Eight Virginians test positive for coronavirus
Latest cases are in Virginia Beach, Loudoun County.
CORRECTION: Virginia Business previously reported that there were nine cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. However, a U.S. Navy announcement Tuesday about a civilian worker in Falls Church who reported positive for the coronavirus concerned one of the cases already reported by the Virginia Department of Health.
Virginia has eight presumptive cases of COVID-19, according to state officials.
Two Virginia Beach residents who went on a Nile River cruise and a Loudoun County resident who attends a church that another patient attends in Georgetown are presumptively positive, pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported Tuesday afternoon.
The eight cases — including three people in Fairfax County, one in Arlington and one in Spotsylvania County — have all been reported since Saturday. VDH says that all reported cases in Virginia have been travel-related.
“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,” Dr. Demetria Lindsay, Virginia Beach’s health director, said in a statement. “The two individuals are in stable condition and remain in isolation at this time.”
The first Virginia Beach patient is a male in his 60s and the second is a female in her 50s, according to the health department. They both recently traveled on a Nile River cruise, having returned to the United States on March 5. The cruise which they were on had recently reported COVID-19 cases.
Both Virginia Beach patients were tested Sunday at a hospital. The Virginian-Pilot interviewed the couple, who are remaining anonymous for privacy reasons.
The presumptive case in Loudoun County is a person in their 40s. The Loudoun County Health Department reports that the person is believed to have come in contact with a person who had tested positive for the disease at Christ Church, Georgetown in Washington, D.C.
The person in Loudoun County was brought to the attention of the health department early Tuesday morning after testing was done by the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in Richmond. The Loudoun County Health Department reports that the patient is isolated at home.
“We anticipated that a case of COVID-19 would be diagnosed in our community at some point,” Phyllis J. Randall, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors chair, said in a statement. “It is important that we all follow the prevention guidance issued by the CDC to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.”
Reported Monday night were the fourth and fifth cases — the spouse of the Fairfax City patient who was on a Nile River cruise, and a resident of Spotsylvania County. The two cases are not related, officials said.
Over the weekend, an Arlington resident in their 60s who had returned home from international travel tested positive, according to a news release issued Monday from Arlington County Public Health. The individual developed a fever, cough and shortness of breath.
“Confirming a case of COVID-19 in an Arlington resident does not come as a surprise given international travel from an affected area,” Arlington County Public Health Director Reuben K. Varghese said in a statement. “We understand the risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) increases among close contacts of infected persons.”
The second person who tested positive for coronavirus in Virginia was a Fairfax resident in their 80s who traveled on a Nile River cruise with other positive coronavirus patients. The VDH says that the patient began to develop symptoms of respiratory illness on February 28 and has been hospitalized since March 5. Monday night, the health department reported that this patient’s spouse was positive for the virus.
The first confirmed Virginia coronavirus case was announced Saturday at Fort Belvoir, an Army installation in Fairfax, where a U.S. Marine tested positive for the disease. The Marine, who had recently returned from international travel, is being treated at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a tweet on Saturday. The Fort Belvoir Community Hospital is a military treatment facility run by the Department of Defense.
“For the Marine, we’re looking at possible civilian contacts,” Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said at a press conference Sunday. “Anything that happened on that Marine Corps base is being handled by the Department of Defense. We’re tracking down contacts and if we find people who need to get tested, we’ll test them.”
At noon on Tuesday, the Navy Bureau of Medicine Public Affairs office reported that one of the Northern Virginia cases reported by VDH is a U.S. Navy civilian employee employed at the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Falls Church. “Military health professionals are conducting a thorough contact investigation to determine whether any other personnel may have been in close contact and possibly exposed,” the Navy said in a statement. “Depending on the results of that investigation, additional precautionary measures may be taken.
At the time, VDH said in a statement that “public health officials caution that evidence has not been seen of COVID-19 spreading in Virginia,” calling the risk low.
According to the VDH website, 61 people have been tested for the coronavirus as of Tuesday, with 53 testing negative.
U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released a statement Saturday, saying, “This week, we voted to pass a bipartisan emergency funding bill that directs needed resources to Virginia and other states – including funding for diagnostic testing, vaccine development, and additional resources for responders who are combating this outbreak. We will be staying in close touch with state officials on the frontlines, and we are prepared to act if it is determined that additional federal resources are needed to respond to the spread of this virus.”
As of Tuesday at 12 p.m., the CDC had 647 cases confirmed in the U.S., with 25 deaths from the disease. According to the CDC, 36 states, plus Washington, D.C., now have confirmed coronavirus cases. The CDC updates case reporting Monday through Fridays at 12 p.m.
VDH encourages the following 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.