Alexandria, VA

With the first confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the D.C. area, Alexandria’s DASH transit agency says it will be taking extra precautions.

In a press release Friday afternoon, DASH said it is “increasing facility and vehicle cleaning with a special focus on critical touchpoints such as door handles, handrails and other surfaces.” It is also encouraging passengers “to utilize everyday methods to prevent the spread of germs recommended by the CDC and Alexandria’s Health Department.”

More from the press release:

Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) is joining regional transit agencies and local authorities in taking steps to prepare for and prevent the spread of COVID-19 or novel coronavirus. As a public transportation agency responsible for the safety and security of thousands of passengers daily, DASH is increasing measures to maintain a safe and healthy environment for its passengers and personnel.

“We’re a public transit agency, so of course safety is always our top priority. We are taking precautions and preparing in accordance with CDC guidelines to protect both our passengers and our personnel,” said Stephanie Salzone, DASH safety and security manager.

DASH is increasing facility and vehicle cleaning with a special focus on critical touchpoints such as door handles, handrails and other surfaces. These cleanings will incorporate disinfection procedures indicated to be effective against COVID-19. These measures apply to all DASH buses and King Street Trolleys.

In addition to these efforts, DASH encourages all passengers to utilize everyday methods to prevent the spread of germs recommended by the CDC and Alexandria’s Health Department. These include frequently and effectively washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Be sure to follow the CDC’s guidelines for proper handwashing.

The public is also encouraged to cover any coughing or sneezing with a tissue or sleeve. Used tissues should be immediately discarded in an appropriate garbage receptacle. Hands should be washed immediately after coughing or sneezing.

Finally, anyone experiencing fever, coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath is encouraged to stay home and avoid outside contact whenever possible.

According to the CDC, general risk among the American public outside of areas with confirmed cases of COVID-19 is low. Of the 164 of coronavirus across 19 states, none have been reported in Virginia or the district. As of March 5, three individuals in Maryland have tested positive for the virus and Governor Hogan has declared a state of emergency.

The City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Health Department, Inova Health System, and the Alexandria City Public Schools will host an online virtual information session on Thursday, March 12, from 8 to 9 p.m., to provide information and answer questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus. The session will also address how government agencies, businesses and residents can prepare. A recording of the session will be available after the session end

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