RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ/AP/WHSV) — As of Tuesday afternoon, March 10, the Virginia Department of Health has confirmed that there are eight “presumptive positive” cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in the commonwealth.
The U.S. military has confirmed one of the same cases, leaving the total at eight.
An earlier report by WHSV, based on an article by the Associated Press and corroborating information, stated that there were nine total cases in the commonwealth of Virginia. However, Tuesday afternoon, the Virginia Department of Health issued a statement reading, “As of March 10, 2020 at 4:00 PM, the current number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia remains at eight. The Navy and VDH issued separate press releases about the same case.”
The Associated Press then issued a new article and we have updated our article to reflect the separate press releases and same total of cases.
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 or eastern Virginia. You can find a rundown of the 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.
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 rector was confirmed as a coronavirus patient, 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.”
Cases announced on Monday
The three new cases reported by local authorities on Tuesday were each confirmed on the Virginia Department of Health coronavirus website on Tuesday afternoon after they were initially announced by health departments in their particular regions.
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. That brings the total number of cases confirmed by state authorities to eight: 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 are 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.
Cases confirmed earlier
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.
What is the governor’s response?
While the governor is not calling on public schools to close, he did urge employers in the audience to allow their employees to work from home where possible to contain any virus spread.
“Life needs to go on as well. We need to keep doing our jobs and just use common sense and be safe,” said Northam.
Northam says testing capabilities now at the state lab instead of the CDC allows health experts to see outbreaks faster and respond.
“Nothing’s perfect and there will always be critics but I can just promise you that everybody is working very hard. Different agencies are involved. Both at the state, local and national level and it’s all hands on deck right now,” said Northam.
What to know about COVID-19
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.
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