VCU Medical Center announces first confirmed COVID-19 patient

Posted at 4:37 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 16:40:19-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- VCU Medical Center is caring for its first patient who tested positive for COVID-19, VCU Health announced Monday afternoon.

VCU Health says they are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to manage the care of the patient.

The case is one of the 51 coronavirus cases in Virginia, confirmed by the VDH Monday afternoon.

No additional details about the patient have been released at this time.

Officials say they will now use screening questions for patients upon arrival to identify potential COVID-19 cases and manage their care.

"Our top priority continues to be ensuring that our medical center remains safe for all patients, team members, and visitors," said VCU Health. "Our entire team is well-prepared to handle this evolving situation, including meeting the needs of all our patients without compromising the care of anyone else coming to VCU Medical Center for other reasons."

Monday, VCU Health announced routine visitation rules are suspended at the hosptial "until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to patients."

No visitors will be allowed who have any symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing, have returned from any of the COVID-19 high-risk countries or regions within the last 14 days, have been exposed to COVID-19, or are children under 16 old.

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 reminds individuals to take 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.

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