On March 12, the City of Alexandria announced to the public the existence of the first case presumptive-positive of the Coronavirus, COVID-19. Presumptive-positive means that the patient tested positive for COVID-19 according to the test administered by the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in Richmond and is awaiting confirmation from the the Centers for Disease Control.
A D.C. resident affiliated with Christ Church in Georgetown, where several parishioners have tested positive for the virus, had recent contact with the Immanuel Chapel at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. This individual is doing well, being self-confined at home for the duration of contagiousness and recovery.
Governor Ralph Northam today declared a State of Emergency. Throughout the City, the region, and the State of Virginia, public events have been cancelled or delayed, workers are being directed to telecommute, and health-care facilities are at the ready. Colleges are being emptied, ending the semester early while providing distance education options. Area school systems are taking advantage of unused snow days, due to the almost snow-free winter, to suspend school instruction and activities for at least the coming week.
The National Basketball Association has suspended its season and Major League Baseball delayed Opening Day, suspending all further pre-season games as well. March Madness thus far goes on but playing to empty stands. (By the time this article was ready to be published they had cancelled the NCAA Tournament altogether.)
Italy has closed its borders while the US has precluded travel from countries within Europe. Actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were hospitalized in Australia having tested positive for COVID-19 delaying the filming of an Elvis Presley movie. They have even closed Disneyland for the foreseeable future. And the lights have gone out on the Great White Way – Broadway!
In light of the fact that this is a rapidly evolving crisis, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson asks in his Facebook post that residents, commuters, and visitors be aware and remember: “There are dedicated public administrators at every level of government who are right now making decisions without precedent. They are using the best facts they have and with the knowledge they will impact many, including those most important to them.”
Tonight at 8 pm the City of Alexandria will hold a virtual information session with the Alexandria Health Department (AHD), Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), INOVA Alexandria Hospital, and Alexandria City Government participating. From 8-9 pm people can go to www.alexandriava.gov/Health in order to access the session. Representatives from these organizations will be able to offer more detailed information and answer questions.
In the meantime everyone is urged to practice the health and safety guidelines presented by health professionals and the CDC:
Don’t panic. Keep in contact with your most vulnerable neighbors, friends, and family who may be alone and/or home bound.Practice good hand washing using hot water and soap for at least 30 seconds.
Avoid touching the face- employ tissues and dispose after use.
Attempt to maintain a six-foot distance between others.
Eat a good balanced diet.
Sleep well- as best you can for as long as you can. Nap!
Drink plenty of room temperature water.
Clean door, drawer, and cabinet knobs and other frequently contacted surfaces often.
Be sure to have your prescription and over-the-counter meds filled ahead.
Treat yourself to the little pleasures of everyday life: wine, chocolate, a donut, a nice cup of tea, meditation, a good read, a walk, run or spin if your health warrants it. Be prepared, be careful, and be kind.