March 2020
Newsletter
Annoucements
Message from the Board

Dear Fellow Community Members,
 
Given the COVID-19 public health crisis this is not the typical SAPCA newsletter. While SAPCA is still working hard to prevent and reduce substance use among our youth in Alexandria, we thought it was important to send information on important resources regarding COVID-19. You will read in this newsletter that the City has a COVID-19 website with all of the latest information as well as a text line you can sign up for to receive news as soon as it comes out.
 
While we all are practicing good social distancing techniques and staying inside our homes as much as possible, there is another way to help our community. That is by completing your Census form. It is simple, fast and easy to complete right from your home and the information you provide is vital to federal funding Alexandria receives. Information about the Census is also included in this newsletter.
 
We are living in trying times with a lot of uncertainty. But we are living in Alexandria -- a caring, welcoming and helpful community. Let's continue with excellent hand-washing and social distancing. But let's also maintain our social connectiveness by calling, texting, and video conferencing with our colleagues, friends, and family.
 
As always, if you have questions or concerns about preventing youth from using tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, or other drugs, please contact the SAPCA Coordinator, Emma Beall for information and resources.
 
We wish you good health and happiness now more than ever.
 
Sincerely,

The SAPCA Board of Directors
Alexandria Health Department Urges Everyone to Stay Home If Possible

All Alexandrians must be vigilant and act now to protect our community from COVID-19 coronavirus spread. The Alexandria Health Department strongly urges everyone to stay home except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care.   

Public health officials have noted evidence of community transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus in parts of Northern Virginia. Infectious diseases do not respect boundaries. Each individual is a critical part of slowing the spread of COVID-19, in addition to government action at the local, state and federal levels.
Governor Orders New Restrictions to Promote Social Distancing

On March 23, Governor Northam issued an executive order providing for many new restrictions. The  announcement  includes the full text of the executive order and a list of frequently asked questions. The following restrictions will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24:
  • All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide. This does not include gatherings that involve the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.
  • All schools will remain closed through the end of this academic year. 
  • Non-essential recreation and entertainment businesses must close to the public.
  • Dining and congregation areas of food service establishments and farmers' markets must close to the public. These establishments may continue to offer delivery and takeout services. Visit Alexandria is helping everyone experience Alexandria's restaurants, shops and attractions  from the comfort of your own home.
  • Essential retail businesses may remain open during normal business hours, but must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.
  • Non-essential retail businesses must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment, adhere to social distancing recommendations, sanitize common surfaces, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.
  • Non-essential professional businesses must use telework as much as possible. Where telework is not feasible, such businesses must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing procedures, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.
The Alexandria Health Department encourages businesses and customers to use online or phone payments (rather than in-person credit card or cash payments) to avoid shared surfaces. Customers who pay in person should insert their own cards into readers when possible, and avoid sharing pens. Businesses should sanitize touch screens after each customer.

On March 17, Governor Northam  recommended  that individuals with chronic health conditions or age 65 or older should self-quarantine, because they are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. He encouraged neighbors and friends to stay in touch and regularly check in with high-risk individuals.
Three New COVID-19 Cases in Alexandria, Bringing the Total to Nine

On March 23, the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) confirmed three additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to nine. 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.
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. If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, call your primary care physician 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.
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 .
Teen Wellness Center Services Availability

The Teen Wellness Center at T.C. Williams is still open to all residents age 12-19 for family planning, STI, and counseling services. Please call ahead to make an appointment at 703.746.4776. Note: The Teen Wellness Center will not be diagnosing or treating COVID-19. 
Keep Connected

To receive text message alerts from the City related to COVID-19, text ALEXCOVID19 to 888777. For more information about the COVID-19 coronavirus and how you can help protect yourself and those around you, visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Virginia residents can also call the Virginia Department of Health public information line, 877-ASK-VDH3, for questions about the novel coronavirus situation. If you have chest pain or shortness of breath, call or text 911.
Food Distribution for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Students 

Starting Monday, March 23, ACPS will provide two days worth of breakfast and lunch meals free for Alexandria City kids or teens between the ages of 2 and 18 years-old on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (one day's worth of meals only) between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. at the following locations:
 
William Ramsay Elementary School
5700 Sanger Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22311

Francis C. Hammond Middle School
4646 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22304

Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology
3600 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305 

Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School
1501 Cameron Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314

T.C. Williams High School, Chinquapin Drive Entrance
330 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302

NO SIGN UP OR REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO RECEIVE MEALS

NOTE: No food distribution will occur on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The limited days for distribution is to support the practice of social distancing and to limit social gatherings.

Other Food Resources in the City of Alexandria
For food pantry locations and schedules in Alexandria, visit hungerfreealexandria.com or call 703-662-1067.

Questions? Or need Translation?
Send us your question in Spanish, Arabic or Amharic:
  • Text ACPSMEALS to 797979 (English and Spanish) 
  • Call or text 703-927-6866 (Amharic)
  • Call or text 703-927-7095 (Arabic)
OR

Call the FACE Center's Bilingual Parent Information Lines:
  • For Spanish, call 571-775-9719, Monday-Friday (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
  • For Amharic, call 703-927-6866, Monday-Friday (9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)
  • For Arabic, call 703-927-7095, Tuesday-Thursday (9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.)
Volunteer and Donation Opportunities 
  • Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a group of medical and non-medical volunteers who support the Alexandria Health Department in emergency preparedness, response and recovery. In response to COVID-19, new volunteers are urged to join Alexandria MRC to help with staffing the call center and conducting community outreach to our most vulnerable populations. Training will be provided.
  • Volunteer Alexandria is your Community Resource for Volunteerism. Volunteers are still needed to help our most our families in need. Before you volunteer, ask yourself:
    • Have you been at any places and therefore exposed where people have tested posted for COVID-19? If so, do not volunteer.
    • Do you exhibit any symptoms of a respiratory illness including fever, runny nose, sore throat, coughing or difficulty breathing now or in the past 24 hours? If so, do not volunteer.
    • If you are healthy and ready to volunteer, please take measures and bring your own sanitizer, wipes, and keep distance from other people.
  • Click here to donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
2020 U.S. Census Information

In March 2020, every household in the United States will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. 

The Census is important because it is used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and allocate over $675 billion in federal resources to state and local governments. The City of Alexandria uses Census data to learn about our population and serve all residents equitably. Whether you were born in the U.S., moved here 10 years ago, or moved here 10 days ago, you are entitled to your share of representation and resources!


How will the Census affect me?

In March 2020, all residential addresses will receive a invitation in the mail to participate in the 2020 Census. You may respond online, over the phone, or by mail depending on your preference. The online Census form  will be available in 12 languages other than English, and  language guides are available for 60 languages.

Census Day is April 1, 2020. Households that have not participated in the Census by this point may be contacted at their home by a Census Bureau representative.

Any information you share with the Census Bureau is strictly confidential. By law the Census Bureau cannot share individual responses with anyone, including any court of law, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, state or federal welfare departments, or governments and programs. The Census Bureau only uses individual responses to produce summary statistics, which further protects individuals from being identified inadvertently.

What questions are on the Census?
The 2020 Census will ask: 
  1. How many people are living or staying in your home on April 1, 2020
  2. Whether the home is owned or rented
  3. Each person's sex
  4. Each person's age
  5. Each person's race
  6. Whether each person is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin
  7. The relationship of each person to the householder

Contact Us:
Emma Beall, SAPCA Coordinator
Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria 
123 N Pitt St, Suite 225
Alexandria, VA 22314
O: 703.746.3670 
C: 571.302.1022
emma.beall @alexandriava.gov
STAY CONNECTED!