VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach couple believes they will be the first confirmed coronavirus cases in Hampton Roads. It comes after they took a cruise in Egypt.
“Along the Nile River it was beautiful,” said the wife.
The couple wishes to remain anonymous.
The cruise was meant to be a trip of a lifetime and it undoubtedly will be a trip they won’t forget.
“Thursday evening halfway through the flight, I started developing a severe headache and I knew I had a fever,” she said. “I was just feeling really sick.”
The pair thought maybe it was just a cold or the flu.
“Then I started thinking ‘What if this is the coronavirus?'” she said. “I don’t want to spread it to anyone. I don’t want to be around other people.”
Later that day, they got an email from the travel company. There was an exposure on their cruise ship. So far, 45 people and crew members have tested positive, including a man in Northern Virginia.
“We were shocked,” she said. “That’s when we said we have got to be tested.”
The couple went to Sentara Leigh Hospital Friday and were kept in a room for six hours. They tested negative for the flu.
“It was almost like there was no protocol for this disease in the hospital,” the husband said.
Staff told the couple they couldn’t test for coronavirus, and after six hours they were allowed to leave. They say it was almost as if the hospital was totally unprepared.
“It just amazed me the lack of guidance and any [procedures],” the husband added.
“We have a 40-page tool kit that we’ve disseminated throughout the system,” said Sentara Chief Quality and Safety Officer Dr. Joel Bundy. “That goes step by step-by-step. If you show up, these are questions to ask.”
Sentara officials say last week hospitals didn’t test for coronavirus, but that plan is changing by the hour.
“For a period of time, the CDC was the only place to get testing,” Bundy added. “Then we were able to do testing at the [Virginia] Department of Health. Now we can do testing though LabCorp and hopefully by the end to the week hospitals will be able to do testing in-house.”
The Department of Health tested the couple Sunday, two days after they went to Sentara Leigh.
“What really concerns me when I started reflecting back at the flight: we had three babies in front of us,” the wife said.
The husband and wife are still dealing with a bad cough and other symptoms. They will know in the next few hours if they are Hampton Roads’ first confirmed cases.