2 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The Virginia Department of Health’s Central Shenandoah Health District confirmed Thursday night two additional COVID-19 cases in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area.

The health district now has a total of three positive COVID-19 cases, with the two new cases added to the first case in the Harrisonburg area confirmed a week ago.

“As we continue to see new cases of COVID-19 in our community and throughout the Commonwealth, it is critical that people follow the public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” said Laura Kornegay, M.D., director, CSHD. “Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies in lessening the impact of this pandemic.”

According to the health district, one of the two newly reported cases was for a person in their late 30s/early 40s living in Rockingham County, which marked the county's first positive test for the novel coronavirus.

As for the other case, James Madison University officials reported a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a JMU student around the same time the health district announced their update on Thursday. In a press release, a university spokesperson said that the Virginia Department of Health is managing the case and is reaching out to individuals who may have been in contact with the student.

The university reports the individual lives off campus and recently traveled overseas. University officials confirmed the travel was personal and not university-sponsored. A spokesperson said the student was not treated at the University Health Center and is self-isolating in a location off campus.

JMU recently moved classes online for the rest of spring semester and canceled or postponed all on-campus events through May 15, while asking all students able to leave to go home.

As a reminder, 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.
• If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

For general questions about COVID-19, 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.

The new Harrisonburg/Rockingham County cases confirmed on Thursday night are not yet reflected on that online dashboard, which is updated at noon each day based on the cases that had been submitted to the Virginia Department of Health by 5 p.m. the day before.