King St.) remain closed to the public until further notice. 

Parking: On Monday, May 25, the Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions for metered spaces, residential permit parking districts and other areas with posted parking time limits. This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces and does not permit parking in any location normally prohibited, including no parking zones, loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities). Temporary no-parking signs will be enforced on May 25.

Impound Lot: The City’s Impound Facility (5249 Eisenhower Ave.) will be closed on May, 25.

Recreation and Arts Centers: All City recreation, nature and art centers remain closed to the public until further notice..

Outdoor Pools: All City pools remain closed to the public until further notice. Visit alexandriava.gov/Aquatics for more information.

Schools: All Alexandria City Public Schools and administrative offices remain closed until further notice.

State Offices: The Alexandria Courthouse at 520 King St. (housing the Alexandria Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, the Alexandria Circuit Court, the Alexandria General District Court and the Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court) remains closed to the public until further notice. Courts and clerks are available for certain emergency proceedings and appointment-only services; for more information, see alexandriava.gov/Courts. All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) locations in Northern Virginia (including 2681 Mill Road) remain closed to the public until further notice. Many DMV services are available online.

Transit: On Monday, May 25, regular DASH bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule. Service on the free King Street Trolley remains suspended until further notice. For more information, visit dashbus.com.

For media information, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at andrea.blackford@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3959.

 

 Managing Workplace Fatigue

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided general strategies workers and employers can use to manage workplace fatigue. Workers providing essential services to the community, including emergency responders and health care workers, have been especially stretched thin. They are working longer hours than usual, working more shifts or even overnight, and leaving less time to sleep and recharge. For optimal health and well-being, most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, along with opportunities for rest while awake. Long work hours and shift work, combined with stressful or physically demanding work, can lead to poor sleep, extreme fatigue, and increased risk for injury and deteriorating health (infections, illnesses, and mental health disorders). The CDC page also includes training information from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health for emergency responders and nurses.

 

May 19th Update:

Rare Pediatric Condition Possibly Linked to Coronavirus; World Central Kitchen Food Distribution; Virginia Beach Opens Soon

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Rare Pediatric Condition Possibly Linked to COVID-19

AHD is closely monitoring reports in the United States and internationally about the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) possibly linked to COVID-19. MIS-C is a rare but serious inflammatory condition that affects the heart and other organs. Symptoms in children include fever lasting several days along with irritability or sluggishness, abdominal pain with no explanation, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, red or pink eyes, enlarged lymph node on one side of the neck, red cracked lips or red tongue that looks like a strawberry, or swollen hands or feet that might also be red.

Call your doctor immediately if your child becomes ill and has a continued fever. If your child is severely ill, you should go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately. Continue to take steps (face coverings, hand washing, physical distancing) to prevent your child from being exposed to COVID-19.

 

City Assists World Central Kitchen With Meal Distribution 

On May 14, City staff and volunteers distributed 1,250 hot meals to 350 families in the third food distribution organized in Alexandria by World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit food distribution organization founded by chef José Andrés. Local nonprofit ALIVE! also distributed 800 pounds of food at the event. This food distribution will take place again at Casa Chirilagua on May 21 and Ramsay Elementary School on May 28. For details about locations and times for this meal distribution, and more information on food programs, visit the City’s Food Assistance webpage.

 

34 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,510, including 34 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

 

Northam To Reopen Virginia Beach In Time For Memorial Day Weekend

Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday he would reinstate restrictions or close beaches if social distancing guidelines aren't followed.

By Emily Leayman, Patch Staff 
May 18, 2020 4:40 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2020 5:09 pm ET

VIRGINIA — Gov. Ralph Northam will allow the beaches in Virginia Beach to open for recreational activity on Friday, May 22, ahead of Memorial Day weekend. The change only applies to the City of Virginia Beach and First Landing State Park, both of which will follow a plan for enforcing coronavirus-related safety guidelines. Other beachfront localities remain under restrictions, which allow fishing and exercise only on beaches.

Virginia Beach's visitors will be allowed to sunbathe, swim, fish, surf and exercise as outlined by local ordinance, according to Northam. Activities not allowed on beaches are group sports, alcohol consumption, use of speakers, use of tents and groups of umbrellas. Parking will be capped at 50 percent capacity.

Northam said in a news conference Monday Virginia Beach and other beachfront localities have been preparing comprehensive plans on reopening beaches. Northam asked other beachfront areas to use Virginia Beach's plan as a model for their plans.

Under Virginia Beach's enforcement plan, beach ambassadors will monitor compliance with social distancing, physical distancing and other safety guidelines. Enhanced cleaning will address high-touch areas. The change comes as other East Coast beach destinations announced reopening policies in recent days. Ocean City, Maryland allowed short-term rental restrictions as of 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 14. Localities in North Carolina's Outer Banks will allow visitors beginning Saturday, May 16. Delaware beaches will open for recreation to state residents on Friday, May 22, but a mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state residents and ban on short term rentals continue.

