City Seeks to Fight COVID-19 Stigma

Discrimination harms people emotionally and can lead to violence

Courtesy photo

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

Combating COVID-19 Stigma
Anxiety about the COVID-19 can cause fear and hostility that hurts people and makes it harder to keep everyone healthy. This disease knows no neighborhood boundaries, and the virus presents a risk to everyone. Alexandria is stronger as a community when we stand together against stigma, which can lead to discrimination. Combating COVID-19 Stigma flyers are available in English, Spanish, Amharic and Arabic, to help share ways to prevent, interrupt and respond to stigma. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information about coping and reducing stigma.

11 New COVID-19 Cases in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 141
On April 7, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed 11 additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 141. Many of the recent results were from tests done four to eight days prior. This lag in test results underscores the continued need for all community members to stay home as much as possible, even if they don’t have a diagnosed illness. AHD is contacting all confirmed cases and providing them guidance to give to their close contacts (people who came within six feet of cases for more than 10 minutes). AHD is also calling close contacts of confirmed cases in high risk settings (e.g., nursing homes, assisted living facilities, healthcare centers). All close contacts are asked to self-quarantine and actively monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms. If they start experiencing symptoms, they are advised to seek medical care if their symptoms are severe or if they are healthcare workers or first responders. The rise in positive cases is likely due to a combination of additional testing capacity through private healthcare providers as well as an increase in community transmission.

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.

READ MORE: Alexandrians Band Together to Support Hospital Workers During Covid Crisis