Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Failing to Stem Impact of Covid-19 on Vulnerable

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Failing to Stem Impact of Covid-19 on Vulnerable

Even as many of our leaders emphasize reopening the economy, covid-19 cases in Virginia have fallen only by 50 percent, and Alexandria has more Covid-19 cases than most other jurisdictions in Virginia. We are alarmed that the city of Alexandria has failed to stem the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable communities. Specifically, we were told by the Alexandria Health Department that hotel rooms have been secured that enable Covid-19 patients to quarantine. Where houses or apartments are too small to provide separate quarantine space for a sick family member, these hotel rooms are an essential tool to protect families. However, because of insufficient planning, these rooms are not being used. Specifically, we were told that the hotel rooms remain (mostly) empty because, by the time Covid-19 is detected in a family member, the entire family is infected. This is a failure of either planning or execution.

We need widespread testing and rapid results that enable isolation of a patient before an entire family is infected. Failing that, we need to offer a hotel room as soon as symptoms appear, so that a sick family member can be isolated and a family saved. These hotel rooms are, we are told, part of the city Covid-19 plan. A plan that makes a pretence of offering quarantine without doing so is not a real plan at all. We appreciate the good news that testing is now widely available, by appointment, from Alexandria doctors and clinics. We worry that insufficient advertising of these resources suggests a prioritization of tax dollars over lives. Whatever the cause, zip code data on Covid-19 cases reveals that Alexandrians are sickening at a higher rate than residents of surrounding jurisdictions. We need an effective plan.

Jonathan Krall

Grassroots Alexandria