City of Alexandria and Alexandria Health Department Support Neighborhood Health COVID-19 Community Testing Initiative

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City of Alexandria and Alexandria Health Department Support Neighborhood Health COVID-19 Community Testing Initiative

­­For Immediate Release: May 16, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department provided logistics and public health support for a pilot initiative by Neighborhood Health today to provide community testing for COVID-19. “Community testing” refers to testing residents regardless of whether they have symptoms of the virus. So far, virtually all other COVID-19 testing in Alexandria has been available only to people with symptoms. The May 16 testing event was intended as the first step in the process to expand community testing as capacity expands in the future. The Alexandria Health Department and Neighborhood Health coordinated the event with Arlandria-based nonprofits Casa Chirilagua, Community Lodgings, and Tenants and Workers United to reach Alexandrians in the areas hardest hit by COVID-19 so far. 

The event collected 236 samples to be tested. The Alexandria Health Department will contact individuals with both positive and negative results. Neighborhood Health will contact any individual who tests positive and connect them with medical care if they do not already have a provider. Neighborhood Health and the Alexandria Health Department will provide guidance to any individuals with positive test results, including information about steps to protect others from infection (Spanish | Amharic | Arabic). 

Anyone who is not feeling well should call their primary care physicians to ask if it is appropriate to come in for an exam or test. Residents may also call one of these healthcare facilities that provide COVID-19 screening and testing (Spanish | Amharic | Arabic ).

Neighborhood Health, a nonprofit community health center serving approximately 8,500 low-income Alexandria residents, conducts COVID-19 screening and testing for its patients. Patients who need evaluation should call 703.535.5568 for a phone or video appointment with a provider. The provider will order a test if indicated and schedule it to be conducted at an outdoor testing location in the Arlandria or West End areas of Alexandria, or in Fairfax County. All Neighborhood Health sites require appointments; walk-ins are not accepted.

For the May 16 community testing, the Alexandria Health Department provided personal protective equipment, 23 Medical Reserve Corps volunteers to help with patient flow, and coordination with community partners and relevant City agencies; and will be conducting follow up calls to those who were tested. The City provided logistics support for vehicle-side testing; informational materials for those who were tested; signage; traffic and parking control; and emergency medical support. The agencies have previously provided support for expanded testing capacity in Alexandria.

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 This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/115474.

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