May 18th Update:

VDH and AHD Job Openings; Virtual Events and Activities

For Immediate Release: May 17, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

 

VDH and AHD Hiring Public Health Staff

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is hiring 1,300 contractors for work related to COVID-19 contact tracing, including district case investigators, district contact tracers, regional testing coordinators, contact tracing supervisors, district data managers, and regional analytics coordinators. For more information and a list of staffing agencies, visit the Virginia Department of Health Coronavirus page and look for the orange box on the left.

The Alexandria Health Department (a division of VDH) is seeking candidates for Communications OfficerSenior Epidemiologist, and two Public Health Nurse positions in the areas of Sexual Reproductive Health and Tuberculosis/Newcomer Health

 

Virtual City Events and Activities this Week 

Many City meetings, events and activities can now be attended virtually. This week’s activities include live concerts, fitness classes and workshops. The City Calendar has a complete list of virtual opportunities, as well as cancellations.

 

Metro, DASH to Require Face Coverings Effective May 18

Effective Monday, May 18, face coverings or masks will be required when traveling in all Metro stations, trains, buses, and MetroAccess vehicles, and all Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) buses. Per CDC guidance, face coverings may include bandanas, scarves, neck gaiters or homemade coverings easily made from t-shirts or other materials at minimal cost. Medical-grade masks should be prioritized for first responders and hospitals, and should not be used for this purpose. View a video from AHD for guidance on how to properly make and use a cloth face covering.

In accordance with current executive orders and public guidance, riders are reminded that these transit systems are open for essential travel only, and the public is encouraged to stay at home whenever possible. 

 

“Pandemic Parenting” Webinar

Formed Families Forward, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting foster, kinship, and adoptive families of children and youth with disabilities and other special needs, is presenting a webinar Pandemic Parenting: Brain Science, Help, and Hope on Monday, May 18, at 3 p.m. This session offers first-hand perspectives on why the COVID-19 reality is so challenging for parents and caregivers, and what they can do to promote resilient responses in ourselves and their children. The session will offer practical parenting tips, informed by brain science, and attendees will come away from this presentation empowered and confident to know their families will get through these challenging times. Registration is required

 

Virginia 30 Day Fund Provides Loans for Small Businesses

The nonprofit Virginia 30 Day Fund provides forgivable loans for Virginia-based small businesses. The loan is intended to provide immediate financial assistance to meet payroll, preserve healthcare coverage for employees, and save jobs. Help is designed to be quick, easy, and free of red tape, as small business owners work to keep employees on board in the near term. 

 

Alcoholic Beverages: Take Home, Not “Takeout”

Although bars and restaurants are temporarily allowed to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks along with food for carryout or delivery, these beverages are intended for home consumption. City Code prohibits consuming alcohol or carrying open containers of alcohol in public places, including parks, streets, sidewalks, alleys; any other public or private property open to the public; and vehicles in those locations. Bars and restaurants are helping distribute reminder cards to customers. Please consume alcoholic beverages responsibly, and at home.

 

Running Essential Errands Safely

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided updated advice about how to stay safe and healthy when running essential errands, such as buying groceries and medicine, and completing banking activities. Topics covered include shopping for groceries and household essentials; accepting delivery and takeout orders; banking; getting gasoline; and going to the doctor or getting medicine.

 

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115476.

 

May 15th Update:

Alexandria City Council to Hold Open Comment Public Hearing May 16

For Immediate Release: May 14, 2020

On Saturday, May 16, at 9:30 a.m., the Alexandria City Council will hold its regular monthly public hearing meeting. Due to COVID-19 physical distancing precautions, the meeting will be held virtually. Since there are no other items on the docket for Saturday’s meeting, the public is invited to speak on any topic, including comments about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting will be broadcast live on Comcast cable channel 70 and streamed on the City's website at alexandriava.gov/Dockets. To speak at the meeting, register by submitting a Speaker's Form for docket item 2. As an alternative to speaking, members of City Council may be contacted individually or as a group through the links at alexandriava.gov/Council

For reasonable disability accommodation, call 703.746.4550 (TTY/TDD 703.838.5056).

