Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV, COVID-19)
Alexandria Health Department/ Virginia Department of Health are closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (termed "COVID-19" previously “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, China and reported in December 2019. Infections with COVID-19 are being reported in a growing number of countries across the world, including the United States.
COVID-19 is novel, or new, meaning that it has not previously been identified by public health officials. As a coronavirus, it comes from a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting the virus likely emerged from an animal source. Now there are indications the virus is spreading from infected persons to others.
Alexandria Health Department is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health guidelines to rapidly identify persons who may be infected with COVID-19. AHD has provided Alexandria’s healthcare providers guidance and resources for screening and testing persons suspected of being infected with COVID-19, while also protecting their staff and the public.
How Can I Protect Myself, My Family and My Business?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. However, everyday preventive actions help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19 as well as influenza and the common cold, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Stay home when you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. Alternatively, cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Please note: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has specific guidelines for travelers.
Where Can I Obtain Additional Information?
Public health’s understanding of COVID-19 is continuously evolving. For the most up-to-date information go to