(Newport News, Va.) – The Peninsula Health District (PHD) announced today that five people, in addition to the two positive cases announced yesterday, have tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). All the cases reside in James City County. Four of the new cases are contacts of the original two cases. The fifth new case has an unknown exposure and the investigation is ongoing to identify where he may have acquired the virus. The five new cases were included in the statewide count of cases on March 13 on the VDH website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus.
“These five new cases make this a community outbreak of COVID-19,” said Peninsula Health District Director Dr. Thomas Franck. “The fact that one of these cases has an unknown exposure is concerning and is suspicious for community spread.” This is a continually evolving situation, and the Peninsula Health District (PHD) will continue to keep people informed.
The PHD has activated its incident management team and is deploying all necessary resources in an attempt to contain this outbreak. PHD is working with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide the best possible guidance for the community.
The Peninsula Health District will be opening a call center effective Saturday, March 14 at 8 a.m. The phone number is 757-594-7069. If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illess, including 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, the Virginia Department of Health 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.
For more information go to www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/. Please consult www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia.
Media Contact: Irene Ferrainolo, Phone: 757-594-8933