FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 9, 2020
Media Contacts: Fairfax: John Silcox, email@example.com
VDH/RAHD: Lorrie Andrew-Spear, Lorrie.Andrew-Spear@vdh.virginia.gov
Virginia Department of Health Confirms Fourth and Fifth “Presumptive Positive” Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Fairfax and in Spotsylvania County, Virginia
(Richmond, VA.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that two Virginia residents in two different parts of the state have tested “presumptive positive” for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These cases mark the fourth and fifth presumptive positive test results in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
One case is a household contact of a case previously identified in Fairfax in the Northern Region of the state. The other case is a resident of Spotsylvania County in the Northwest Region of the state. The two cases are not related.
“The Virginia Department of Health, hospitals, and health care providers statewide continue to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth,” said State Health Commissioner, M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “Through a strategic, coordinated, statewide response, the Commonwealth is well-prepared to respond to positive COVID-19 cases as they occur.”
The fourth presumptive positive case is a City of Fairfax resident. This individual is the spouse and close contact of the patient who tested positive on March 7, and the exposure is not the result of community transmission.
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. The positive result returned today is considered presumptive, pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We know the risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) increases among close contacts of infected persons,” said Fairfax Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu. “Based on the results of our contact investigation to date, the individual had limited contact with others outside the home while ill so the risk to the general Fairfax community remains low.”
The fifth presumptive positive case is a resident of Spotsylvania County, and in their 50s. The individual developed fever, cough, shortness of breath, and subsequently sought medical attention. The case was brought to the attention of the Rappahannock Area Health District, and testing for the novel coronavirus was done by the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) in Richmond. The positive test result came back during the afternoon today. The positive test result is considered a presumptive positive, pending confirmatory testing by CDC. The patient is currently under medical care and stable according to the physician providing care.
“We are working closely with our health care partners and the state to monitor the patient and identify and work with their close contacts,” said Rappahannock Area Health Director Brooke Rossheim, MD, MPH.
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.
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.
Fairfax County Health Department has a public information line, 703-267-3511, for questions from its residents. The call center is open until 9 p.m. tomorrow.
The Virginia Department of Health has also activated a public information line, 877-ASK-VDH3, for questions from residents about the novel coronavirus situation.