City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Cooling Centers Extended Through Thursday; HIV Testing Available; Composting Resumes; Physical Distancing Signs Available

Page archived as of August 4, 2020

City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Cooling Centers Extended Through Thursday; HIV Testing Available; Composting Resumes; Physical Distancing Signs Available

­­For Immediate Release: July 21, 2020

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) remind everyone that you are safest at home. Older adults, persons with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women are at greater risk for severe disease and are advised to minimize potential exposures as much as possible. Please keep at least 6 feet of distance from others. Everyone is required to wear a mask in most indoor public settings. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Cooling Centers Extended Through Thursday

The City has extended the hours of operations for its cooling centers now that the National Weather Service has extended its hazardous weather outlook for the Alexandria area through Thursday, July 23. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 90s, and combined with high humidity, will cause heat indices in excess of 105 degrees. Prolonged exposure to hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, cramps, or in extreme cases, heat stroke. Beat the heat by staying hydrated, limiting outdoor activities, and wearing loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing.

The following locations will be made available for cooling centers:

  • Open July 22 and 23: Oswald Durant Center (1605 Cameron St.), 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • Open July 22 and 23: T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus (3801 W. Braddock Road), 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • Open July 23 only: Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St.), 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 

HIV Testing in Alexandria Now Includes Home Testing

While COVID-19 is a priority for residents and local public health professionals, HIV/AIDS continues to be a critical concern for Alexandria. The rate of people living with HIV in Alexandria is more than double the rate of neighboring counties and the rest of Virginia. To address this, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is now providing HIV home testing kits by mail. Individuals can obtain free testing through VDH via VA-Test-at-Home (English and Spanish) or can contact one of the following local organizations to request a kit: NovalSalud, Inc., FAHASS or Inova Juniper. In addition, in-person services are available at:

  • AHD's Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic provides free and confidential HIV rapid testing for those exposed to HIV and testing to people through scheduled appointments. Call 703.746.4888 for an appointment.

  • The Teen Wellness Center at T. C. Williams High School also offers HIV tests weekdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., for Alexandria youth between the ages of 12-19. Call 703.746.4776 for an appointment. 

  • HIV testing and STI screening is also available in person through NOVASalud weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Contact NOVASalud at 703.533.1858 for an appointment. All HIV testing remains free and confidential.

City to Resume Food Waste Composting at Farmers' Markets in August

The City’s food waste composting stations will reopen at the Del Ray and Old Town farmers’ markets on Saturday, August 1, and at the Four Mile Run and West End markets on Sunday, August 2. Service will resume during the normal operating hours, which are available at

To protect staff and members of the public, new COVID-19 protocols will be in place. The City asks residents to wear masks and maintain 6 feet of physical distance from staff and other customers. Shared items such as cloth towels, spoons, and pens will not be available for customer use. To help users and staff maintain distance, the City will temporarily suspend selling kitchen-top compost buckets and giving away compost samples at the markets. As an extra precaution, visitors are encouraged to wash compost bins with soap and hot water after drop off.

While City staff continue to focus on COVID-19 response and a historic increase in refuse and recycling volume, food waste drop off locations will be staffed by Agricity, a small, local sustainability company with experience managing and building composting programs across the region. For more information, please

Resource Catalog: Physical Distancing

Public health experts continue to advise that maintaining physical distance from others is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. Phase Three of the Forward Virginia blueprint recommends different distances depending on location and activity. For example, general guidance is to maintain 6 feet of distance when outside your home, but some activities, like sports and exercise, require 10 feet of distance. The City has produced a number of signs that are specific to the distance recommended, and some that incorporate physical distancing among other critical steps to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. All signs listed in the Catalog of Resources can be downloaded or printed, or printed copies can be requested

23 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 2,582 including 56 fatalities. Detailed data, including data on age, race and ethnicity, is available through links at The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread both by people who are symptomatic and by those who do not know that they are infected. Everyone is safest at home. This is especially true for those in high-risk populations (such as older adults, persons living in long-term care facilities, and those with serious underlying medical conditions). If you must go out, please maintain 6 feet of distance from others, wear a mask, and always carry hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol with you. Everyone must do their part to stop the spread.


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This news release is available at