City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Practice Physical Distancing; Coping Resources; Support for Businesses; Evictions Suspended

Page archived as of May 31, 2020

City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Practice Physical Distancing; Coping Resources; Support for Businesses; Evictions Suspended

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care, and keep six feet apart from others when in public. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Practice Physical Distancing
Staying home and maintaining six feet of personal space when in public are some of the best ways to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. Until today, the City and AHD have used the phrase "social distancing" to encourage people to maintain six feet of personal space and avoid crowds and gatherings. The phrase "physical distancing" will now be used because in these difficult times, social connectedness is more important than ever. Here are some of the many ways to maintain social connectivity to family, friends, neighbors and community, while practicing physical distancing:

  • Safely share time with those closest to you by using videoconferencing tools to schedule the same activities you would normally do together, including meals, walks in the park, game nights and more.
  • Join local community group social platforms to connect with neighbors and stay current on the latest news in your neighborhood.
  • Livestream birthday parties and other planned events so friends and family can celebrate special occasions together.
  • Send cards and letters to nursing and senior homes.
  • Participate in virtual fitness and arts programs with fellow Alexandrians.
  • Watch movies at the same time as friends using chat features now available on many streaming platforms.

Coping with Uncertainty for Parents and Children
Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Taking care of yourself, your friends and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger. There are coping resources and strategies for parents and children, including printable versions in Amharic, Arabic and Spanish.

Support for Alexandria Businesses
Businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to view resources from the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. This webpage contains regular updates about policies and programs that support the Alexandria business community. Businesses can also sign-up for a special COVID-19 newsletter. For information and guidance on how to apply for federal disaster assistance, visit the Alexandria Small Business Development Center’s website or email help@alexandriasbdc.org.

Eviction Proceedings Suspended
The Virginia Supreme Court ordered all non-emergency civil proceedings, including evictions, suspended through April 26. Renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 should contact their landlords to ask for relief of April rent payment. The City has asked Alexandria landlords not to pursue evictions for late April rent payments; to work with tenants on payment plans to repay late rent over the next 12 months; and to waive late fees and other penalties. The Office of Housing’s Landlord-Tenant Division is available to help landlords and tenants draft and implement installment plans. For referrals to other resources to help tenants dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, call 703.746.3078 or email melodie.seau@alexandriava.gov. Income-eligible renters in need of emergency rental assistance can also contact the Department of Community and Human Services at 703.746.5700.

12 New COVID-19 Cases in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 67
On April 2, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed 12 additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 67. 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 craig.fifer@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3965.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/114538.

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