City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates: Governor’s Order Effective Tonight; City Council Adopts Emergency Ordinances; Metro Reduces Service; and More
For Immediate Release: March 24, 2020
The Alexandria Health Department continues to strongly urge everyone to stay home except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. Each individual is a critical part of slowing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in addition to government action at the local, state and federal levels.
Governor’s Order Takes Effect Tuesday Night
Governor Northam’s executive order to promote social distancing takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24. The order bans all gatherings of more than 10 people, closes non-essential recreation and entertainment businesses; permits food service establishments and farmers' markets to remain open only for takeout and delivery; permits essential retail businesses to remain open only with social distancing and enhanced sanitizing practices; limits non-essential retail businesses to no more than 10 patrons per establishment with social distancing and sanitizing; and requires non-essential professional businesses to use telework as much as possible.
Alexandria City Council Adopts Emergency Ordinances
At an emergency meeting held on March 24 by telephone in accordance with state law, the Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted emergency ordinances and resolutions implementing procedures to ensure continuity of city government and modify public meeting procedures and other public practices; enacting a moratorium on penalties and interest and an extension until June 30 for businesses to file hotel, short-term homesharing and restaurant meals taxes; changing the filing schedule for quarterly business license taxes, business personal property taxes and elderly and disabled tax relief applications; and authorizing the City Manager to apply for grants during this emergency period. Details of each action are available on the meeting docket.
ALIVE! Saturday Food Distribution
On Saturday, March 28, ALIVE! will distribute free food for Alexandria residents in need from 8:30 a.m. to noon, or until supplies run out, in the parking lots of John Adams Elementary School (5651 Rayburn Ave.) and Cora Kelly Elementary School (3600 Commonwealth Ave.) Drive-through pickup is preferred. Each car will be eligible to receive one bag per family member; no more than four bags per vehicle. Individuals who walk on to the sites will be asked to observe social distancing practices by maintaining six feet of personal space.
AHDC Raises Funds to Avoid Home Loss
The Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC), which operates seven affordable housing developments, is accepting donations to help vulnerable residents avoid losing their homes. AHDC is also temporarily waiving late fees and evictions, and helping residents make affordable payment plans. Ten percent of AHDC’s residents are seniors, and half of households include one or more children. The organization’s goal is to raise $100,000 for the fund.
Metro Reduces Services; Closes Eisenhower Avenue and Van Dorn Street Stations
Metro has significantly reduced Metrorail and Metrobus services to protect the health and safety of Metro employees and customers and respond to dramatic reductions in ridership and the difficulty keeping shared surfaces clean. Effective March 26, Metro will close 17 of its 91 Metrorail stations, including Eisenhower Avenue and Van Dorn Street. The public is urged to only use Metro services if absolutely necessary.
Four New COVID-19 Cases in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 13
On March 24, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed four additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 13. AHD is identifying and contacting individuals who came in close contact with the confirmed cases. The close contacts will be asked to self-quarantine and actively monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms. If they start experiencing symptoms, they will immediately undergo testing. As a result of the AHD’s case investigations and expanded testing through private providers, the number of positive cases is expected to increase over time.
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. Use the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker to review your symptoms. 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.
Use 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.
To receive text message alerts from the City related to COVID-19, text ALEXCOVID19 to 888777. 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/114388.
Note: This news release was edited on March 24 to correct the Metrorail stations to be closed.