A resident of Charlottesville has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials with the Thomas Jefferson Health District announced Monday.
The diagnosis marks the first case of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, in the district, according to a news release.
The positive case is a woman in her late 50s and the case appears to be travel-related, news releases said. The patient was tested for the novel coronavirus by a commercial lab.
There are at least 51 positive cases in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health, but the department’s Monday update did not including the Charlottesville case.
According to the health district and the University of Virginia, the person is a member of the Women’s Center staff who lives off-Grounds. She is receiving treatment and has been quarantined at her home, according to an email sent to the UVa community by school President Jim Ryan.
The Women’s Center is being vacated and deep-cleaned with products that kill the coronavirus in accordance with CDC guidelines, the email from Ryan said. All 17 of the center’s permanent, non-student staff are currently self-quarantining, according to a university spokesman.
“The situation with COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly changing, so it is not surprising that we are identifying a case in our area,” Dr. Denise Bonds, director of the Thomas Jefferson Health District, said in the release. “Public health officials will work to isolate the patient and to investigate all people who had close contact with the patient. Contacts will be asked to stay home away from others for 14 days.”
According to the release, most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or who have chronic medical conditions.
Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. 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, the release said.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, people should stay home as much as possible.
The Thomas Jefferson Health District has activated a public information line, (434) 972-6261, for questions from community members about the coronavirus situation.
All routine visiting at Sentara Health facilities, including Martha Jefferson Hospital, is being suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat, including all outpatient services.
Some exceptions are for obstetric patients, Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit patients, and patients who are at the end-of-life may each have two visitors. Patients where a family member is key to their care or a caregiver provides safety, minors under the age of 18 and patients visiting the Emergency Department may each have one person with them. Visitors age 12 and under are prohibited inside the hospitals.
UVa Medical Center
UVa has decided to reschedule certain elective surgeries that are scheduled for the next two weeks to save resources and maintain a safe environment for patients, faculty and staff.
Patients are encouraged to call the clinic directly or call (434) 924-0000.
City, Albemarle updates
Following Monday’s presumptive positive test, Charlottesville announced via a news release that starting Tuesday it will begin operating with only essential employees. This staffing plan will be in effect for at least the next two weeks and will be reevaluated on March 29, according to the release.
The release encourages the public to use all available online and telephonic options for conducting business at City Hall, including using payment drop boxes on both sides of City Hall and the drive-thru drop box located between the City Hall Annex and the Key Recreation Center.
The Neighborhood Development Services team will be accessible to the public needing to conduct essential business with that department through the Market Street entrance only, according to the release.
Two meetings of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, will continue, though the public is encouraged to participate virtually.
Public comments can be sent through email to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be distributed to the entire Board of Supervisors.
The meetings will be held in Lane Auditorium and limited to a capacity of 50 people. Crowd management will be utilized if more than 50 people attend and those in the auditorium are encouraged to utilize hand sanitizing stations and to distance themselves from one another.