City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; FDA Hand Sanitizer Warnings Continue; COVIDWISE App Launched; Employee Rights Under Department of Labor Act
For Immediate Release: August 5, 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.
FDA Adds Additional Products to Hand Sanitizer Warning List
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that certain brands of hand sanitizer contain insufficient amounts of ethyl or isopropyl alcohol to effectively deactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. This warning follows others regarding brands that contain the toxic chemical methanol. As a result, the list of hand sanitizer brands that are banned from being imported into the United States from Mexico continues to grow. Hand washing for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing the nose, remains the best method for prevention. Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% ethyl alcohol (or ethanol) should only be used when soap and water are not available. The FDA requests that health care professionals, consumers, and patients report adverse events or quality problems with hand sanitizers to their MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program, providing as much information as possible to identify the product.
Governor Northam Announces New COVID-19 Exposure App
Earlier today, Governor Northam announced the launch of an app developed by the Virginia Department of Health that notifies users if they have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app, COVIDWISE, is free to download from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store, and uses Bluetooth to identify close contacts anonymously. Watch an informational briefing with the app developers, and read the one-page information sheet about COVIDWISE. The document is also available in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
Employee Rights Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Act ensures that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and covering the expenses associated with following public health guidance to combat COVID-19, and also reimburses businesses. FFCRA generally requires employers covered under the Act to provide sick leave if an employee is required to self-quarantine or has symptoms of COVID-19; is caring for an individual in quarantine or a child whose school or daycare is closed; or is experiencing a similar situation due to COVID-19. Part-time employees are also eligible for sick leave. Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who lawfully takes paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA, and are subject to penalties and enforcement by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. These provisions will apply through December 31, 2020.
5 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria
The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 2,872, including 60 fatalities. COVID-19 is spread by people whether or not they have symptoms, and AHD estimates that nearly 10% of infected Alexandrians have required hospitalization. Everyone must do their part to stop the spread: maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others, wear a mask, and carry and use hand sanitizer. With a recent increase in cases, you are more likely to encounter someone who is infected. Be prepared to answer a call from the Alexandria Health Department in case you are identified as a close contact. Detailed data, including data on age, race and ethnicity, is available through links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/117122.