City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; 14 Questions to Ask Long-Term Care Facilities; Take Care When Cleaning

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City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; 14 Questions to Ask Long-Term Care Facilities; Take Care When Cleaning 

­­For Immediate Release: April 20, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOMEexcept 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. 

14 Questions to Ask the Long-Term Care Facility Caring for Your Loved One

Residents with loved ones in long-term care facilities may worry about how to best keep them safe from COVID-19. The Alexandria Health Department has extensive, standing relationships with all long-term care facilities, and has been working closely with them by providing guidance, equipment, assessments, and training to help them implement the best possible infection prevention measures. Consider calling facilities with loved ones and asking them these 14 questions.

Take Care When Cleaning

The City encourages the public to exercise caution when cleaning and disinfecting their homes against the COVID-19 virus. On April 20, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released research that shows calls to poison control centers for exposure to cleaners and disinfectant increased substantially in March, corresponding with the rise in COVID-19 cases. Follow CDC’s guidance on cleaning and disinfecting your home. When using household cleaners and disinfectants, follow label instructions; don’t mix chemicals; wear protective gear; and store chemicals out of reach of children.

38 New COVID-19 Cases and 2 New COVID-19 Fatalities in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 421, including 10 fatalities. The Virginia Department of Health is now counting cases that are considered “probable” in addition to positive test results in this total number. Probable cases include symptomatic patients diagnosed in a clinical setting, but not tested. This change in case categorization provides a more accurate picture of how COVID-19 is impacting Alexandria. 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.

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, or consult a list of resources for patients without a primary care physician or health insurance (also available in Spanish, Amharic and  Arabic). 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

  • Stay Home. Do not leave your home unless it is essential, such as to purchase groceries or obtain medical care. It is especially important to stay home if you are feeling sick, and to avoid close contact with people in your home who are sick.
  • Practice physical distancing. Stay at least 6 feet apart from other people whenever possible.
  • Cover Your Face. If you must leave your home and cannot stay at least 6 feet apart from other people, use a cloth face covering.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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/114877.

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