Governor speaks after 9 coronavirus cases in Virginia; local schools share preparation plans

Posted at 5:59 AM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 19:57:40-04

There are now a total of nine coronavirus cases in the state of Virginia, with a few of them being in Virginia Beach.

On Wednesday, Governor Northam held a press conference in Richmond to give an update on the pandemic, where he confirmed a ninth presumptive positive case of the virus. All nine patients were described as being in stable condition.

The Virginia Department of Health announced Wednesday that a Virginia Beach couple tested “presumptive positive” for the coronavirus, which make the cases the first two in the Virginia Beach health district and the sixth and seventh in the state.

Despite recent reports of the virus spreading rapidly, the Something in the Water music festival is set to continue. News 3 spoke to the city’s Director of Emergency Management, who says the city is talking with the event organizers daily to be prepared to move forward.

Leaders with Virginia Beach City Schools are taking precautions as well.

“We want to do our part. We are cleaning the surfaces of all our schools every night and on a regular basis throughout the day as well as cleaning out buses,” said Jack Freeman.

Freeman is the chief operation officer with the school district. All non-local field trips have been canceled, with the exception of state competitions.

Old Dominion University has also sent out information to students involving the precautions they're taking.

In an email sent to students on Wednesday, it stated that, "As of today, there are no reported cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Old Dominion University. The University’s Emergency Management team continues to monitor, plan for, and respond to the global outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 and is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Norfolk and Virginia Departments of Health."

ODU plans to implement a Public Health Incident Task Force that will assess, plan for and mitigate how coronavirus may impact to school. University- and Research Foundation-sponsored travel to countries with CDC Warning Levels 2 & 3 for COVID-19 is now suspended. Those countries include Italy, China, South Korea, Iran and Japan.

Students, faculty and staff returning from locations where a CDC Warning Level 3 travel health notice for COVID-19 is in effect must not return to ODU campus locations. Instead, they will need to notify their supervisor and impose self-quarantine at home for 14 days. The University canceled study abroad trips to Italy, Ireland and Thailand this spring. No decision has been made yet regarding summer or fall programs. The University says they're also providing continual environmental cleaning with disinfecting agents and is deploying hand sanitizer stations across campus.

Northam said in Wednesday's press conference that while the state has not yet called a state of emergency, it is prepared to do so.

News 3 is bringing you the latest updates as more organizations, schools and event planners prepare and adjust to the spread of this disease.