How Alexandrians get COVID-19: the health department’s survey results

Virginia

Between September 21 and October 19, the Alexandria Health Department interviewed 422 residents diagnosed with the coronavirus.

“What we’re learning is everybody is susceptible,” said Stephen Haering, director of the Alexandria Health Department.

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — Between September 21 and October 19, the Alexandria Health Department interviewed 422 residents diagnosed with the coronavirus. Case investigators asked the respondents to identify where they’d been during the two weeks leading up to their diagnosis.

  • 44% lived with someone who recently had COVID-19. 
  • 25% went to their workplace. 
  • 10% went to a public event, social gathering, or entertainment activity, with most gatherings occurring indoors. 
  • 7% traveled outside of the Alexandria/D.C. area, with most travel in the U.S.
  • 7% went to a restaurant or bar, with two-thirds eating indoors and one-third eating outdoors.

“What we’re learning is everybody is susceptible,” said Dr. Stephen Haering, director of the Alexandria Health Department. “Everybody is vulnerable to this. So even people identifying that their place of home is a source. That means somebody else in the home went out, got it, and brought it home.”

The health department advises the following:

  • Protect coworkers by not entering workplaces when ill or recently in close contact with someone with COVID-19. 
  • If someone in your household is ill, immediately take precautions such as wearing masks when in common areas, avoiding shared utensils, and staying 6 feet apart. 
  • Limit indoor social gatherings, and choose lower-risk activities for holiday celebrations. 
  • Avoid travel as much as possible, particularly to areas of the U.S. experiencing surges of cases. For necessary travel, follow CDC’s guidance to lower the risk of COVID-19. 
  • Maintain mask usage as much as possible, including while waiting to order or receive food at restaurants.
  • Support businesses that have completed the ALX Promise voluntary accreditation program, since these entities have taken additional training with AHD and have pledged to go above and beyond minimum state safety standards for employees and customers. 

With Halloween around the corner and Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah in the months following, Haering says to be extra cautious.

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