COVID-19 update for Dec. 30: 7,231 cases, 87 deaths in Alexandria

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COVID-19 update for Dec. 30: 7,231 cases, 87 deaths in Alexandria
(Graphic/Lyvi Sieg)
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By Staff

As of Dec. 30, there have been 7,231 positive cases of COVID-19 in the City of Alexandria, resulting in 87 fatalities, according to the Virginia Department of Health. In addition, 430 Alexandria residents have been hospitalized because of COVID-19.

The Alexandria fatalities include 40 women and 46 men. The race and ethnicity breakdown includes 46 white people, 21 Black people, 15 Latinos, one Asian or pacific islander, two of another race, one of two or more races and one not reported. Of the 87 fatalities, 59 – or about 68% – have been residents age 70 and older. 

Virginia has reported 344,345 cases, including 4,984 deaths and 17,910 hospitalizations as of Dec. 31, according to the VDH. As of Dec. 31, there are 647,792 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Virginia, Maryland and D.C., according to the Washington Post. 

Gov. Ralph Northam enacted new restrictions related to COVID-19 on Nov. 16 in response to a statewide increase in cases. Under the new guidelines, gatherings of more than 25 people are banned, with the exception of religious services; everyone 5 and older is required to wear a mask in indoor public places; violation of safety protocols by essential businesses is enforceable as a class one misdemeanor; and alcohol sales at restaurants, breweries and other dining establishments are prohibited after 10 p.m.

Alexandria cases

AHD reported the first case of coronavirus in Alexandria on March 11. Below is a list of reported cases in Alexandria by month. The number listed is the total cumulative case count in the city since March 11, as reported at the end of each month.

  • March: 44
  • April: 754
  • May: 1,974
  • June: 2,325
  • July: 2,798
  • August: 3,378
  • September: 3,852
  • October: 4,337
  • November: 5,366
  • December: 7,231

AHD will not reveal identities or discuss individual cases or fatalities – unless there is a public health need to do so – in order to respect the privacy of the individuals and their families, according to a news release.

Vaccine

Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) announced on Dec. 14 that the first allotment of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech was arriving in Virginia. The vaccine is administered in two doses, three to four weeks apart, and is currently being prioritized for health care workers and staff and the most vulnerable residents of long-term care facilities.

As of Dec. 30, 442 doses of the vaccine had been administered in Alexandria, according to VDH. Statewide, 47,052 doses had been administered as of Dec. 30, according to VDH.

State orders

There have been several statewide orders related to COVID-19 in the Commonwealth of Virginia since the pandemic struck in March.

Currently, Virginians must abide by the following restrictions: 

  • All public and private in-person indoor and outdoor gatherings must be limited to 25 people.
  • Everyone ages 5 and over will be required to wear masks in indoor public places. People are not required to wear face coverings while eating, drinking or exercising in public.
  • All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to state guidelines for physical distancing, requiring face masks and enhanced sanitization. 
  • Onsite alcohol sales, consumption and possession after 10 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room will be prohibited, and all such establishments must close by midnight. Bar areas of restaurants remain closed.

After months of operating under a stay-at-home order in the spring, Virginia began reopening in May. 

The majority of Virginia entered phase one of reopening on May 15 and phase two on June 5. Northern Virginia entered phase one on May 29 and phase two on June 12. The state entered phase three on July 1, with additional restrictions put back in place on Nov. 16 in response to a surge in cases.

Under phase one, previously declared “non-essential” businesses, such as personal and pet grooming salons, were allowed to reopen, provided the establishments adhere to strict sanitation and physical distancing protocols. Restaurants were allowed to offer outdoor seating, and religious facilities were allowed to offer in-person services. 

Under phase two, restaurants could offer indoor seating at 50 percent capacity, fitness centers could open at 30 percent capacity and people could gather in groups of up to 50 people.

Under phase three, people were allowed to gather in groups of up to 250 people. Restaurants were allowed to open fully, but were required to maintain six feet of distance between tables.

City response

City council declared a local state of emergency at its public hearing on March 14. On March 22, most City of Alexandria facilities were either closed to the public or open by appointment, according to a news release. Since then, many facilities have reopened. 

ACT for Alexandria and the City of Alexandria have partnered to reinstate the ACT Now Fund during the COVID-19 outbreak. All money collected through the ACT Now Fund will go toward providing critical resources to nonprofit organizations on the frontline of serving the community, according to an ACT for Alexandria news release.

As of Dec. 1, the fund had raised $1,015,079. Donate at www.givegab.com/campaigns/actnowcovid19fund.

Schools

Due to coronavirus, Alexandria City Public Schools closed all schools on March 16. While the division had planned to reopen on April 13, Gov. Northam announced on March 23 that all K-12 schools in Virginia will need to close until the end of the school year.

During closures, ACPS has promised to continue providing meals for children in need, and as well as any families who request it. ACPS will be providing breakfast and lunch meals for any ACPS student on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. at four locations across the city: Cora Kelly School, Francis C. Hammond Middle School, Jefferson Houston School, T.C. Williams High School and William Ramsay Elementary School, according to a news release.

ACPS announced on July 31 that students would be attending classes entirely online for the start of the fall 2020 school year. Read more here.

The virus

Common symptoms of coronavirus to appear two to 14 days after exposure include coughing, fever over 100.4 degrees and shortness of breath. The CDC recommends that anyone who suspects they have symptoms of COVID-19 call their healthcare provider for medical advice. 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, according to the CDC. The CDC is recommending that people frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.

Testing

Patients with symptoms should contact their doctors for more information about testing, according to the city.

Inova, with support from the city, is using its Old Town primary care clinic as a respiratory illness clinic for testing. The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 1 to 4:30 p.m by appointment only. From 2 to 4 p.m., the clinic will also have drive through testing capabilities for those who have been referred by their private care clinician.

On Memorial Day, the city offered free testing for up to 3,000 people at temporary testing sites set up at Landmark Mall and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology. Of the 2,953 people who were tested for COVID-19 between the two sites, 236 received positive results.

This page will continue to be updated with new developments pertaining to coronavirus in Alexandria.

(Read more: COVID-19 hits Chirilagua hard)

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