City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Increased Unemployment Benefits; Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence and Assault
For Immediate Release: April 16, 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.
Expanded Unemployment Benefits
Virginia has announced expanded unemployment benefits as part of the federal CARES Act, which increases weekly benefits by $600 for workers with unemployment insurance claims effective March 29 through July 31. Payments to eligible claimants will be retroactive and will be made automatically in conjunction with weekly claims. New benefits for previously uncovered workers were also announced. Affected workers like the self-employed, who are not eligible under traditional unemployment insurance, may be eligible under the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. To be eligible for this new program, workers must first apply through traditional unemployment by visiting the Virginia Employment Commission or the Virginia Workforce Connection.
Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault
These are stressful times because of health risks from COVID-19 and because everyone must stay home as much as possible. For some people, staying home doesn’t always feel safe, because someone there may threaten or hurt them. If this describes your situation, call the City’s Sexual Assault Hotline at 703.638.7273 or Domestic Violence Hotline at 703.746.4911. Learn more about resources for victims of sexual assault or domestic violence, including a shareable flyer on staying safe at home during this crisis.
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 12-18
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is an annual recognition dedicated to raising appreciation and awareness of hard-working public safety call takers and dispatchers across the country. Nearly three dozen City telecommunicators dispatch law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical personnel and coordinate with other agencies. Public Safety Telecommunicators are the “first of the first responders” — the first point of contact for people responding to emergencies, and the first point of contact for those seeking emergency services, ranging from persons dealing with intense personal crisis to community-wide disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the City received approximately 70,000 calls to 911. The City’s public safety telecommunicators are committed and dedicated to helping every caller through any emergency, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Reminder: Trash Goes in Plastic Bags -- Recycling Does Not
Beginning Monday, April 13, residents receiving City trash and recycling service must place all materials in their City-issued bins or carts. Trash should be tied or sealed in plastic bags within the bins or carts. Recycling should be placed loose, with no plastic bag, inside the blue bins or carts. Residents who have not been issued a City trash container should place tied or sealed plastic trash bags on the curb. Those who do not use a City recycling bin or cart should place recyclables in paper bags on the curb. For the safety of collection crews and to encourage waste to be reduced, loose trash or recycling on the curb will not be collected. For additional service changes related to Resource Recovery, see alexandriava.gov/ResourceRecovery.
30 New COVID-19 Cases and 1 New Fatality in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 303 Cases and 7 Fatalities
On April 16, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed 30 additional cases of COVID-19 and one additional fatality in Alexandria, bringing the total number of cases to 303 (including 7 fatalities). The continued rise in positive cases reflects the additional testing capacity of private healthcare providers as well continued community transmission. It is essential for all community members, even those who don't have a diagnosed illness, to stay home except for essential trips such as brief visits to the pharmacy, doctor, or grocery store.
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.
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/114812.