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Number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia rises to 51

Photo: Virginia Dept. of Health
Photo: Virginia Dept. of Health(WHSV)
Published: Mar. 16, 2020 at 11:59 AM EDT
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As of Monday, 51 patients have tested "presumptive positive" or positive for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Health updates its total number of cases once per day, around noon, including both cases that have tested positive and been confirmed on a federal level by the CDC and cases that have tested positive on a state level and are still awaiting CDC confirmation.

A total of 489 patients had been tested for the virus in Virginia as of the time the department's numbers were updated Monday.

What’s happening nationally?

President Donald Trump has

in order to free up more money and resources. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a deal with the Trump administration for an aid package from Congress that would provide free tests, sick pay for workers and bolster food programs.

The CDC is

or postponed over the next eight weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. That recommendation has led to significantly more business closures across the country.

Two emergency room doctors in the United States are in ‘critical condition’ with coronavirus. The ACEP said that a doctor in his 40s in the state of Washington and another doctor in his 70s in New Jersey have tested positive for coronavirus.

What about in Virginia?

On Thursday, Governor Ralph Northam

in response to COVID-19, with many local officials doing the same in the following days.

Over the weekend, he also

statewide.

Officials expect the cases to continue to rise sharply, but Northam said the pandemic will not cripple the commonwealth.

Where are all the cases?

As of Monday around midday, the Virginia Department of Health reported 51 cases throughout the state.

The breakdown of where they are is this: 10 in Fairfax County, 10 in James City County, 1 in York County, 9 in Arlington County, 5 in Loudoun County, 4 in Virginia Beach, 3 in Prince William County, 1 in Spotsylvania County, 1 in Prince Edward County (identified in Farmville where a Longwood student tested positive), 1 in Hanover County, 2 in Chesterfield County, 2 in Alexandria, and 1 in Harrisonburg.

The case total listed by the VDH does not include

confirmed by UVA officials on Monday.

Have there been any deaths?

On Saturday, the Virginia Department of Health and the Peninsula Health District

who previously tested positive for coronavirus, marking the first death in the Commonwealth of Virginia due to coronavirus.

The Peninsula Health District has 10 cases in the James City City area and 1 in York County. Officials are tracing their steps and have identified roughly 280 people who came in contact with patients.

All schools closed

Schools across the state

.

All K-12 schools will be closed from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27, at a minimum. Localities will still decide specific staffing decisions to ensure students maintain continuity of services or learning.

If parents need help with lunches during this time, almost all local school districts are developing ways to get meals to students during the closure. WHSV is compiling a list for all of our local school districts.

What is canceled?

Governor Northam banned all gatherings of 100 people or more throughout the state. Within the peninsula district, events with 50 people or more have been banned.

Locally, major events have been postponed or canceled due to the health risks surrounding COVID-19. Check our

and

for the latest cancellations and postponements.

Many businesses and offices are also closing. Make sure you call ahead before you go places throughout the weekend!

Flattening the Curve

All of the cancellations - including major sporting events around the country - are happening in hopes of “flattening the curve” of the virus.

While letting the virus spread rapidly could shorten the duration of the pandemic, it could be a lot of strain on hospitals, putting them overcapacity. The goal is to keep the apex curve below hospital capacity.

How can we prevent the spread?

People are rushing to stores to buy cleaning supplies or other items in the event of a quarantine.

To help your shopping, the Environmental Protection Agency has expanded its list of disinfectants that have qualified for use against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

, including 40 new products that went through the agency’s expedited review process.

But in the end, hand washing and social distancing is your best bet!

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.

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/b> 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 the latest factual information on COVID-19, you're encouraged to check both the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC.