Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Friday: James City County tops the state in the number of coronavirus cases. Health officials calling it a ‘community outbreak’

(WYDaily/Courtesy of Wikemedia Commons)
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in Virginia, localities are taking measures to prepare for potential outbreaks.(WYDaily/Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Peninsula Health District has officially determined there is now a community outbreak of the coronavirus in James City County.

According to an update from Virginia Department of Health  at noon Friday, there are seven in James City County who tested presumptive positive. That’s the highest in the state so far — Fairfax County has six, Arlington County, five.

So far, Virginia Beach had two.

Health district officials noted four of the five new cases in James City County had contacted the two original coronavirus cases in Williamsburg.

It remains unclear how the fifth person was exposed to the virus, and the health district is investigating.

All five people have tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus and are included on the Virginia Department of Health’s website to date.

The coronavirus spread has prompted the closures of all K-12 schools in Virginia by Gov. Ralph Northam and several localities including James City County, York County and Williamsburg declaring a state of emergency.

“These five new cases make this a community outbreak of COVID-19,” Dr. Thomas Franck, PDH director said in a news release. “The fact that one of these cases has an unknown exposure is concerning and is suspicious for community spread.”

The PDH has activated its incident management team to contain the outbreak and is working with the VDH and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, the health department has opened a call center effective March 14 at 8 a.m. The phone number is 757-594-7069.

“Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms,” the PHD noted. “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.”

If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, call your doctor.

Symptoms can appear within 14 days of being exposed to a person with the coronavirus and is spread though respiratory droplets.

Here are some tips from the VDH

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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