Virginia Health Officials weigh in on two confirmed coronavirus cases in the commonwealth

Posted at 6:15 PM, Mar 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 07:12:21-04

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Virginia Health Officials confirmed two cases of the coronavirus in less than 24 hours. Both are in northern Virginia.

The first case was announced on Saturday involving a Marine from Quantico who is at Fort Belvoir. He had just returned from being overseas. The second case was announced on Sunday -- a person in their 80s from Fairfax County who had traveled on a Nile River cruise.

Health officials told Virginians they are working to make sure they contain the cases as best they can.

“While the risk to general public is low, the Virginia Health Department is working with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention," Dr Norman Oliver, the State Health Commissioner, said.

He said they are trying to track down anyone who may have come into contact with the two patients. As of now, they said those two cases are not related and that there is no sign of the virus spreading within the commonwealth.

“As of 9 :00 a.m. this morning, 44 Virginians have been tested for the novel coronavirus," Dr. Lilian Peake, the state health department's epidemiologist, said. "Thirty-six tests were negative and we awaiting results on six tests.”

The cases involve people who traveled abroad.

In the first case – the defense department has not said where the marine was overseas on official business. As for the second case, the patient took a Nile River cruise where others have also tested positive for coronavirus.

“The patient developed symptoms of respiratory illness on February 28 and was hospitalized on March 5th with symptoms of fever, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath," Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, The Medical Epidemiologist with Fairfax County Health Department, said.

Health officials said they are working with the military, but did not specify what measures they would take with other military installations such as those in Hampton Roads. They also stressed the same precautionary measures we should all be taking: Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and stay home if you feel ill.

News 3 reached out to local VDH officials to see what impact the virus could have in the region, especially with military service-members. We were told they could not comment at this time.