Central Shenandoah Health District Confirms a Positive Case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

March 12, 2020

Media Contact: Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, robert.parker@vdh.virginia.gov

Central Shenandoah Health District Confirms a Positive Case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

(Staunton, VA.) – The Central Shenandoah Health District announced that a resident has tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This case marks the first case in the Central Shenandoah Health District.

“The situation with COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly changing, so it is not surprising that we are identifying a case in our area,” said Central Shenandoah Health District Director Dr. Laura Kornegay.  Public health will work to isolate the patient and to investigate all people who had close contact with the patient.  Contacts will be asked to stay home away from others for 14 days.

The positive case is a person in their 60s.  The resident developed upper respiratory symptoms that progressed over a few days to a pneumonia with high fever.  The patient was tested for the novel coronavirus by a commercial lab.  The patient is currently doing well and is in isolation. The patient is a resident of the city of Harrisonburg.

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.

This is a rapidly changing situation, and information is being shared as it becomes available on the following websites: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/. Please consult www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Health has also activated a public information line, 877-ASK-VDH3, for questions from residents about the novel coronavirus situation.