Stay Informed: City Releases Latest COVID-19 Update

CDC issues recent study indicating transmission of coronavirus can occur 48 hours before symptoms appear

Courtesy photo

Alexandria, VA – The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) strongly urge everyone to follow Governor Northam’s order to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care, and keep six feet apart from others whenever possible. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19.

New Evidence that COVID-19 Transmission is Possible Before Symptoms
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new evidence today, based on a study in Singapore, that COVID-19 can be transmitted up to 48 hours before a positive case shows symptoms. This research underscores that the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is through vigilant social distancing, including staying at home except for essential trips. In response to this new evidence, AHD will be shifting its protocol for identifying close contacts of positive cases, to include the 48 hours before the case became symptomatic. Since the U.S. healthcare infrastructure does not currently have the capacity for mass-scale testing, AHD and the City strongly urge all residents to take necessary preventive measures: staying six feet away from people outside of your household members, washing hands frequently, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

Updated Guidance from the CDC for Cleaning Homes and Businesses
New guidelines have been issued by the CDC for how to properly clean and disinfect your home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The recommendations address everyday household care and additional guidance if someone in your household becomes sick. The CDC also released new guidance for cleaning and disinfecting facilities.

Alexandria Library to Purchase Additional eBooks and eAudiobooks
While Alexandria Library locations remain closed until further notice, the City has contributed $50,000 for the purchase of additional online materials. This will provide residents with even more virtual options for Library services than ever and support the state order to stay at home. The Library currently has more than 55,000 eBooks, eAudiobooks, digital magazines, music, movies and online learning, all accessible through the Library’s Digital Collection.

Correction about Alexandria Shelters
A March 31 news release incorrectly noted that many homeless shelters have closed due to COVID-19. While some other locations where persons experiencing homelessness may spend time have closed, formal shelters remain open and are taking precautions to reduce risk. The Winter Shelter, which normally operates from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. during cold weather, has expanded its hours to noon to 7 a.m. and will remain available until April 15.

11 New COVID-19 Cases in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 55
On April 1, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed 11 additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 55. AHD is identifying and contacting individuals who came in close contact with the confirmed cases. The close contacts will be asked to self-quarantine and actively monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms. If they start experiencing symptoms, they will immediately undergo testing. As a result of the AHD’s case investigations and expanded testing through private providers, the number of positive cases is expected to continue to increase.

If You Have Symptoms of COVID-19
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are coughing, fever of over 100.4 F, and shortness of breath. Use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker to review your symptoms. If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, call your healthcare provider to ask whether you should come for an exam or test before visiting in person. Most people who get COVID-19 recover on their own at home and do not need testing or treatment. Anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness should isolate themselves; avoid contact with other people; wash their hands frequently; and disinfect surfaces regularly.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and believe you’ve been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Alexandria Health Department does not provide COVID-19 diagnosis or testing. If you need a letter about your health status, contact your healthcare provider. If AHD has contacted you directly for active monitoring or quarantine, AHD can provide a letter for your employer clearing you to return to work once that is complete.

Protect Yourself and Others, Especially Vulnerable Community Members

  • Wash Your Hands. Rub hands together with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use Hand Sanitizer. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol as you would wash your hands, rubbing them together for 20 seconds.
  • Don’t Touch Your Face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay Home. If you are feeling sick, stay home. If you are well, avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Use Your Elbow. Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. Alternatively, cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands.
  • Disinfect Surfaces. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Manage Stress. The CDC recommends taking breaks from exposure to the news; take deep breaths or meditate; try to eat healthy; get sleep or rest; make time to do activities you enjoy; and connect with others to share your feelings.