Alexandria Health Department Provides July Update on COVID-19 ZIP Code Data
For Immediate Release: July 9, 2020
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has published data on COVID-19 cases by ZIP code since the beginning of May. The following Alexandria Health Department (AHD) analysis summarizes the current data and changes since May.
Updated ZIP Code Data
The City of Alexandria has provided the estimated population for each local ZIP code to compare the number of cases per 1,000 residents. As of July 7, VDH has reported the following COVID-19 cases:
|ZIP Code||Estimated Population (in Alexandria portion of ZIP Code)||Date of Report||Confirmed Cases per ZIP Code||Total People Tested||Positivity Rate 1||Tests per 1,000 Alexandria Residents||Confirmed Cases per 1,000 Alexandria Residents|
|223113||16,898||May 7||190 3||517 3||36.8% 3||
|June 9||417 3||1,927 3||21.6% 3|
|July 7||464 3||2,502 3||18.5% 3|
|223123||6,901||May 7||196 3||6593||29.7% 3|
|June 9||529 3||2,047 3||25.8% 3|
|July 7||616 3||2,989 3||20.6% 3|
1 The positivity rate is the number of confirmed cases divided by the number of tests.
2 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.
3 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.
Significant Changes since June 9, 2020
The range of confirmed cases per capita in the July 7 analysis (4.5 to 36.9) was slightly higher than the range in the June 9 analysis (3.9 to 35.5). All Alexandria ZIP codes have continued to experience a decrease in positivity rates since the May analysis. This reduction may reflect both increased testing and adherence to public health mitigation strategies. In the June analysis, the percent positivity range was 9.9% to 30.1%. In the July analysis, the percent positivity ranges from 8.1% to 24.6%. The 22302 ZIP code experienced the largest reduction in positivity rate between June and July, with a 40.6% reduction. The 22305 ZIP code also experienced a significant reduction, with an 18.3% drop in positivity rate from June to July (and a 55.6% reduction since May).
The overall increase in testing reflects efforts by the Alexandria Health Department and clinicians to increase testing availability and accessibility to community members. There have been increases in testing across all ZIP codes in Alexandria since May. For example, ZIP code 22305 has had 2,414 tests performed in total, with more than a four-fold increase in tests per 1,000 residents since May. While testing is an important component of the pandemic response, it is not effective without individual and business adherence to public health quarantine and isolation recommendations.
Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected vulnerable populations within the Alexandria community, due to underlying systemic issues such as poverty, overcrowding, structural racism, and job insecurity. These systemic issues have led to inequities that compound the effect of COVID-19. Not surprisingly, similar to other diseases and medical conditions, racial and ethnic disparities exist in this pandemic. Individuals who identify as Hispanic or Latino are more likely to become infected and hospitalized due to COVID-19 compared to individuals who identify as Non-Hispanic or Latino. AHD is closely following these disparities and working to provide immediate assistance to members of the community, but the challenge of addressing long-standing community conditions remains a primary focus for AHD and the City.
While understanding the geographic spread and demographics of COVID-19 is helpful, it should not be used as the sole indicator for understanding an individual’s risk of infection. There continues to be community transmission of the virus in Alexandria, the region, and the nation. Everyone is at risk for infection and everyone remains safest at home. Increasing age and chronic medical conditions are risk factors for more severe disease that can lead to hospitalization, the need for mechanical ventilation, and even death. AHD urges all Alexandrians to remain vigilant and to continue to adhere to prevention recommendations.
What the Alexandria Health Department is Doing
AHD focuses its pandemic response based on public health justice principles, consisting of 1) prioritizing science-based recommendations; 2) focusing resources on saving lives; and 3) engaging and empowering Alexandrians most in need. Learn more about AHD’s plans in the Strategic Action Frameworks.
In the past month, AHD has worked with the City, businesses, faith leaders, and community partners to educate residents; disseminate public health guidance; and provide technical assistance. The following highlights represent a portion of the pandemic response in June and July, beyond the intensive ongoing case investigations and contact tracing:
Businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations can reopen safely by participating in AHD’s voluntary training program, ALX Promise, to learn the latest public health recommendations and pledge to follow the required guidance. Businesses that complete the ALX Promise program and work with an Environmental Health Specialist receive a poster and window decal, confirming their commitment to employee and customer safety.
Residents can help keep businesses accountable by following AHD guidance about how to address those who are violating an executive order on crowding or face coverings. Consumers can also support businesses that go above and beyond state requirements by patronizing those with the ALX Promise decal.
AHD and the City have created short videos to remind residents of important prevention recommendations such as physical distancing, wearing face covers, and hand hygiene.
AHD and the City have placed hand sanitizer stations and public health reminder signage in high pedestrian traffic areas throughout Alexandria to ingrain key healthy behaviors.
AHD has supported increased testing capacity by providing personal protective equipment and technical guidance for providers who are performing COVID-19 testing.
Epidemiologists and public nurses continue to devote additional technical support to settings where individuals are at higher risk of exposure and severe illness, such as long-term care facilities and congregate living homes. These technical supports and infection control assessments are designed to fortify the facilities’ response to a potential outbreak.
This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/116585.
Note: This news release was edited on July 10, 2020, to correct "three-fold" to "four-fold" in the sentence about the number of tests per 1,000 residents in ZIP code 22305.