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New Models Show Social Distancing Works to Fight COVID-19 Spread

Findings sponsored by UVA and RAND Corporation

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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 6 apart from others when in public. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Physical Distancing is Working — Keep it Up!
New infectious disease modeling
 by the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute and the nonprofit RAND Corporation shows that physical distancing is slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia. Current models show physical distancing measures that began on March 15 are keeping the rate of new cases steady. This means that although cases are increasing, they are not increasing as quickly as before. Although data and testing remain limited, current trends suggest the state’s hospital bed capacity will be sufficient in the near future. However, because lifting physical distancing restrictions too soon could quickly lead to a second wave of COVID-19, everyone must remain vigilant in maintaining physical distancing and other measures to continue slowing the spread of the virus.

New Data Available on COVID-19 Cases and Testing
The Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard now shows the total number of cases, fatalities and hospitalizations by state health district. As of April 14, 1,194 Alexandria residents have been tested for COVID-19 by healthcare providers.. The dashboard also includes two “outbreaks,” which represent any single facility with two or more confirmed cases. Note that data on the dashboard lag slightly behind the case and fatality counts below.

Of all completed tests in Alexandria, four out of five have been negative. AHD has requested specific data on the age, gender and racial breakdowns of the existing COVID-19 cases. Most people who get COVID-19 recover on their own at home and do not need testing or treatment. If you have severe symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider for an evaluation. If you don’t have a healthcare provider or insurance, use this resource to find care. Anyone who is sick should follow AHD recommendations to keep their neighbors and loved ones safe from infection.

7 New COVID-19 Cases and 2 New Fatalities in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to 248 Cases and 4 Fatalities
On April 14, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed seven additional cases of COVID-19 and two additional fatalities in Alexandria, bringing the total number of cases to 248 (including four fatalities). 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. It is essential for all community members to stay home as much as possible, even if they don’t have a diagnosed illness.

To respect the privacy of individuals and their families, AHD will not disclose additional details about cases or fatalities unless there is a public health need to do so. AHD is contacting all confirmed cases and providing them guidance to give to their close contacts (people who came within 6 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.

If You Have Symptoms or a Diagnosis 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.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive, follow these steps to protect your neighbors and loved ones from infection.

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.

Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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