WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) — The city of Waynesboro has confirmed that two city residents tested positive for COVID-19.
According to a statement by the city, the Central Shenandoah Health District informed city officials that they had received two positive test results for the coronavirus from Waynesboro residents.
Neither the city nor the health district released any details on the patients, their travel history, or where they were believed to have contracted the virus.
Health investigators are looking into any of the people the two patients were in contact with before their positive tests.
Waynesboro officials, along with the Virginia Department of Health, advise citizens to stay at home except for essential reasons, in line with Gov. Northam's Stay at Home order issued on Monday.
Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County (which now all have positive tests for COVID-19) have dedicated webpages to keep their citizens up to date on the coronavirus:
· City of Waynesboro: https://www.waynesboro.va.us/1033/Coronavirus
· City of Staunton: www.staunton.va.us/COVID-19
· Augusta County: www.AugustaCountyVA.gov/covid19
The latest update to the Virginia Department of Health website on Tuesday showed two cases for Waynesboro, but still did not show the Augusta County and Staunton cases confirmed to WHSV by the Central Shenandoah Health District on Sunday.
Augusta County and Staunton saw their first confirmed cases on Sunday.
However, due to the system of submitting cases to the Virginia Department of Health, those three cases did not appear on the state website on Monday. They still did not appear on Tuesday, either.
Local health districts are no longer sending individual updates for every new case, but releases are being sent for most cases that are the first in a particular locality.
The Central Shenandoah Health District covers Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge and Rockingham counties, as well as the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton and Waynesboro.
Other cases in the Central Shenandoah Health District
As of Monday, March 30, Dr. Laura Kornegay, with the Central Shenandoah Health District, had confirmed to WHSV that, in addition to the 6 Harrisonburg cases and 5 Rockingham County cases, two cases had been confirmed in Augusta County and one case in Staunton.
One of the cases confirmed in Augusta County was for an employee of McKee foods in Stuarts Draft.
Mike Gloekler, a spokesperson for McKee, told WHSV that an employee of their Stuarts Draft facility had been placed in medical leave more than two weeks ago, but officially tested positive for the disease at the end of last week.
Gloekler said no other employees are affected or have been asked to self-quarantine since the employee had been self-isolated well before testing positive.
The company has increased cleaning and sanitization protocols as a response to the coronavirus while continuing to operate.
Several of the cases were for members of the same Staunton church, a pastor confirmed to WHSV on Monday.
But none of them were identified by tests through Augusta Health. Instead, it's likely their test results were through private labs.
There have also been two confirmed cases in Rockbridge County.
The initial case in Harrisonburg was for a patient in their 60s. One of the first Rockingham County cases was for a patient in their 30s or 40s.
The second Rockingham County case was for a JMU student who traveled to Spain over her spring break before returning home early as travel restrictions went into effect. She shared her experience with the coronavirus with WHSV this past weekend, saying she expects many people may not realize they have been infected, like she initially didn't.
She self-quarantined as soon as she returned to the U.S.
Dept. of Health investigators have been looking into each of the confirmed cases so far to determine who the patients may have been in contact with to try and determine where the virus was contracted and to tell anyone who was in close contact with the patients to self-quarantine.
Virginia case totals as of March 31
As of March 31, the Virginia Department of Health had confirmed 1,250 cases of COVID-19 across the commonwealth. Virginia crossed the 1,000-case threshold on Monday, just a day after the numbers were at 890 on Sunday.
Those positive test results are out of 13,401 people that have been tested in Virginia.
At this point, 165 Virginians have been hospitalized due to the coronavirus, and 27 have died of causes related to the disease.
The Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 website is updating with the latest statewide numbers at 9 a.m. each day.
The numbers that appear on that list are based on the cases that had been submitted to the department by 5 p.m. the previous day, so there is always some lag between when local health districts announce positive test results and when the department's numbers reflect those new results.
General info on COVID-19
Who gets tested for the virus?
Currently, there are two main reasons someone would be tested for the coronavirus: having symptoms or exposure to an infected person. In our area, requirements for testing include both symptoms and either travel to an affected area or exposure to someone with a confirmed case.
The main symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. These look a lot like the flu and the common cold, so it takes a physician to determine if testing for the virus is necessary.
How does the coronavirus test work?
For a patient, the process of being tested for the virus is easy and can potentially be done almost anywhere. It typically involves taking a swab from deep in a patient’s nasal cavity to collect cells from the back of the nose.
The sample is then sent to a lab, where it will be tested to determine if the patient’s cells are infected with the virus. The same process is used to collect a sample from a patient who is tested for flu.
What to know about preventing the virus
Most people don't suffer much from COVID-19, but it can cause severe illness in the elderly and people with existing health problems.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. In a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can cause death, particularly among those who are older or who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Avoid contact with sick people.
• Avoid non-essential travel.
For general questions about COVID-19 in the Central Shenandoah Health District, community members may call the CSHD COVID-19 Hotline at 855.949.8378. For the latest on COVID-19, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus.