VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach couple has tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus, marking the first time cases of the virus have been reported in Hampton Roads.
The Virginia Beach Health Department announced Tuesday afternoon that two residents tested “presumptive positive” for COVID-19, making them the sixth and seventh cases in Virginia. Another case was also reported in Loudoun County on Tuesday, bringing the total number of presumptive cases in Virginia up to 8 as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“We are aware that exposure for these two individuals are travel related,” said Virginia Beach Health Director Dr. Demetria Lindsay. “The Public Health Department is in close communication with the two travelers and their care providers, and is conducting a thorough investigation of potential exposures. The two individuals are in stable condition and remain in isolation at this time.”
The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, told 10 On Your Side on Tuesday that health officials confirmed results came back positive after they were tested on Sunday in Virginia Beach. The two new cases have yet to be officially confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control.
The six other cases have been reported around the Northern Virginia area.
The couple says they contracted the virus while on a cruise in Egypt and originally thought it might have just been the cold or flu.
“Then I started thinking ‘What if this is the coronavirus?’” the wife told 10 On Your Side. “I don’t want to spread it to anyone. I don’t want to be around other people.” They later learned via email from their travel company there was an exposure on their cruise ship, and that 45 others on board had tested positive for coronavirus, including a man from Northern Virginia.
“We were shocked,” she said. “That’s when we said we have got to be tested.”
The couple says they went to Sentara Leigh Hospital in Virginia Beach on Friday, but were told the hospital couldn’t test for coronavirus.
“It was almost like there was no protocol for this disease in the hospital … It just amazed me the lack of guidance and any [procedures],” the husband said.
They were eventually sent home hours later after testing negative for the flu, and came back on Sunday to be tested for coronavirus.
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 husband and wife say they’re still dealing with complications from the virus, including a bad cough. They’re recovering, but are worried about who they may have spread the virus to.
The VDH recommends that you do the following to try and reduce the spreading of germs:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.
The Virginia Department of Health has activated a public information line, 877-ASK-VDH3, for questions from residents about the novel coronavirus.
For more coronavirus coverage, click here.
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