Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District Works to Identify Contacts of two Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Culpeper County

March 20, 2020

Media Contact: Dr. Wade Kartchner, Health Director, Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District –wade.kartchner@vdh.virginia.gov

Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District Works to Identify Contacts of two
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Culpeper County

(Culpeper, VA.) – The Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District announced that two individuals in their 70’s who reside in Culpeper have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Health Department staff will be contacting people who have been identified as close contacts, who will be asked to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days.

“These cases mark the first positive COVID-19 cases in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District. The patients described a rapid onset of symptoms, and quickly self-isolated which greatly limited potential contacts. The two patients reside in the same household. To protect patient confidentiality no further information about the patients will be released. As we receive laboratory results, our local public health staff work diligently to isolate patients and identify community members who may have been exposed.

“It is critical that people follow the public health guidelines on isolation and quarantine,” said Dr. Wade Kartchner, RRHD Health Director. “All community members should be following the guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene. 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 a serious chronic medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, immune compromise), 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.”

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 spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, RRHD encourages the following effective behaviors:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

As the COVID-19 outbreak expands, recommendations may change. RRHD 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 RRHD COVID-19 Hotline at 540-316-6302. For the latest on COVID-19, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus. These cases are not yet reflected in the website dashboard, which is updated daily, with cases recorded by 5 p.m. the evening before.