City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; AHD Urges Seniors to Get High-Dose Flu Vaccine; Celebrate Safely; Holiday Travel Guidance; Ongoing Targeted Testing
For Immediate Release: October 9, 2020
The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) remind everyone that you are safest at home. Older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions 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. To stop the spread of COVID-19, everyone ages 10 and older must wear a mask over their nose and mouth in indoor public places and when at least 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained between those of different households in outdoor public places. Learn more about the state order and City ordinance requiring masks, including exceptions. Use the Virginia Department of Health’s COVIDWISE app to be quickly and anonymously notified of likely exposure to the virus. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you.
AHD Urges Seniors to Get High-Dose Flu Vaccine
AHD encourages residents ages 65 years and older to obtain the high-dose influenza vaccine, also known as the "Senior Flu Shot." Flu vaccination is particularly important for senior residents, who account for most hospitalizations and deaths from flu, and are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, which shares many characteristics of flu. AHD Medical Reserve Corps recently conducted an informal phone survey of more than 50 Alexandria pharmacies, and found that most of them either have the Senior Flu Shot available currently or will soon. To minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19, seniors are encouraged to call ahead to ensure the Senior Flu Shot vaccine is in stock before visiting a pharmacy. AHD recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older receive a flu shot. Visit the City’s Flu Preparedness web page for more information about flu, flu vaccines, and the similarities and differences between COVID-19, flu, and other common illnesses.
Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day Safely
The City of Alexandria joins more than 130 cities across the country to recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day -- a time to learn about and reflect on the original inhabitants of what is now Alexandria. The City reminds residents that while the day is commonly used as time off from work and school for social gatherings, long weekend getaways, and fall outings, COVID-19 remains a threat in the community. The City’s mask ordinance is in effect, and many surrounding jurisdictions and states have similar guidance. It is safer for gatherings to be held outside with 6 feet of physical distance between members of different households.
Holiday Travel Guidance
The safest way to enjoy the holidays while COVID-19 remains in the community is to find ways to celebrate at home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided updated guidance on safety measures for those who choose to travel instead. Airborne transmission between people is possible, and risk increases in indoor spaces with limited ventilation. The CDC recommends checking the seven-day positive case rate of the intended destination, and reviewing any restrictions or recommendations by country for international travel. Guidance is also offered for risk of exposure depending on the intended method of transportation and how to prevent the spread in various travel situations, including gas stations, rest stops, hotels and restaurants. For everyone’s safety, the CDC recommends quarantining for 14 days following all travel.
Ongoing Targeted COVID-19 Testing Events
AHD and the City recently conducted a targeted COVID-19 testing event in partnership with Neighborhood Health, Alexandria's federally qualified health center. Approximately 75 residents were tested at Armistead L. Boothe Park, with assistance from AHD's Medical Reserve Corps volunteers. In addition to testing, each participant received a packet of health and support service information. AHD will continue to identify future sites and coordinate targeted testing events. Neighborhood Health is a provider of primary care and COVID-19 testing for residents with or without insurance. Make an appointment online or call 703.535.5568.
16 New COVID-19 Cases and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria
The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 3,977, including 73 fatalities. Detailed data, including data on age, race and ethnicity, is available through links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus.
AHD estimates that approximately 1 in 12 infected Alexandrians have required hospitalization. An estimated 66% of Virginia adults who become infected never have symptoms, so everyone must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others, wear a mask over both the nose and mouth, and carry and use hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethyl alcohol. Be prepared to help your family and neighbors by answering a call from AHD if you are identified as a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/118259.