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New Testing Data; New Food Benefits; Household Hazardous Waste Drop Off Reopens Saturdays 

For Immediate Release: May 14, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Virginia Department of Health Releases Information on Testing Data:

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) today released COVID-19 testing data broken out by diagnostic (PCR) and antibody (serology) tests. A diagnostic test uses an oral or nasal swab to determine whether the patient had the COVID-19 virus at the time the sample was collected. An antibody test uses a blood sample to tell whether the patient has had the virus at anytime in the past. In Virginia, antibody tests make up less than 9% of overall tests. When antibody tests are removed from total results, there is little change in the percentage of positives and no difference in overall trends. VDH defines a case as confirmed when there is a positive diagnostic test. A goal in monitoring the number of testing encounters, and the percentage of COVID-19 tests that are positive, is to gauge the capacity of the healthcare system to perform COVID-19 testing. In the past three weeks, the number of antibody tests being used in Virginia has increased. Due to this change, going forward, VDH will provide a breakdown of the COVID-19 test data by all test types, and by PRC tests.

 

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer for Families with Children

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a temporary food benefit available in Virginia to families with children who would have received free or reduced-price meals if schools were open. The purpose of the P-EBT benefit is to supplement existing nutrition programs for low-income households during the pandemic. It does not replace meals provided through the school programs during unexpected closures, such as the summer meal programs that will begin when the school year ends. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) will issue benefits to eligible households with a total benefit of $376 per eligible student. Virginia households are eligible if they have students who are either eligible for free or reduced-price school meals or enrolled in a school that provides free meals to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision or another provision. Households do not have to apply for P-EBT; schools will provide information for all eligible students directly to VDSS. If you believe there are eligible students in your household, but you do not receive P-EBT by the middle of June, call 804.726.7000. For more information, read Frequently Asked Questions in English and Spanish.

 

Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Drop-off Center to Open on Saturdays 

The City has reopened its Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Drop-off Center on Saturdays only, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The center closed last month to minimize risk to employees and the public, but will reopen on a limited basis to accommodate residents who cannot store materials at home indefinitely (such as those who are moving). Before visiting the center, please consider whether materials can be stored at home until a later date, when normal operations resume. For more information, including guidelines for visiting the center and a list of acceptable items, visit the Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Drop-off Center web page or alexandriava.gov/ResourceRecovery

 

44 New COVID-19 Cases and 1 New Fatality Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,349, including 32 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115431.

May 14th Update:

New Rental, Food, Small Business Programs Coming; Checking Symptoms; Reviewing Development Plans Online

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department  strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

 

City Council Approves COVID-19 Support Programs

At its May 12 meeting, the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved three programs to provide support to vulnerable Alexandrians and small businesses affected by COVID-19 pandemic. These rent relief, food security support and small business programs will be funded by $13.9 million allocated to the City through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

The $4 million Residential Rental Assistance Program will target eligible renters who have suffered income loss due to COVID-19; the $2.4 million Food Security Plan will support large-scale food distributions, home delivery for seniors, and augment ongoing food programs; and the $2.4 million Small Business Grants Program will provide eligible businesses with grants to offset costs and investments related to reopening. The programs are not yet accepting applications; additional information will be announced as soon as it is available.

 

Cold, Allergies, or COVID-19?

COVID-19 shares some of the same symptoms caused by the flu, colds, and other illnesses, including fever and cough. Seasonal allergies, with similar symptoms, are on the rise. For those unsure of their symptoms, the Virginia Department of Health has developed a graphic comparing symptoms of allergies, a cold, strep throat, flu, and COVID-19. If you think you may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor right away to ask whether you should come in for screening or a test. You can also call one of these healthcare facilities that provide COVID-19 screening and testing (Spanish | Amharic | Arabic ). If you have chest pain or trouble breathing, call or text 911 immediately.

 

Reviewing Development Plans Online

This is the fifth and final story in a series about ways the City has used innovative telework solutions to help protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff from the City’s Departments of Code Administration, Planning & Zoning, and Transportation & Environmental Services are reviewing electronic plans for construction and development from home. Using the City’s new APEX permitting system, which was launched in November 2019, applicants can upload plans; track the status of their reviews; and receive permits online. This reduces contact between staff and customers while speeding the time from application to permit issuance. Staff have also been able to hold virtual meetings with applicants and their architects, engineers and land use lawyers, with proposed plans displayed simultaneously for joint review and discussion by all parties. This is often more efficient and effective than prior face-to-face meetings.

 

65 New COVID-19 Cases and 1 Fatality Added in Alexandria

 

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,305, including 31 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115420.
 

May 13th Update:

City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Phase One Reopening Delayed for NoVA; Updated Guidance for Funerals; Answering 911 and 311 Calls at Home

For Immediate Release: May 12, 2020

 

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Phase One Reopening Delayed for Northern Virginia 

Today, Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order Sixty-Two, delaying Northern Virginia’s transition to Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” reopening plan. This means the existing stay-at-home order and restrictions on certain business operations for Phase Zero will remain in effect in Northern Virginia until at least May 29, while the rest of the state is expected to move to Phase One on May 15. This allows Northern Virginia localities more time to achieve the health milestones required to move to Phase One. The order applies to the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park; the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William; and the towns in those counties. 

