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Virginia Public Health Lab to begin testing for Coronavirus

Virginia's Public Health laboratory has begun testing for coronavirus (COVID-19,) a move that will decrease the test result waiting period across the state.
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Posted at 4:46 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 19:08:32-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia's Public Health laboratory has begun testing for coronavirus (COVID-19,) a move that will decrease the waiting period for test results across the state.

The laboratory tested two suspected cases over the weekend. Both results were negative.

Until February 29, all suspected COVID-19 samples were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing, which could take up to a week to report results.

Local testing will reduce the results waiting period to mere hours.

DCLS will test samples from individuals identified by the Virginia Department of Health as a Person Under Investigation (PUI), meaning they meet both the clinical and epidemiological criteria for COVID-19.

“No cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Virginia at this time, and our public health officials are working diligently to ensure early detection of any suspected cases,” Gov. Northam said. “Our ability to test suspected COVID-19 cases locally is critical to quickly diagnosing and providing treatment to anyone who may become infected, as well as stopping the spread of this novel virus among our citizens.”

At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it.