City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates: Volunteers Needed; Language Resources; Case Tally; Recreation and Art Changes
For Immediate Release: March 18, 2020
The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) continues to urge all community members to change their daily behavior now to reduce risk from COVID-19 and minimize the spread of the virus.
City Urges Federal Priority for Regional Testing Sites
On March 18, Mayor Wilson sent a letter to Vice President Pence as chair of the Federal COVID-19 Task Force, urging that the National Capital Region be added to the list of priority locations for federally-supported COVID-19 testing sites.
Seeking Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers
Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a group of medical and non-medical volunteers who support the Alexandria Health Department in emergency preparedness, response and recovery. In response to COVID-19, new volunteers are urged to join Alexandria MRC to help with staffing the call center and conducting community outreach to our most vulnerable populations. Training will be provided.
Social Distancing Reminders
Restaurants, fitness centers and theaters are subject to an emergency order from the Governor and State Health Commissioner, which prohibits operating with more than 10 patrons at a time. Violation of the order is a criminal offense. The community can support local restaurants and bars by taking advantage of available pick-up and delivery options.
The City continues to urge community members to follow the guidelines for social distancing issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the orders and recommendations issued by state and local governments. Modify regular activities in public by maintaining six feet of personal space whenever possible; wash hands frequently; use hand sanitizer; and use alternative greetings to handshakes, such as elbow bumps or bows.
Governor Northam has recommended that individuals with chronic health conditions or age 65 or older should self-quarantine, because they are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. He encouraged neighbors and friends to stay in touch and regularly check in with high-risk individuals.
Language Access Resources
The City’s COVID-19 information at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus is now available in 10 languages through automated translation. The page also includes links to CDC fact sheets and print materials in multiple languages.
Confirmed Cases in Alexandria Now Four, Not Five
On March 17, the City of Alexandria announced that the Alexandria Health Department was investigating three new positive cases of COVID-19, including one involving a test in New York where the patient provided a residence address in Alexandria. The investigation has determined that the patient is actually a resident of New York and has not been in the Alexandria area since January. This means there have been four positive cases of COVID-19 involving Alexandria residents.
Emergency City Council Meeting
The Alexandria City Council will hold an emergency meeting tonight, March 18, to discuss COVID-19 response and receive updates from City staff and partner agencies. The meeting will take place at 8 p.m. in the City Council Chamber on the 2nd floor of City Hall (301 King St.).
City Government Operations
Most City facilities are open normal hours, except that library branches, indoor museums and historic sites, the Torpedo Factory Art Center, and some recreation centers are closed. Many City events and activities have been canceled or postponed. A list of cancellations is available on alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus and will be updated frequently. The Alexandria Library, Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Courts and Clerk of Circuit Court, Office of Historic Alexandria, Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities, and Sheriff's Office have detailed information about service and program changes.
Changes to Recreation Services
Effective March 19, all recreation programs, classes, activities, sports leagues, Out of School Time programs and Spring Break camps, and private facility and picnic rentals are suspended through April 10. Reservations and registrations are suspended until at least April 1. Recreation center hours will be Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and some centers are closed through April 10. All parks, trails, fields, and playgrounds remain open to the public, and patrons are asked to practice social distancing and wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer to protect themselves and others. For details on service changes, visit the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities.
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.
Protect Yourself and Others, Especially Vulnerable Community Members
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 email@example.com or 703.746.3965.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/114260.