 

CDC Updates Funeral Guidance for Individuals and Families

Grieving the loss of a loved one, along with the fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic, can be overwhelming. It may be difficult for people to make decisions about how to safely grieve and honor their loved one. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided updated guidance for individuals and families working with funeral directors, community and religious leaders, and others to plan and hold funeral services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance also includes recommendations for adapting funeral-related traditions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

Answering 911 and 311 Calls at Home

This is the fourth in a series of stories this week about ways the City has used innovative telework solutions to help protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the “first of the first responders,” public safety telecommunicators in the City’s Department of Emergency and Customer Communications (DECC) dispatch service calls for police officers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, and staff from many other departments. Department staff also handle requests for customer services through Alex311. Early in the pandemic crisis, DECC leadership recognized the critical importance of providing for continuity of operations in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. Staff were divided into separate groups to maintain physical distance and prevent the possibility for infection to spread across all staff. Each group worked at the City’s primary Emergency Communications Center, a backup center, or in temporary isolation at a hotel or office.

 

Beginning March 6, another group of employees tested the ability to answer non-emergency calls remotely. After a successful one-month pilot, Alexandria became the first city in the United States to enable some staff to answer 911 calls from home. Rather than relying on employees’ home phone or internet connections, this remote setup uses wireless hotspots connected to a dedicated national public safety network called FirstNet. Regardless of the location, staff comply with the same strict confidentiality and quality assurance standards, and have access to the same computer-aided dispatch system that helps route public safety resources.

 

16 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

 

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,240, including 30 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

 

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115407.

May 12th Update:

Reopening NoVA; Caring for Someone Sick at Home; New Cleaning Guidance; Virtual Job Fair; Virtual Code Inspections

For Immediate Release: May 11, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Update on Phased Reopening in Northern Virginia

On May 10, the chief elected officials of the five largest localities in Northern Virginia sent a letter to Governor Northam, supporting his “Forward Virginia” reopening plan in general but urging him to implement it for the region only once regional threshold metrics have been met. Although the metrics appear likely to be met statewide by May 15, the region’s health directors have determined that this does not appear to be the case for Northern Virginia. Earlier today, Governor Northam indicated that a decision on the next steps for reopening Northern Virginia would be announced no later than May 13.

 

Caring for Someone Sick at Home

New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes updated information on caring for someone with COVID-19 at home or in a non-healthcare setting. The guidance outlines what to do when someone has symptoms of COVID-19 or when someone has been diagnosed with the virus, as well as strategies for caregivers to keep themselves safe. This information also should be followed when caring for people who have tested positive but are not showing symptoms. Notably, older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for developing more severe illness from COVID-19. People at higher risk of severe illness should call their doctor as soon as symptoms begin.

 

New CDC Cleaning Guidance for Businesses and Homes

New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines specific best practices for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes. As states begin considering reopening plans, the CDC urges all organizations to make a cleaning and disinfecting plan to ensure that both employees and the public stay safe. A flowchart on the CDC website helps you determine what to clean and disinfect and how to do so safely.  

 

Virtual Job Fair on May 13

Virginia Career Works is hosting three sessions of a Virtual Job Fair on May 13, at 9-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Participants will need access to the internet and a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Participation is free, but registration is required. Once registered, job seekers can preview participating employers and job opportunities. During the three sessions, participants will have the opportunity to meet employers via text chats in a private chat room. Employers will also have the ability to initiate one-on-one video chats with job seekers. Watch a video to learn more about how the event will work. Learn more about the Virtual Job Fair or register now.

 

Conducting Virtual Code Inspections

This is the third in a series of stories this week about ways the City has used innovative telework solutions to help protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To avoid close contact between staff and customers, the Department of Code Administration has offered virtual inspections of occupied residential interiors since March 24. Customers can schedule a time with inspectors to show their properties via streaming video on smartphones or tablets. If a residential interior inspection is too complex to be conducted virtually, the customer may use a pre-approved, certified third-party inspector. Customers eligible for virtual inspections may schedule them directly with the inspectors assigned to their inspection appointments. In-person inspections are still conducted for residential exteriors, inspections for new residential construction, and all commercial inspections.

 

31 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,224, including 30 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

 

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115382.

 

May 11th Update:

Keeping Children Vaccinated; Police and Teleworking; Virtual Events & Activities in Alexandria

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2020

 

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Keep Children Vaccinated

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country could begin experiencing outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases because children are not getting the necessary immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. A newly released study found vaccinations of children and vaccine orders dropped in late March, about a week after a national emergency was declared. Vaccinations and well-child doctor visits are essential to avoid outbreaks and to keep children protected.  

