City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates: SNAP Benefits Expanded; Assistance for Pet Owners

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City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates: SNAP Benefits Expanded; Assistance for Pet Owners

­­For Immediate Release: March 26, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department continue 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.

SNAP Benefits Expanded 

On March 25, the Virginia Department of Social Services announced that it is extending services and providing emergency allotments for households currently receiving Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program ( SNAP) benefits. Certifications expiring in March, April and May will be extended for six months until September, October and November, respectively. Emergency allotments for current SNAP households will be issued for the months of March and April, and the work requirement will be waived effective April 1.

Assistance for Pet Owners

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) has a Pet Pantry program in place for residents in need of pet food or other pet supplies. Pet items will be available for pick up at the AWLA (4101 Eisenhower Ave.) by appointment only. Residents in need are encouraged to email community@alexandriaanimals.org or call 703-746-5508 to request pet food or supplies. If transportation is a problem, contact the AWLA to discuss options.  

Clarification of Restaurant Delivery and Take-out Operations 

Per the Governor Northam’s executive order requiring social distancing, restaurants may provide takeout and delivery service only. Restaurant lobbies are permitted to remain open only to provide adequate space to allow social distancing practices and do not allow more than 10 patrons at any one time. The Alexandria Health Department has advised restaurants to remove or relocate tables and chairs, both indoors and outdoors, to reinforce that the establishments are only open for takeout and delivery.

Six New COVID-19 Cases in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 20

On March 26, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed six additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 20. 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 continue to increase.

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 craig.fifer@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3965.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/114419

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