HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - A Hanover County teen has tested “presumptive positive” for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), marking the first case in central Virginia.
According to the Chickahominy Health District, the teenager returned to the United States on March 4 and following guidelines to stay home for 14 days to monitor conditions. He developed symptoms on March 8 and tested positive Wednesday, March 11.
“Confirming a case of COVID-19 in a Hanover resident does not come as a surprise given international travel from an affected area,” said Chickahominy Health District Director Dr. Thomas Franck, MPH. “The resident followed guidelines to stay home and limit contact with others and we believe the risk to the general community remains low.”
The VDH says he had gone to a country under a Level 3 travel alert - which, according to the Center for Disease Control, includes Italy, South Korea, China, and Iran.
The test is considered “presumptive” until confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The patient is currently doing well and is isolated at home.
“Absolutely I worry I about it. I have children,” said Ashland resident Chris Greer.
Greer says he was already preparing for the virus to come local, but luckily, he and others have seen some businesses also take the initiative.
" I was just in a health facility yesterday to get some blood work done for a job, and you could see the precautions that was there with masks and plenty of hand sanitizer, things of that nature. I was glad they had that because I certainly used it," he added.
Loudoun County resident Gary Hewitt, who was visiting Ashland, also noticed some effort from the inn where he was staying.
“There was this bottle of hand sanitizer as you walk into the hotel, right on the left-hand side,” Hewitt said.
Hewitt says he’s been tracking the virus but isn’t too worried.
“I think the faster they get an antivirus medication for it, the better because I think a lot of people’s fears would be calmed,” he added.
According to the Hanover Health Department, this patient does not attend Hanover County Public Schools (HCPS). However, Hanover County Public Schools will be following response plans to ensure residents are as prepared as possible.
Cleaning efforts have been increased in all schools within Hanover County as well as buses. Additional disinfectants have been added in areas where there have been higher instances of student absences due to illness.
Hanover County Public Schools says all school and school division supported trips such as field trips, athletic trips, etc. outside of Virginia have been canceled through April 13. These trips will include Washington D.C and staff travel to meetings and conferences.
If families are traveling to a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice such as China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, the CDC guidelines state, "Travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States and practice social distancing.”
“We are asking that all families and staff traveling to these countries strictly adhere to the CDC guidance,” Hanover County Public Schools states.
If students are staying home for 14 days, please notify your school immediately to allow the school administration to assist with getting work to students who are self-quarantined.
To help prevent the spread of illness:
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with others and seek medical treatment if necessary.
- If you have a fever, do not return to school until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- 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.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in a wastebasket. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
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