Telework Helped Police Enhance Patrol and Lower Risk in April

This is the second in a series of stories this week about ways the City has used innovative telework solutions to help protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the closure of public schools on March 16 and the first state physical distancing order on March 23, many police officers in specialty units such as school resource, traffic safety and community relations were not able to engage in their normal assignments. The Police Department also experienced a 42% reduction in calls for service due to community compliance with physical distancing guidance and the March 30 statewide stay-at-home order. At some points in April, each patrol officer averaged only a single call for service during their entire shifts. As a result of COVID-19 impacts, there were substantially fewer officers on vacation, out sick, on military duty, on restricted duty due to injury, in training, or on special assignments. All these factors combined to provide the Police Department with a unique opportunity to implement telework.

 

During the month of April, officers from specialty units were merged with patrol divisions to increase the roster from which routine patrol shifts could be staffed. This allowed for some officers at a time to rotate through one-week telework periods, while the department still met required staffing levels on the street. This helped preserve PPE supplies, which were limited at the time; avoided risk to officers and their vehicles from potential exposure to the virus; and modeled the stay-at-home guidance everyone in the community was expected to follow. 

 

During telework periods, officers received reports of past offenses by telephone; followed up on past offenses by telephone and email; and completed online training. Calls for service that did not require in-person response could be dispatched to home-based officers, which resulted in more availability of patrol officers to respond to higher-priority calls. Telework periods also provided a less stressful time for officers and their families and a rare respite for front-line first responders. The telework model helped provide physical distance between officers to avoid the spread of infection and preserve staffing levels in the event of a wider outbreak.

 

Once PPE inventories stabilized, physical distancing guidelines in offices (such as spacing out occupied workstations and desks) were implemented; physical distancing approaches during patrol contacts were refined; demands on patrol and assignment needs were reviewed; officers from specialty units were reassigned to Police Headquarters in May; and the patrol divisions returned to their usual roster size without telework. As warmer weather draws more members of the public to crowded areas, this also keeps more officers available for immediate dispatch if needed.

Virtual City Events and Activities this Week 

Many City meetings, events and activities can now be attended virtually. This week’s activities include live concerts, fitness classes and workshops. The City Calendar has a complete list of virtual opportunities, as well as cancellations.  

51 New COVID-19 Cases and No Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 1,193, including 30 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115344.

May 8th Update:

Alexandria Health Department Provides Context to VDH Release of New COVID-19 Zip Code Data

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2020

 

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has published new data on COVID-19 cases by ZIP code, which show rates in Alexandria that vary from 2.3 to 19.7 cases per 1,000 residents for ZIP codes that can be reliably calculated. Viruses do not respect geographic boundaries, and ZIP codes are largely arbitrary areas that vary in shape and size. 

 

Since there is community-wide transmission of COVID-19 and people may have the virus without showing symptoms, everyone in Alexandria is at risk of infection. It is critical for everyone to stay home except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. Everyone should also keep 6 feet apart from others when in public; wear a cloth face covering over the nose and mouth when physical distance cannot be maintained; and continue meticulous hand hygiene - washing hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water or, when a sink is not readily available, using hand gel with at least 60% alcohol. 

New ZIP Code Data

The recent data release is a change from VDH’s long-standing policy not to disclose data at the ZIP code level, which is particularly important to protect patient privacy when there are relatively few cases of a disease. Now that there are more than 21,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout Virginia, the risk to patient privacy is lower and VDH is publishing ZIP code data to help communities identify differences in the distribution of COVID-19 cases.

 

The City of Alexandria has provided the estimated population for each local ZIP code, so the number of cases per 1,000 residents can be compared. As of May 7, VDH has reported the following positive and probable COVID-19 cases:

ZIP Code Estimated Population
(in Alexandria Portion of ZIP code)
Confirmed Cases per ZIP code Total People Tested Positivity Rate* Tests Per 1,000 Residents Confirmed Cases Per 1,000 Residents
22206 530 ** ** ** ** **
22301 15,171 35 282 12.4% 18.6 2.3
22302 20,238 101 378 26.7% 18.7 5.0
22304 54,003 296 1,142 25.9% 21.1 5.5
22305 16,095 317 572 55.4% 35.5 19.7
22311*** 16,898 190*** 517*** 36.8%*** *** ***
22312*** 6,901 196*** 659*** 29.7%*** *** ***
22314 47,826 113 687 16.4% 14.4 2.4

* The positivity rate is the number of confirmed cases divided by the number of tests.

** ZIP code 22206 is mostly in Arlington County; the Alexandria portion of data for 22206 is not provided, therefore the numbers and calculations would not be reliable for reporting for Alexandria. 

