Guidance for People with Disabilities During Pandemic

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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.

Shopping Hours to Reduce COVID-19 Complication Risks
The City’s website now lists Alexandria grocery stores that have provided information about separate shopping hours for customers at higher risk for COVID-19 infection complications. All residents should continue practicing physical distancing while in public and avoid unnecessary trips. AHD’s Environmental Health staff have been conducting outreach to grocery stores with these types of policies to support proper sanitization efforts. Grocery stores interested in beginning similar measures can reach out for technical assistance and guidance at 703.746.4910.

CDC Provides Guidance for Persons with Disabilities
Although most people with disabilities are not inherently at higher risk for becoming infected with or having severe illness from COVID-19, some people with disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection or severe illness because of their underlying medical conditions. All people seem to be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if they have serious underlying chronic medical conditions like chronic lung disease, a serious heart condition, or a weakened immune system. Adults with disabilities are three times more likely than adults without disabilities to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities. Review new CDC guidance for persons with disabilities, and talk with your healthcare provider if you have a question about your health or how your health condition is being managed.

8 New COVID-19 Cases in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 149
On April 8, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed eight additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 149 (including one fatality). 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.

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