City of Alexandria Provides Updates on COVID-19 Response and Urges Social Distancing
For Immediate Release: March 15, 2020
The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) continues to advise that the general public in Alexandria is at low risk from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic because both cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria are directly related to other known cases. The City of Alexandria has taken measures to further reduce risk, and encourages organizations and individuals to take action, as well. The City is also working closely with the Alexandria City Public Schools, ACT for Alexandria, and the network of community nonprofit organizations, to reduce the impact of the pandemic on Alexandria’s most vulnerable residents.
Most individuals can safely continue regular activities in public if they practice social distancing by maintaining six feet of personal space whenever possible, and frequently wash their hands and use hand sanitizer. On March 15, Governor Northam announced a ban on all gatherings of 100 people or more in Virginia. AHD has provided guidance to community partners, City agencies, businesses and others who have meetings and gatherings of less than 100 people on how to decide if they should cancel or modify events. As the situation changes, new recommendations will be issued. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued detailed guidance for travelers; businesses and employers; schools and childcare; and community and faith-based organizations.
Governor Northam’s March 12 declaration of a state of emergency has triggered Virginia's anti-price gouging statutes. This prohibits a supplier from charging “unconscionable prices” for necessary goods and services during the following 30 days. Violations should be reported to the Office of the Attorney General at 800.552.9963 or via a complaint form.
Second Presumptive Positive Case in Alexandria
The AHD has reported a second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Alexandria, pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An Alexandria resident attended a conference in Washington, D.C. on February 25 and came in close contact with an individual later confirmed to have COVID-19. The resident self-quarantined at home immediately upon return to Alexandria from international travel on March 6, and received regular monitoring from AHD. Individuals who came in close contact with the confirmed case have already been contacted. AHD is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to identify and contact anyone else who may have come in close contact with them. They will be asked to self-quarantine and actively monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms. If they start experiencing symptoms, they will immediately undergo testing.
City Government Operations
City government remains open with normal facility hours and core services. The City has encouraged many staff to telework from home as much as feasible while maintaining services, and has made unscheduled leave available for employees impacted by school closures. For details on changes to individual services and events, see the alert at the top of the page at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. Information will be updated frequently as COVID-19 changes in Alexandria and the region.
Protect Yourself and Others
Most people who get COVID-19 recover on their own at home and do not need testing or treatment. Prevention remains the best defense against infection.
- Symptoms: If you experience coughing, fever of over 100.4 F, and shortness of breath and suspect 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.
Wash Your Hands: Rub hands together with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Hand Sanitizer: If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol as you would wash your hands, rubbing them together for 20 seconds.
Don’t Touch Your Face: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay Home: If you are feeling sick, stay home. If you are well, avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Use Your Elbow: 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.
Disinfect Surfaces: Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Manage Stress: The CDC recommends taking breaks from exposure to the news; take deep breaths or meditate; try to eat healthy; get sleep or rest; make time to do activities you enjoy; and connect with others to share your feelings.
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/114196.