*** ZIP codes 22311 and 22312 are shared between Alexandria and Fairfax County. The number of cases and number of people tested presented in this table, and accompanying calculations, are for the entire ZIP code. Cases per 1,000 Alexandrians cannot be reliably calculated.

 

It is important to note that the virus has widespread community transmission throughout all of Alexandria, northern Virginia, and Washington DC and Maryland. An individual’s risk of becoming infected is based on many factors, including individual exposures and health status, environmental conditions, policies and practices of businesses, and individual behaviors. 

Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19

Although viruses do not discriminate, the COVID-19 virus disproportionately impacts vulnerable populations just as other diseases and health conditions do. The ZIP codes with the highest rates of known COVID-19 cases in Alexandria are also the ZIP codes with higher concentrations of poverty, lower education levels, and crowded housing conditions. The populations living in some ZIP codes have historically experienced discriminatory policies and systems, resulting in inequitable access to healthcare, economic opportunities and affordable housing. 

 

Inequitable conditions have created disproportionate rates of chronic health issues resulting in large differences in life expectancy across Alexandria. Now, these chronic health issues also make people more susceptible to severe disease from COVID-19 infection. Additionally, these community members are more likely to work in jobs where they are underpaid, do not receive paid sick leave, and are not afforded telework opportunities, creating additional risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

What the Alexandria Health Department is Doing

The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) has been working with vulnerable populations, community leaders and activists in communities of color and disadvantage for decades, including in the battles against HIV/AIDS, other communicable diseases, and teen pregnancy. AHD provides those communities targeted prevention services such as Immunization and Sexual & Reproductive Health Clinics and the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

 

AHD’s efforts engage residents and partners to identify barriers to ideal health, to help build solutions that make sense for everyone. AHD’s Community Health Assessment underscores the existing disparities in Alexandria. The project’s steering committee – a group of committed, diverse community members and leaders – used equity as their guide throughout the process. Community members reviewed the results of this work and chose three focal points – poverty, housing and mental health – for a five-year Community Health Improvement Plan, developed in tandem with the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria.

 

Since originally becoming aware of COVID-19 in late 2019, AHD has been working with community partners that serve populations at high risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19. This has included targeted messaging to inform all Alexandrians, of all levels of health literacy, of what COVID-19 is, how to reduce the risk of catching it, where to seek testing and medical care, and how to take care of one’s self and loved ones at home who may become ill. 

 

AHD works with healthcare providers to inform them about the disease, how to protect their staff and patients, and how to conduct testing. AHD has also provided personal protective equipment to healthcare providers willing to perform COVID-19 testing, in an effort to increase testing options for community members. Additionally, AHD prioritizes efforts to protect Alexandrians most at risk, particularly those over the age of 65 and those living in congregate living facilities (e.g. long-term care facilities, group homes, the jail and detention center).

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115271.

May 7th Update:

Share Positive Messages Through #SpreadCheerALX

The City invites the community to share positive messages and post photos on social media with the hashtag #SpreadCheerALX. Messages can be displayed as signs in windows or yards, chalk art on driveways, notes to workers on trash cans, or decorated rocks in yards. Messages should highlight the “Six Steps to Stop the Spread“ of COVID-19, thank essential workers for supporting our community, or other messages of gratitude, hope, resilience, solidarity, or good cheer. Find out how you can help spread cheer!

Virginia Resilience Week

During Resilience Week, May 3-9, the City reminds residents that building resilience can help individuals and communities bounce back from difficult experiences, like the COVID-19 crisis. Play is both fun and good for you! The American Academy of Pediatrics explains that children engaging in play is key to building healthy brains, bodies and social bonds. Play can improve children's language, math and social skills as well as their abilities to plan and cope with stress. And the benefits of play aren’t limited to children. Studies show that laughter can help adults relieve pain and even increase immunity. So do your body good by making room for joy! Explore ways you can build resilience through play on 

Alexandria COVID-19 Resource Catalog

The City and AHD have produced many information products to help inform the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. All items in the COVID-19 Resource Catalog are available as downloadable PDFs for distribution or reproduction by residents, businesses and organizations. 

Sign Up for Smart911

The City urges all residents to sign up for the Smart911 service. This free service allows individuals and businesses to create online safety profiles with home, workplace and mobile phone numbers, along with additional information that would be valuable to dispatchers and first responders during an emergency. This information often includes home or work addresses, details about medical conditions, hazardous materials on the property, pets, and emergency contacts. Users are prompted to update their safety profiles every six months to ensure their information remains accurate. Even with a safety profile, it is still important that 911 callers, particularly those with mobile phones, provide their current locations to dispatchers at the start of each call. Visit the City’s Smart 911 webpage to set up a safety profile, or call 311 or 703.746.4311 for more information.

