STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — Press release from the Virginia Department of Health’s Central Shenandoah Health District:
The Virginia Department of Health’s Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) has informed Augusta County and the City of Staunton of two positive COVID-19 cases in Augusta County and one positive COVID-19 case in the City of Staunton.
“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.”
People should avoid social gatherings of more than 10 individuals. If you are 65 years or older, or if you have serious chronic medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, immune compromised), you should seriously consider staying at home.
“We all have a responsibility and duty to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our community from this novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Kornegay.
All three local governments have dedicated website resources to keep the public up to date on the status of facilities and programs and to connect people to the services they need to access, which can be reached at the links below:
• City of Staunton: www.staunton.va.us/COVID-19
• Augusta County: www.AugustaCountyVA.gov/covid19
• City of Waynesboro: https://www.waynesboro.va.us/1032/Coronavirus-Resourceinformation
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those 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.
• If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.
• Practice good social distancing; keep six feet or more between yourself and others.
• Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of 10 people or more.
As the COVID-19 outbreak expands, recommendations may change. CSHD is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide the best possible guidance for the community.
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.
McKee Foods case
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.
Central Shenandoah Health District cases
As of Monday, March 30, Dr. Laura Kornegay, with the Central Shenandoah Health District, had confirmed at least 6 Harrisonburg cases and 5 Rockingham County cases, in addition to the Augusta County and Staunton cases.
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.