April 1, 2020: Since publication of this story, the number of confirmed cases in Orange County has risen to four.
The Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District announced early Tuesday afternoon (March 24) that a resident of Orange County has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The patient, a male in his 50s, had recent domestic travel to an area with sustained transmission. He is being treated as an outpatient while isolated from the general public, according to a news release.
Health district staff will be contacting anyone identified as a close contact of this individual. Those identified will be asked to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days. To protect patient confidentiality, no further information about the patient will be released.
“As more testing is done, it is not surprising to see more cases occurring in our district. This makes it all the more critical that people follow the public health guidelines,” said Dr. Wade Kartchner, RRHD Health Director. “Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We all have a duty, and an opportunity, to do everything we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones and those around us.”
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 or death, particularly among those who are older or those 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. 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.