May 6th Update:

City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; New Guidance for Community, Faith-Based Organizations; Keep Medical Appointments; #TraumaInformedTuesday

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, and wear a cloth face covering if you cannot maintain physical distance. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Updated Guidance for Community and Faith-Based Organization

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued updated guidance for community- and faith-based organizations (CFBOs). The guidance is intended for administrators and leaders of congregations and places of worship, voluntary social service agencies and other nonprofit organizations, and community organizations. It answers frequently asked questions for CFBOs; provides updated information on how to plan, prepare and respond to COVID-19; offers a checklist for CFBO leaders, and more. 

Keep Medical Appointments, Seek Emergency Care if Needed

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department urge residents to continue needed medical appointments and treatments they need for non-COVID-19 related conditions, and to seek emergency care if a life-threatening medical condition arises. A new poll from Morning Consult and the American College of Emergency Physicians shows that nearly a third of American adults are delaying or avoiding medical care due to COVID-19 related concerns. Data from the poll also confirm people are avoiding going to the hospital to get emergency medical care. While it is important to stay home and follow physical distancing guidelines, trips for medical appointments are exempt from the Virginia stay-at-home order. It is also critical to know when to go to the emergency roomIf you are experiencing a life threatening emergency, call or text 911.

Virginia Resilience Week: #TraumaInformedTuesday

During Resilience WeekMay 3-9, the City reminds residents that building resilience can help individuals and communities bounce back from difficult experiences, like the COVID-19 crisis. Today’s topic is trauma, experiences that cause intense physical and psychological stress reactions. Trauma can refer to a single event, multiple events or a set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically and emotionally harmful or threatening. Understanding past trauma in ourselves and others helps us build resiliency. Visit the City’s Resilience Week page to learn more. 

43 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 983, including 26 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. As Virginia starts considering phased relaxation of current restrictions, it is still critical for all community members -- even those who do not have a diagnosed illness and especially those at high risk for severe disease -- to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115252.

May 5th Update:

Guidelines for Phased State Reopening; Virginia National Guard Assists with LTCF Survey; #MindfulMonday

For Immediate Release: May 4, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care, and keep 6 feet apart from others when in public. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Governor Northam Announces Guidelines for Phased State Reopening

Governor Ralph Northam announced today that since the rate of COVID-19 infection in Virginia has slowed and hospitals have not been overwhelmed, the state may begin easing public health restrictions later this month. Reopening is dependent on further decreasing the rates of positive tests and hospitalizations over the next 14 days; stable supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE); and an adequate number of hospital beds. Northam’s amendment of Executive Order 53, restricting business operations, was extended until May 15 in order to track progress on these percentages. 

Executive Order 55, the stay-at-home order in effect until June, may also be modified to a less restrictive “safer at home” policy. Under the first phase of reopening, businesses would still have to maintain physical distancing and implement enhanced cleaning and workplace safety measures. Additional details will be released in the coming days. The risk from COVID-19 has not passed, and it is critical to continue practicing physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings when physical distancing measures in public cannot be maintained, and other steps to stop the spread of COVID-19

AHD Coordinates Point Prevalence Survey with Virginia National Guard

AHD is working with the Virginia National Guard to conduct point prevalence surveys (PPS) at long-term care facilities (LTCFs), to collect more information about how COVID-19 is affecting Alexandria. A PPS is a data collection tool used to identify the number of people with an infection at a specific point in time, even if they don't have symptoms. For example, it can be used in an LTCF like a skilled nursing or assisted living facility to help determine the spread of COVID-19 and separate those with the infection. Members of the Virginia National Guard, who are trained in specimen collection and transport for delivery to laboratories, greatly reduce the burden on LTCF staff and allow them to focus on providing care to their patients. AHD and the Virginia National Guard may conduct additional surveys at various settings in the future.

Resilience Week Virginia: #MindfulMonday

The City is participating in Resilience Week in Virginia, May 3-9. Building resilience can help individuals and communities bounce back from difficult experiences, like the COVID-19 crisis. Today’s focus is on mindfulness, a practice that can help build resilience by being fully aware of experiences, thoughts and emotions. Being mindful is easy to learn and becomes more readily available when practiced every day. There is growing research showing that training the brain to be mindful actually remodels its physical structure, and that mindfulness has positive benefits for health, happiness, work and relationships. Visit the City’s Resilience Week page to learn more.

41 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 940, including 26 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115231.

May 4th Update:

Recreation Summer Camp and Program Registration Suspended Until Further Notice

For Immediate Release: May 2, 2020

Registration for summer camps and programs offered by the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) is suspended until further notice.

