Member of UVA community tests positive for coronavirus

Patient is in their late 50s and a Charlottesville resident
UVA School of Nursing receives record gift of $20 million
Posted at 11:37 AM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 11:39:45-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A member of the University of Virginia community has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), university officials announced in an email Monday morning.

There is no word if the patient is a student or staff member at the university.

The patient is being isolated, officials said.

“UVA health officials and administrators are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health, which is conducting a thorough investigation of potential exposures,” school officials wrote.

CBS 6 has confirmed that the patient is an individual in their late 50s and a resident in the City of Charlottesville. The case marks the first case in the Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD).

The case appears to be travel-related, according to officials with the TJHD.

“The situation with COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly changing, so it is not surprising that we are identifying a case in our area,” said TJHD Director Dr. Denise Bonds. “Public health officials will work to isolate the patient and to investigate all people who had close contact with the patient. Contacts will be asked to stay home away from others for 14 days.”

The positive test is considered presumptive, pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last week, UVA announced all classes would move online "for the foreseeable future” amid the coronavirus outbreak. Online classes begin Thursday, March 19.

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.