City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Increase in Fatalities; Community Testing for the Uninsured; Changes to Library Services; Mental Health Services
For Immediate Release: December 4, 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. To stop the spread of COVID-19, the state order and City ordinance require everyone to wear a mask over their noses and mouths 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, with limited exceptions. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you.
Six COVID-19 Related Fatalities in the Past Week
AHD reports that there have been six fatalities in Alexandria due to COVID-19 in the past week. The Virginia Department of Health’s website has a reporting lag and is currently displaying four of these deaths. This is the most deaths related to COVID-19 in a one-week period since June, and the total is now 83 deaths. The increase in fatalities coincides with Alexandria's highest seven-day running average of positive cases since the pandemic began. AHD reminds everyone that you are safest at home and to always take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Community Testing for the Uninsured
AHD and the City conduct targeted COVID-19 community testing events for people who live and work in the immediate neighborhood of each location, especially for those who are uninsured. On Thursday, December 3, more than 220 people were tested at Charles Houston Recreation Center with support from MRC volunteers. Residents who travelled over Thanksgiving, or engaged in
high risk activities such as attending indoor gatherings; shopping in crowded stores; or spending time in crowded bars or restaurants, should get tested.
Another community testing event will be held this Saturday, December 5, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at Witter Field (2660 Witter Drive). The City’s “ Get Tested” web page contains other testing locations and organizations for anyone who is insured, has been exposed to COVID-19, or is not experiencing symptoms. Call or book an appointment online before going to any facility. AHD will continue to identify future sites and coordinate targeted testing events.
Changes to Library Services
Effective Monday, December 7, Alexandria Libraries will resume Phase 2 operations, with curbside pick-up and virtual services only until further notice. The change in services is due to the increase in positive cases and risk of COVID-19 transmission in Alexandria and surrounding jurisdictions. All branches except the Law Library are closed to the public. Curbside pick-up hours vary by branch. Telephone and virtual services will continue during curbside hours. Hold items can be reserved online and will be held for four days after notification. Returned items will be held in quarantine for seven days before being removed from accounts, with no fines accrued during the holding period. Staff-Assisted Materials Selections service is still available for materials not available through the hold system and can be coordinated with library locations. No donations will be accepted at this time. All fees and late payments must be made online, or by check or mail order through the mail. The Library Board is working closely with the City and AHD, and will keep residents informed of changes as they are made.
Mental Health Resources
Mental health-related emergency room visits are increasing. The holidays are normally a time of increased stress, but with more positive cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria and the region, this year’s holiday stress may be compounded by feelings of isolation and depression. Self-care techniques, such as reaching out to loved ones, exercising and getting enough sleep, can help manage normal holiday stress. The City has compiled coping resources for youths, parents and caregivers of children and older adults, and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Multicultural mental health resources offer support for race-based trauma, LGBTQ community and immigrants, and include Spanish-language materials. The City also provides resources for clinical and emergency mental health and substance use. Crisis resources are available 24/7 for sexual assault and domestic violence hotlines, adult and child protective services and substance use treatment. Call or text 911, or go to the nearest emergency room for all life-threatening emergencies. The City recommends several mental health support hotlines:
VA COPES: Call or text 877.349.6428. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and weekends, 5-9 p.m. Non-emergency warmline. Spanish speakers available.
Parent Support Line: Call 703.324.7720, or text “support” or “parenting” to 30644. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Spanish speakers available.
PRS CrisisLink Hotline: Call 703.527.4077 or text “connect” to 855-11. Available 24/7.
Emergency Mental Health Services: Call 703.746.3401. Available 24/7.
Alexandria COVID-19 Data At-a-Glance
The chart below, containing the seven-day moving average number of COVID-19 cases and the daily and cumulative case and fatality counts, provides detailed information about how preventive measures are impacting Alexandria's response to the pandemic. An interactive version is available at alexandriava.gov/114883. Detailed data, including data on age, race and ethnicity, are available through links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus.
AHD estimates that approximately 1 in 15 Alexandrians who tested positive for COVID-19 have required hospitalization. An estimated 66% of Virginia adults who become infected never have symptoms. The best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 remain wearing a mask in public, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others, and frequently washing your hands or carrying and using hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethyl alcohol. Help your loved ones and neighbors by answering a call from AHD if identified as a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, and download the Virginia Department of Health’s COVIDWISE app to be quickly and anonymously notified of likely exposure to the virus.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/119224.