Saturday, December 9, 2023

W&M staffer tests ‘presumptive positive’ for coronavirus

(WYDaily/Courtesy William & Mary)
(WYDaily/Courtesy William & Mary)

A William & Mary staff member has tested presumptive positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), according to a message Saturday to the campus community from the college’s emergency management team.

University officials said this is the “first and only case of COVID-19 involving a member of the W&M community,” and is “is very likely to change in the near future as more cases are diagnosed in the surrounding Williamsburg area.”

University officials said they received confirmation Saturday.

James City County, as of Saturday, had the second highest reported presumptive positive cases in the state at eight — Fairfax County has 10, Arlington County, five, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

So far, Virginia Beach has three.

“I can confirm that it is not a new case,” Larry Hill, Eastern Region public information officer for the VDH, said of the W&M case. “It has been included in our numbers prior to today (Saturday).”

Peninsula 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.

“In accordance with privacy laws and our own policy, we will not be releasing detailed information about this positive case or any subsequent cases,” Sam Jones, W&M’s emergency management team chairman wrote in the message to the campus community. “The Virginia Department of Health is in the process of contacting people who may have been in close contact with this individual. If you have received a call from VDH regarding self-quarantine, please follow their instructions. If you have not received a call, you do not need to take specific action related to this case but please continue practicing good preventative hygiene measures and limit close interaction with others as much as practically possible.”

University officials said they are in contact with VDH and are following their recommendations.

“Please remember that amidst this serious pandemic, the vast majority of affected individuals will develop only mild to moderate symptoms,” Jones wrote. “Preparation, not panic, will provide the best assurance that the health of our community is protected.”

W&M remains open but operating under its interim policies.

Updates on the university’s response to coronavirus can be found here.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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