City of Alexandria Provides Updates Regarding COVID-19 Response and Encourages Matching Contributions to Help Those In Need
For Immediate Release: March 14, 2020
The Alexandria Health Department continues to advise that the general public in Alexandria is currently at low risk for exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus, because there is no evidence that the virus is moving from person to person without known sources. The City of Alexandria is implementing its pandemic response plan and carefully evaluating all City operations and services to protect public health. There are also many things individuals can do to further reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.
If You Have Symptoms of COVID-19
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are coughing, fever of over 100.4 F, and shortness of breath. If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, call your primary care physician to ask whether you should come for an exam or test before visiting in person. Most people who get COVID-19 recover on their own at home and do not need testing or treatment. Anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness should isolate themselves; avoid contact with other people; wash their hands frequently; and disinfect surfaces regularly.
Funding for Human Services
On March 14, the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved a matching grant of $100,000 in City funds to the ACTNow Fund, to help solicit donations from the community. The fund, administered by the ACT for Alexandria community foundation, streamlines grants to nonprofit service providers to assist with food, housing, medical and other financial hardships. City Council also unanimously approved a grant of $20,000 to the ALIVE! food bank, which will provide for bulk food purchases equivalent to 17,000 meals.
City Government Operations
The City Manager has declared a local state of emergency in Alexandria, which provides streamlined regulations for logistics coordination and prepares for the possibility of federal and state reimbursement of emergency costs. A declaration of emergency does not mean that the level of risk from the virus has changed. City government remains open with normal facility hours and core services.
Alexandria City Public Schools
On March 13, the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) announced that all ACPS schools will be closed from March 16 through at least April 13. All K-12 schools in Virginia are closed through at least March 27. For detailed information about Alexandria City Public Schools closures and COVID-19 response, including distance education and distribution of food, visit acps.k12.va.us/coronavirus.
Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew), Dominion Energy and Virginia American Water have notified the City that they have suspended utility disconnections for nonpayment. For questions about utilities, contact the utility provider directly.
City Meetings, Events and Programs
The City Manager has directed all departments to evaluate each scheduled internal and public meeting and event on a rolling three to four-week basis, to determine if it is essential. Non-essential meetings or events will be cancelled or modified in consultation with the City Manager’s Office and any applicable board or commission chairs. Staff will consider whether a meeting or event is required by law or necessary to respond to the COVID-19 situation or other continuity of operations needs; whether cancellation would place an undue hardship on participants or other stakeholders; whether the intended participants include people in high-risk categories; whether some or all of the agenda or program could be postponed; whether online virtual options could be used as a replacement or supplement to in-person gatherings; and whether the setup or design of the gathering could be modified to reduce risk.
Activities and programs produced by the Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities are cancelled through March 21; Office of Historic Alexandria through March 22; and Alexandria Library through March 31. These changes will be re-evaluated on a rolling basis; see each department website for details. City recreation centers, library branches, art centers and museums remain open on normal operating schedules. For a list of individual meeting schedules and cancellations, visit alexandriava.gov/Calendar.
Protect Yourself and Those Around You
The most important ways to protect against COVID-19 are the easiest:
Wash your hands often by rubbing them together with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
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.
For more information about the COVID-19 coronavirus and how you can help protect yourself and those around you, visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Virginia residents can also call the Virginia Department of Health public information line, 877-ASK-VDH3, for questions about the novel coronavirus situation. If you have chest pain or shortness of breath, call or text 911.
For inquiries from the news media only, contact Craig Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.3965.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/114165.