COVID-19

Madison County has one confirmed case of coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health district announced a resident of Madison County has tested positive for novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The patient, a male in their 50s, had mild symptoms and was being treated as an outpatient while isolated from the general public. He was previously identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, was quarantined prior to becoming symptomatic and tested as soon as symptoms appeared. Health District staff will be contacting anyone identified as a close contact of the patient. Those individuals will be asked to self-quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

“The Virginia Department of Health, Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District and our healthcare partners are working together around the clock to identify cases of COVID-19 in our communities across the Commonwealth,” RRHD Health Director Dr. Wade Kartchner said. “With each confirmed case, we identify potential contacts, access their risk of exposure and recommend appropriate public health and medical measures.”

The Madison case marks the third for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, which serves Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties. Last Friday, the district confirmed two positive COVID-19 test results. The two patients, both in their 70s, reside in the same household in Culpeper. Kartchner said they described a rapid onset of symptoms and quickly self-isolated which greatly limited potential contacts. On Tuesday, the district confirmed a case in Orange County.

Kartchner said it’s critical that community members follow the guidelines for social distancing and good hygiene. People should also avoid gatherings of 10 or more. Kartchner said those 65 or older, or who have serious chronic medical conditions including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or immune compromise, should seriously consider stay home.

“We all have a responsibility and duty to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our community from this novel coronavirus,” he said.

On Monday, Governor Ralph Northam closed K-12 public and private schools through the end of the 2019-20 school year. He also banned gatherings of more than 10 people; closed recreation and entertainment businesses; prohibited dine-in at eating or beverage establishments; and mandated that essential businesses could stay open, but must adhere to social distancing and sanitizing practices. Essential businesses are grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers that sell food and beverage products; medical, laboratory and vision supply retailers; electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tables and other technological items; automotive parts, accessories and tire retailers and automotive repair facilities; home improvement, hardware, building material and building supply retailers; lawn and garden equipment retailers; beer, wine and liquor stores; retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores; retail located within healthcare facilities; banks and other financial institutions with retail functions; pet and feed stores; printing and office supply stores; and laundromats and dry cleaners. Non-essential businesses must limit all in-person shopping to 10 patrons within the establishment at one time, adhere to social distancing and sanitize common surfaces. Professional businesses were encouraged to utilize telework as much as possible. Businesses in violation may face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. The mandates will remain in place through April 23 at 11:59 p.m. Northam’s mandates do not apply to health care or medical services; access to essential services for low-income residents like food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies or operations of government.

Most patients with COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms, but a small proportion can have more serious illness. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms can appear within 14 days of exposure.

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, RRHD encourages the following effective behaviors:

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

• 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.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

As the COVID-19 outbreak expands, recommendations may change. RRHD is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide the best possible guidance for the community.

For general questions about COVID-19, community members may call the RRHD COVID-19 Hotline at 540-316-6302. For the latest on COVID-19, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus

As of Tuesday, 290 Virginians had tested positive for COVID-19. More than 4,400 had been tested.

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