Three Virginia residents being investigated for coronavirus; two in central Virginia

Virginia News

A worker wearing a hazardous materials suit stands at the entrance to a subway station in Beijing, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. The new virus accelerated its spread in China, and the U.S. Consulate in the epicenter of the outbreak, the central city of Wuhan, announced Sunday it will evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced on Sunday that two residents in central Virginia and one in northern Virginia are under investigation for potential cases of the coronavirus.

On Sunday, Jan. 26, VDH announced that two central Virginia residents and one northern Virginia resident “meet both clinical and epidemiologic criteria” for the novel coronavirus. Health officials are looking these residents along with anyone with whom they came in close contact in order to keep the illness from spreading.

According to VDH, the novel coronavirus is a respiratory outbreak originating from Wuhan, China, but it can affect people in different ways. Health officials say that symptoms such as fever, cough, and trouble breathing can range from mild to severe and appear between two and 14 days after exposure.

While scientists have yet to determine how the novel coronavirus spreads, VDH says that “Closely related viruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) mainly spread from person-to-person through close contact or respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”

Starting on Monday, Jan. 27, the numbers and regions of patients under investigation for meeting the coronavirus criteria and undergoing testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be reported on the VDH novel coronavirus website along with any other updates.

Health officials recommend that Virginians take action to prevent respiratory illness — whether it be the flu or the coronavirus — by getting the flu vaccine, spending at least 20 seconds washing your hands with soap and water, not leaving the house if sick, and following prescription instructions for flu antivirals.

VDH is also requesting that health care providers ask their patients about recent trips outside the country. In particular, if any of those patients have been in Wuhan, China within 14 days of displaying fever and respiratory symptoms, consider the novel coronavirus infection and report any potential cases to VDH.

In addition, the CDC has issued a warning against nonessential travel to Hubei Province, China, but for those who do travel to China, VDH suggests that travelers avoid contact with sick people, animals, animal markets, or products made from animals.

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