Gov. Northam announces 9 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Virginia
Nine patients have tested "presumptive positive" for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in Virginia.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced the increased case number in a press conference Wednesday morning from Richmond.
The ninth case identified by the
was confirmed by the Chickahominy Health District.
The patient was identified as a teenager living in the Ashland area. According to the Chickahominy Health District, the teen returned to the United States on March 4 and following guidelines to stay home for 14 days to monitor conditions.
He developed symptoms on March 8 and tested positive Wednesday, March 11.
“Confirming a case of COVID-19 in a Hanover resident does not come as a surprise given international travel from an affected area,” said Chickahominy Health District Director Dr. Thomas Franck, MPH. “The resident followed guidelines to stay home and limit contact with others and we believe the risk to the general community remains low.”
The patient is currently doing well and is isolated at home.
According to the Hanover Health Department, this patient does not attend Hanover County Public Schools (HCPS). However, Hanover County Public Schools will be following response plans to ensure residents are as prepared as possible.
Cleaning efforts have been increased in all schools within Hanover County as well as buses. Additional disinfectants have been added in areas where there have been higher instances of student absences due to illness.
Hanover County Public Schools says all school and school division supported trips such as field trips, athletic trips, etc. outside of Virginia have been canceled through April 13. These trips will include Washington D.C and staff travel to meetings and conferences.
If families are traveling to a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice such as China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, the CDC guidelines state, "Travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States and practice social distancing.”
“We are asking that all families and staff traveling to these countries strictly adhere to the CDC guidance,” Hanover County Public Schools states.
If students are staying home for 14 days, please notify your school immediately to allow the school administration to assist with getting work to students who are self-quarantined.
In an address to the public, Northam said that his team is not declaring a State of Emergency at this point, but is prepared to do so if necessary when the time is right.
The governor said they are asking private businesses to explore teleworking and other methods to reduce person-to-person contact as a way to prevent the spread of the virus.
He stated the commonwealth is planning for every scenario and preparing hospitals, schools and other institutions.
A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health said the state lab in Richmond currently has novel coronavirus testing kits for 300-400 patients and more kits are expected to arrive on Wednesday, increasing testing capacity by another 200. More orders have been placed as well.
Another key point covered in Northam's address was the vast amount of misinformation about the disease widely circulating on social media. He urged people to rely on the
for reliable information, as well as the
Northam emphasized that there have been an alarming number of people projecting unfair stigmas on the Asian-American population, which is unacceptable and not an approach that benefits anyone's health. None of the confirmed cases in Virginia have any established link to Asia.
Each of the cases so far is listed as presumptive because while Virginia's state lab returned a positive test result for the virus in each case, they are not listed as confirmed positive cases until they're confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a federal level.
All of the cases in Virginia have been either in northern, eastern, or central Virginia. No cases have been confirmed in the Shenandoah Valley. You can find a rundown of the other reported cases so far below.
At this point, all of the cases reported in Virginia have been travel-related and there remains no evidence of community transmission in the commonwealth.
This is a rapidly changing situation. You can always find the latest factual information on the coronavirus spread in the U.S. from the
and, locally, from the
The U.S. Navy announced that a civilian employee at the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Falls Church has tested "presumptive positive" for the virus.
According to a release from the Navy, the person is at a hospital in northern Virginia under medical care, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
The Navy has notified all personnel who the person had close contact with to have each of those people self-isolate at their homes.
The U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery is located at 7700 Arlington Blvd. in the greater Falls Church area.
According to the Navy, military health professionals are conducting an investigation to determine if there any other people the person may have potentially exposed and may take precautionary measures depending on the result of that investigation.
The Virginia Beach Health Department reports two people in their area have tested "presumptive positive" for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The Virginia Department of Health says these two cases are travel-related and that there is no evidence of community transmission.
“We are aware that exposure for these two individuals are travel related,” said Virginia Beach Health Director Dr. Demetria Lindsay. “The Public Health Department is in close communication with the two travelers and their care providers, and is conducting a thorough investigation of potential exposures. The two individuals are in stable condition and remain in isolation at this time.”
The VDH reports the two patients (a male in his 60s and female in her 50s) traveled on a Nile River cruise, where they were likely exposed to the virus, given other recent positive tests from people who were on the same cruise.
The two returned to the U.S. on March 5 and were tested at a Virginia Beach hospital on Sunday, March 8.
The reports, like each of the others from Virginia, are pending confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Earlier, Loudoun County health officials, in northern Virginia, reported what was then the sixth person in Virginia who tested positive for coronavirus.
That presumptive case is a resident of the county in his or her 40s. The person is believed to have come in contact with a person with COVID-19 while attending Christ Church, Georgetown in Washington, D.C., where the
, resulting in a mass request for hundreds of people who attended the church to self-quarantine.
The Loudoun County resident was brought to the attention of the Loudoun County Health Department early Tuesday morning, following testing for the novel coronavirus by the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in Richmond (Virginia's state lab). The positive test result is considered a presumptive positive, pending confirmatory testing by CDC.
The patient is said to be doing well and is isolated at home.
“We know the risk of coronavirus disease—or COVID-19—increases among close contacts of infected persons,” said Loudoun County Health Department Director David Goodfriend, MD, MPH. “In this case, based on the results of our contact investigation to date, the risk to the general Loudoun community remains low.”
“We anticipated that a case of COVID-19 would be diagnosed in our community at some point,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis J. Randall. “It is important that we all follow the prevention guidance issued by the CDC to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.”
Late Monday night, Virginia health officials announced they had discovered two new cases of the novel coronavirus in the commonwealth after initially announcing three earlier in the day. Those were the first five cases to test positive in the commonwealth.
That brings the total number of cases confirmed by state authorities to nine: the Chickahominy Health District case, the Virginia Beach cases, the Loudoun County case, the two cases announced Monday evening, and three cases previously announced.
The Virginia Department of Health said in a news release the two presumptive positive cases confirmed by the state late Monday were in separate parts of northern Virginia: Fairfax and Spotsylvania County.
The person who tested positive in Fairfax lives in the same home where another person tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. It is not a matter of "community transmission," according to Virginia's Department of Health.
"The individual traveled on the same Nile River cruise as her husband. On March 5, when her husband was tested, she was asked to self-quarantine, stay home and avoid contact with others and has been compliant. When she developed minor respiratory illness symptoms, the Health Department determined that testing was warranted and specimens were sent to the Virginia state laboratory on March 8. The resident is currently doing well but was hospitalized while testing was completed," a press release stated.
The health department says risk to the community is low because she complied with requests to self-quarantine.
Meanwhile, the fifth patient, in their 50s, who tested positive in Spotsylvania County, was not connected to the cases in Fairfax and is under medical care and stable, according to the physician providing care.
Investigators are tracing the contacts of the Spotsylvania County resident to determine where they may have been exposed to the virus and who may be at risk.
Health officials say the Spotsylvania patient sought medical attention after developing a fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Earlier on Monday, the Virginia Department of Health announced that three patients by that point had tested positive for COVID-19, with one of the three in Arlington County. According to a press release, the positive result returned by a state-level test on Sunday evening is considered a 'presumptive positive,' pending confirmation by the CDC.
The patient was identified as an Arlington County resident in their 60s who recently returned from international travel and developed fever, cough and shortness of breath after getting home. The person is receiving medical care and is recovering. Officials say the individual had limited contact with others.
The other two cases involved a Marine Base Quantico resident and a Fairfax City resident. All three initial cases were exposed through international travel.
Most people don't suffer much from COVID-19, but it can cause severe illness in the elderly (One of the 2 Fairfax City patients has been identified as being his 80s) 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.