City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; FAQs, PPE Donations Sought; Housing Relief Available; Winter Shelter
For Immediate Release: March 31, 2020
The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow Governor Northam's order to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care, and keep six feet apart from others whenever possible. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 FAQs Now Available
The City and AHD have launched a web page to help answer many of the community’s frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 Coronavirus. This is a continuously evolving situation and AHD guidance will change (sometimes rapidly) with the passage of time, a change in circumstances, and release of updated guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
City and AHD Accepting PPE Donations for Distribution
The City and AHD are distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to high-priority groups, including first responders, healthcare workers and facilities supporting vulnerable populations. Community members and organizations are asked to consider donating clean, unused supplies. Acceptable supplies include surgical masks, N95 respirators (masks), disposable medical gowns, face shields, goggles, disposable medical coveralls, gloves and hand sanitizer. Homemade items are not being accepted at this time.
Housing Relief Programs Available
The Office of Housing has assembled a summary of housing relief programs available for Alexandria residents. The information provided is subject to change as circumstances change. Eligibility for homeowners may vary depending on the type of loan. Renters should contact their landlords as soon as possible, as many Alexandria properties are offering relief programs for those affected by COVID-19. Condominium owners and homeowners association members should contact their organization management for policies regarding fee payments.
Winter Shelter Remains Open
As the City works to reduce the risk from COVID-19 among individuals experiencing homelessness, the City’s Winter Shelter has expanded its hours to noon to 7 a.m. through April 15. Guests will continue to be picked up at the usual designated locations: 6:20 p.m. at Braddock Road Metro Station (700 N. West St.); 6:30 p.m. at Christ House (131 S. West St.); and 6:40 p.m. at City Hall (301 King St.).
Eight New COVID-19 Cases in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 44
On March 31, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed eight additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 44. 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 healthcare provider 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.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and believe you've been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Alexandria Health Department does not provide COVID-19 diagnosis or testing. If you need a letter about your health status, contact your healthcare provider. If AHD has contacted you directly for active monitoring or quarantine, AHD can provide a letter for your employer clearing you to return to work once that is complete.
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/114511.
Note: This news release was edited on April 1, 2020, to correct the paragraph about homeless shelters.