City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Governor Extends Business Restrictions; Additional City Council Action

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City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Governor Extends Business Restrictions; Additional City Council Action

­­For Immediate Release: April 15, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care, and keep 6 feet apart from others when in public. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Governor Extends Business Restrictions Until May 8

Governor Northam has announced the extension of Executive Order 53, which bans crowds or more than 10 people; closes recreation, entertainment and personal care businesses; and limits restaurants to offering takeout and delivery services only, until May 8. The order was extended to allow physical distancing, and other measures shown to be slowing the spread of COVID-19, to continue. Extending the order also allows state officials to evaluate the situation and plan for how to ease restrictions so businesses may eventually operate without endangering public health. Executive Order 55 (requiring Virginians to stay at home unless they must leave for essential services) remains in effect until June 10.

Alexandria City Council Approves Additional Funds for COVID-19 Community Response
On April 14, the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved an additional $100,000 contribution of City matching funds for the ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund, following an initial contribution of $100,000 on March 14. The Fund provides a rapid-response grants process to help community organizations provide critical services including emergency food, rental assistance, financial assistance, child care, household and medical supplies, medicine, and more.

City Council also allocated an additional $220,000 to ALIVE! to ensure adequate food supply for food distributions and food pantries through the end of May, following an initiation contribution of $20,000 on March 14. ALIVE! provides nutritious staple foods to Alexandrians in need through direct distribution to clients and by supporting Alexandria’s food pantries, meal kitchens, public schools, recreation centers and other community partners.

City Council Calls for Moratorium on Rental and Mortgage Payments
On April 14, City Council unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the unprecedented economic hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution calls on the U.S. Congress and the Governor of Virginia to address the immediate crisis of rent and mortgage payments through a potential moratorium, and to suspend the reporting of negative credit information by credit bureaus.  

City Council Passes Resolutions of Support for Partner and Sister Localities

On April 14, City Council unanimously adopted resolutions of support to sister cities Caen, France; Dundee, Scotland; and Helsingborg, Sweden. The resolutions extend gratitude and appreciation to first responders, municipal leaders, service workers, educators and residents who employ the safest practices to “help combat this scourge which has so deeply altered their way of life, bringing with it a season of grief.” A similar resolution of support was extended to the City of Norton and Wise County, Virginia, Alexandria’s partners under Virginia’s Local Government Exchange program. The resolutions extend Alexandria’s thoughts and support to the municipal leaders, staff, and people of these partner localities.

Hospital Communication Guide for Persons Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons is providing a COVID-19 Communication Guide and technology information to help persons who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate with healthcare providers. The printable card may assist in situations where interpretation and other tools used to navigate medical encounters may not be available, or patients cannot read providers’ lips due to surgical masks. Users are advised to review and complete the card and download apps that may assist them before they need to go to the hospital.

26 New COVID-19 Cases and 2 New Fatalities in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 273 Cases and 6 Fatalities

On April 15, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed 26 additional cases of COVID-19 and two additional fatalities in Alexandria, bringing the total number of cases to 273 (including 6 fatalities). The rise in positive cases is likely due to a combination of additional testing capacity through private healthcare providers as well as an increase in community transmission. It is essential for all community members to stay home as much as possible, even if they don't have a diagnosed illness. 

To respect the privacy of individuals and their families, AHD will not disclose additional details about cases or fatalities unless there is a public health need to do so. AHD is contacting all confirmed cases and providing them guidance to give to their close contacts (people who came within 6 feet of cases for more than 10 minutes). AHD is also calling close contacts of confirmed cases in high risk settings (e.g., nursing homes, assisted living facilities, healthcare centers). All close contacts are asked to self-quarantine and actively monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms. If they start experiencing symptoms, they are advised to seek medical care if their symptoms are severe or if they are healthcare workers or first responders.

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/114792.

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