RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Two patients suspected of having the Novel Coronavirus infection in Virginia have tested negative, according to health officials.
The Virginia Department of Health said it received negative results for two patients in central Virginia, which includes Lynchburg and surrounding counties.
Results for a patient in the northern region of Virginia are expected later this week, according to health officials.
Still, some local organizations are being proactive in dealing with the virus, which has impacted more than a dozen countries, four U.S. states, and roughly 2,000 people worldwide according to the CDC.
“It was about two years ago with the Norovirus that we were doing very similar things: informing and educating people to wash their hands, to use hand sanitizers, to be very careful,” said Virginia Tech’s Mark Owczarski.
The school sent out this message to students Monday. Owczarski said it’s university policy to go by CDC travel warnings, so travel is restricted to and from level three warning areas – like the Hubei Province in China – and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis for lower levels.
“If you are a student or a faculty member who is travelling to China right now, you must – the policy says – inform the university that you’re about to do that,” he said.
Carilion Clinic’s Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie said Coronavirus is typically the virus that causes common colds, but sometimes starts in animals, like this virus, MERS in 2012, and SARS in 2002.
He said there’s good news, though.
“The risk for Coronavirus in this area would be considered very low,” he said.
He added that the spotlight on the virus is a good opportunity to highlight a different illness you’re much, much more likely to come into contact with.
“So for the person who hasn’t travelled to China within the last two weeks, who comes down with a cough, cold, or respiratory symptoms, your best bet is you probably have the flu, and to prevent that get your flu shot,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Roanoke Airport tells WFXR it’s not seen impacts from Coronavirus yet, since it’s a spoke airport instead of a hub airport, which has more international arrivals. He added that any passenger monitoring will be under the Department of Health.
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