ALEXANDRIA, La. (COA) - City of Alexandria officials are closely monitoring information regarding the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (first detected in Wuhan, China) illustration provided by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Source: AP Images
Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall and his leadership team have been in touch with state health officials and are monitoring updates daily. Officials have also met to review contingencies should a widespread outbreak of the virus occur locally.
“Our first concern is the safety of our employees and citizens,” Mayor Hall said. “From that standpoint, we are encouraging everyone to follow the basic safety guidelines that have been announced, such as washing your hands regularly and staying home if you feel sick. We will have meetings with employees to help educate them on prevention techniques as well as how to respond if they develop symptoms.
“Our other concern is ensuring continuity of services if Alexandria is impacted by widespread infections,” Hall continued. “We have contingencies in place in case of emergencies, and we have key functions and tasks identified to make sure we have the personnel in place to ensure critical services including utility service and police and fire protection are consistently available. Our hope is Alexandria will not be heavily impacted, but we are ready and can adjust as needed, including the capability for some employees to work from home, to provide vital services to our residents.”
At this time, all city operations are continuing as normal. In the event of a substantial local outbreak, the city will work with public health agencies and adjust accordingly. For example, public facilities where crowds could gather such as the Alexandria Zoo, Randolph Riverfront Center, Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center, as well as the various community centers, could be closed in the interest of public safety. The ATRANS public transportation system could also be affected in the event of a widespread local outbreak.
“We certainly hope that we don’t see that level of infection locally,” Hall said. “We are preparing much like we would do if a hurricane was forecast. We are reviewing our contingencies and making sure that we have everything covered to the best of our ability. We hope that it doesn’t come here, but if it does, we will be ready and we will adjust as needed.”
Copyright 2020 City of Alexandria. All rights reserved.