Sunday, February 16, 2020
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Virginia Health Officials Announce 3 Potential Cases of Coronavirus

UPDATE (12:35 PM 1/27): Test results are back for the 2 cases in Central Virginia.

UPDATE (9:37 PM): Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson comments on the Coronavirus news.


UPDATE (5:56 PM): George Mason University sends email to faculty & staff today that they are aware of reports of a Mason student returning from China who may have the coronavirus symptoms.


The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and local health officials statewide are monitoring developments surrounding the respiratory outbreak first detected in Wuhan, China caused by a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This is a rapidly evolving situation. To provide the latest local information and updates to Virginians, VDH has developed a novel coronavirus webpage. This webpage provides important information about the outbreak and offers resources for healthcare providers.

Common coronaviruses can cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness, like the common cold. Public health officials are still learning about 2019-CoV and how it affects people. Some people who have become ill with 2019-CoV have had mild symptoms. Others have had more severe illness, including some deaths. Symptoms include fever, cough, and trouble breathing, and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure. Although 2019-nCoV is spreading between people in parts of Asia, scientists do not yet know how easily it spreads. Closely related viruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) mainly spread from person-to-person through close contact or respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

VDH is encouraging health care providers to ask patients about recent international travel and consider 2019-nCoV infection in patients who have traveled to Wuhan, China within 14 days of the onset of symptoms, including fever and respiratory symptoms. When potential cases are reported, laboratory samples are collected and submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. These cases are called Patients Under Investigation.

Currently, Virginia is investigating three residents in the central (2) and northern (1) regions of Virginia who meet both clinical and epidemiologic criteria for 2019-nCoV. Beginning January 27, VDH will post the number of Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) who meet both clinical and epidemiologic criteria for 2019-nCoV testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the VDH novel coronavirus webpage. To protect patient confidentiality, specific details about these patients will not be provided. Public health is working closely with these patients and anyone who was in close contact to prevent the spread of illness.

VDH is also reminding Virginians that there are steps everyone should take to prevent respiratory illness – especially with influenza (flu) and respiratory disease season underway in Virginia. These include getting a flu vaccine, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, staying home when sick, and taking flu antivirals as prescribed.

VDH recommends travelers to China protect themselves by avoiding contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat). CDC has issued a Travel Warning to avoid nonessential travel to Hubei Province, China, including Wuhan. CDC has also issued a Travel Watch to practice usual precautions for China (See this link).

For more information on the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, visit this link.

Lee Hernly, Editor
the authorLee Hernly, Editor
Founder & Editor
Lee Hernly is the Founder and Editor of Port City Wire, Alexandria, Virginia's best source for hyper-local news, opinion, and events. I live in the Old Town Alexandria area with my fantastic wife and son Sam. Oh, there’s Serena & Bea too. I’m so excited to meet new readers and see where you are from! Please be sure to leave a comment with a link to your blog so I can check it out!

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