Previously planned summer camps and programs will be adjusted to accommodate current guidance to stay home and to keep 6 feet apart from others when in public, as well as any potential new state guidance for summer months. Registration had been postponed to May 6 and is now being suspended until further guidance is received and necessary adjustments can be made. All Spring programs have been cancelled. RPCA staff will be contacting those who registered earlier in the year with information about their accounts.

Virtual programming options are now available through RPCA at Home! Looking for ways to challenge your mind and body while connecting with your community? Enjoy free performances, fitness classes, poetry and story readings, speaker series, and activities for youth. New activities are added regularly; visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation.

The following RPCA service adjustments remain in effect:

  • All recreation, nature and art centers are closed.
  • All activities, events and private rentals are canceled.
  • All reservations and registrations are suspended.
  • All public playgrounds are closed.
  • All public sport courts, fenced fields, fenced dog parks, outdoor fitness stations, restrooms and parking lots are closed.
  • Transient boater access to City Marina piers is prohibited (open to license holders only).

All unfenced City of Alexandria parks, trails and fields remain open to the public to provide opportunities for safe, physically distant exercise. The City and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) believe that access to outdoor exercise is crucial to maintaining both the physical and mental health of our community.

Visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation for updates about summer camps and programs and service adjustments. 

For reasonable disability accommodation, contact kelly.gilfillen@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.4644, Virginia Relay 711.

 

Guidance for Child Care Programs; Business Resiliency Webinars; Virtual City Events

For Immediate Release: May 3, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care, and keep 6 feet apart from others when in public. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Updated CDC Guidance for Child Care Programs, Facilities

Recently updated guidance from the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for child care programs and facilities that are reopening or staying open during COVID-19 includes additional options for screening children upon arrival to ensure that those who have a fever or other signs of illness are not admitted to the facility. The guidance also includes information on caring for infants and toddlers, food preparation and meal service, vulnerable and high-risk groups, physical distancing strategies, and more. The Virginia Department of Health also provides updated frequently asked questions about child care.  

Business Resiliency Webinars

The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA) launched a free, three-part,12-session series, “Beyond COVID-19: Business Resiliency Webinars.” The series will focus on how to keep moving forward during and after the global pandemic. The webinars will include topics such as government financing, staffing, technology readiness, healthy workplaces, new business and revenue models, customer retention, and more. Visit NOVA EDA for more information and a list of upcoming webinars.

Virtual City Events and Activities this Week 

Many City meetings, events and activities can now be attended virtually. This week’s activities include storytelling, parkour, and an “Ask the Archaeologist” session. Visit the City Calendar for a complete list of virtual opportunities, as well as cancellations.  

51 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 899, including 26 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

 

May 1st Update:

City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Recreation Registration Suspended; Student Loan Relief; Immunization Reminder

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care, and keep 6 feet apart from others when in public. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Recreation Summer Camp and Program Registration Suspended Until Further Notice

Registration for summer camps and programs offered by the City’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA), which had been postponed to May 6, is now suspended until further notice. Previously planned summer camps and programs may need to be adjusted to accommodate the current stay-at-home order and physical distancing guidelines, as well as the potential for new state guidance for the summer months. All Spring programs have been cancelled.

All recreation, nature and art centers remain closed; all activities, events and private rentals are canceled; all reservations and registrations are suspended; all public playgrounds are closed; and all public sport courts, fenced fields, fenced dog parks, outdoor fitness stations, restrooms and parking lots at parks are closed. Transient boater access to City Marina piers is prohibited (open to license holders only). All unfenced City of Alexandria parks, trails and fields remain open to the public to provide opportunities for safe, physically distant exercise. The City and the Alexandria Health Department believe that access to outdoor exercise is crucial to maintaining both the physical and mental health of our community. Visit alexandriva.gov/Recreation for updates.

Virginia Expands Student Loan Payment Relief

Expanded payment relief is available for Virginians with privately held student loans. While the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided much-needed relief for students with federal loans until September 30, this relief did not apply to borrowers with student loans made by private lenders. Under the new initiative, Virginians with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) loans, Perkins loans, or privately held student loans who are struggling to make payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible for expanded relief. Borrowers must immediately contact their student loan servicers to identify the options that are appropriate to their circumstances. 

Parents Urged to Get Immunizations for Children  

The City and the Alexandria Health Department urge parents and caregivers to ensure their children and teens get regular vaccinations and booster shots on schedule. Infant vaccination rates have declined by 30% since early March, and adolescent vaccination rates are down 76%. Immunizations not only protect children; they also help to prevent community outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and other preventable diseases. Parents and guardians are reminded that trips for medical appointments are exempt from the Virginia stay-at-home order.  

54 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 754, including 21 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. It is critical for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.

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