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VDH provide updates on two presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus in Virginia

Updated: Mar. 8, 2020 at 2:13 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Health held a press conference with Virginia’s state and local public health leaders on two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Virginia.

A Marine Base Corps Quantico resident who is at Fort Belvoir was the first positive case of the coronavirus in Virginia.

The VDH also announced a second presumptive positive case. The second individual is a resident of the City of Fairfax, in their 80s, who traveled on a similar Nile River cruise as other positive coronavirus patients.

The patient began to develop symptoms of respiratory illness on February 28 and was eventually hospitalized on March 5. The patient remains in stable condition.

“We don’t believe there is substantial risk to the community, and we are not recommending that any events be cancelled or any facilities be shut down," said Dr. Ben Schwartz with the Fairfax County Health Department.

State epidemiologist, Dr. Lilian Peake confirmed that the cases are not related, nor is there signs of the virus spreading in Virginia.

The VDH says they are working with local, county, and state health officials to determine who the patients may have come into contact with, in the time they’ve been back from overseas.

“For the Marine, we’re looking at possible civilian contacts. 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,” said VDH Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver.

Dr. Oliver says the number of patients tested in Virginia now stands at 44, with 2 positive results, 36 negatives, and another 6 still pending.

He adds that their response to H1N1 back in 2009 has kept them ahead of any sort of outbreak – should it happen.

But there are still many questions about the coronavirus that state health officials can’t answer.

“We don’t really know everything about how it operates. It could be that it’s like influenza, and it’s seasonal - which might mean that it dies down after a while,” added. Dr. Oliver.

U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement on the announcement that a Marine at Fort Belvoir in Virginia has tested positive for the coronavirus:

“We are carefully monitoring the case of the coronavirus announced in Virginia today and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the Commonwealth is getting the federal support it needs to respond. 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.," the statement said.

"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. We encourage all Virginians to check the Virginia Department of Health website for valuable updates and information on COVID-19 and heed the calls of public health professionals to protect against its spread.”

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