Virginia investigates 3 possible cases of coronavirus; 1 in No. Va.

Three possible cases of the new coronavirus are under investigation in Virginia, and one of them is in Northern Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Health said in a news release that two of the residents with symptoms are from central Virginia and the third is from Northern Virginia.

All meet the clinical and epidemiological criteria for the virus that has killed at least 56 worldwide and sickened more than 2,000. Most of the cases are in Wuhan, China.

Those who meet the criteria require additional testing and confirmation.

George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia, released a message to its community that said it is aware there have been a number of reports that the Northern Virginian is a student who recently returned from China.

In the message, the school advised students who may have recently come from China to not attend classes if they feel sick and to seek medical care right away if they are experiencing symptoms that may be evidence of the virus.

George Mason’s notice also said the illnesses being investigated in Virginia may also be “cold, flu or other illness.”

As for the investigation, the Department of Health said: “when potential cases are reported, laboratory samples are collected and submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. These cases are called Patients Under Investigation.”

A representative from the Virginia Department of Health told WTOP that they awaiting laboratory test results from the CDC to learn if the three patients contracted the coronavirus. The results are expected later this week.

Virginia now has a webpage detailing information about the virus and about how many patients are under investigation.

The new virus causes mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness, like the common cold. Its symptoms include fever, cough and trouble breathing, and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure.

Health care providers are being encouraged to ask patients about whether they have been to Wuhan, China.

“VDH recommends travelers to China protect themselves by avoiding contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat),” the release said.


Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

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