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‘Take precautions immediately’ | Alexandria sees COVID cases surge, locals urged to reduce risks

Those precautions, the city specified, include considering moving holiday celebrations virtual, testing, getting a booster shot and avoiding travel if possible.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Alexandria is seeing new heights of COVID cases, cementing a post-Thanksgiving surge following local omicron variant identifications. The city saw the highest number of new cases in a single day since January on Friday.

“Individual actions now can make the difference between a continued increase in cases or a slowdown in spread. The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urges all community members to take practical safety precautions immediately,” the city advised via press release.

RELATED: First omicron variant case confirmed in Virginia

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Those precautions, the city specified, include reducing risk in holiday gatherings by considering moving your celebration virtual or limiting the different groups of people you’ll be spending time with in person. 

They also asked locals to consider using a rapid home test for everyone ahead of a gathering, as well as avoiding travel if possible.

“If travel is unavoidable, get tested before and after. Fully vaccinated individuals ages 16 and older should get a booster shot to increase protection against infections,” they added. 

The city’s new announcement is a warning to all locals, but particularly those who remain unvaccinated. Officials shared that, based on a recent AHD analysis of November cases, unvaccinated people are four times more likely to get COVID-19, and five times more likely to be hospitalized compared to fully vaccinated people. 

However, with the significantly increased transmission rates, there is also a rise in cases among those who are fully vaccinated, the release stated. “Increases in hospitalizations and deaths typically lag a few weeks behind increases in cases and AHD is closely monitoring local hospital capacity and the use of ventilators.”

They also urged those sick with or exposed to COVID-19 who are at high risk of severe disease—such as older adults, pregnant people and those with underlying medical conditions—should consult their healthcare provider about whether an FDA approved or authorized treatment can reduce their risk of hospitalization or death.

Visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus for more information about COVID-19 in Alexandria. For questions or help finding a booster or test, contact the Alexandria COVID-19 Hotline weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 703.746.4988.

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