Health officials seeing community spread as COVID-19 cases climb in Richmond area

'We have community spread going on here in Central Virginia.'
Posted at 2:48 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 18:42:06-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the same can be said for metro Richmond localities.

Dr. Danny Avula, Director of Richmond and Henrico Health Departments, said the City of Richmond now has six cases, while Henrico County has seven cases.

Avula says some of those cases have not been included in the Virginia Department of Health’s recent report of 114 cases across the state.

The latest cases in Richmond includes a man in his 30s who recently traveled to Kentucky a couple of weeks ago. The man developed symptoms after returning to Virginia.

The patient is now self-isolating at home.

The sixth case in Richmond is a woman in her 20s who had contact with others who had recently to Spain.

“That investigation has just initiated, we just got conformation an out an hour ago,” said Avula. “I suspect that the folks she had contact with will also be cases as well, but we’ll update you as we find out more.”

The seven coronavirus cases in Henrico are up five cases from the last update by the department.

The new cases include a man in his 40s with no known exposures. That patient is isolated at home.

"We have community spread going on here in Central Virginia," said Avula. "More and more people are getting this without know who they've come into contact with, without knowing how they may have contracted the virus."

The other four new cases in Henrico are all residents at Canterbury Rehabilitation Healthcare Center. Those patients include:

  • Woman in 50s
  • Man in 60s
  • Woman in 60s
  • Woman in 70s

"At this point, there are all stable enough that they are still at the facility. None of them have been hospitalized," added Avula.

Avula says the Canterbury facility had suspended admissions and resident visitations prior to the patients testing positive.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.

COVID-19 Outbreak

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • 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.