VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Department of Health said Tuesday that a couple from Virginia Beach tested positive for coronavirus. Their cases were the first to appear in the Virginia Beach Health District.
The husband and wife were on a Nile River cruise which had cases of COVID-19 on it. The man, who is in his 60s, and the woman, who is in her 50s, got back to the U.S. from Egypt on March 5. They were tested at a hospital in Virginia Beach on March 8. Their results came back Tuesday (March 10).
The results are considered "presumptive," which means the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still needed to confirm the results.
Sentara Healthcare confirms it is treating patients who tested positive for coronavirus and that it is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC to ensure the patients are receiving coordinated follow-up and monitoring.
After returning from the same Egyptian cruise, at least 12 people in the Houston area tested positive for coronavirus as well. The cruise was later quarantined.
Governor Ralph Northam addressed the need for testing and containment today.
"We want to make sure that we are able to test individuals, identify who they are, and if they do test positive, to isolate them and really do everything we can to keep this from spreading," Northam said.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. In a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can cause complications, including death, particularly among those who are older or who have chronic medical conditions. 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 recommends people do the following:
- 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.
The Virginia Department of Health said Tuesday there was a another "presumptive" case in the state. That one was in Loudon County.
Loudon County said the person there appeared to come into contact with the rector of Christ Church, Georgetown, an Episcopal church. The rector already tested positive for the virus.