COVID-19 hits Isle of Wight

Published 8:06 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2020

By Diana McFarland


There are now two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Isle of Wight County as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Western Tidewater Health District.

Isle of Wight reported its first COVID-19 case Friday evening.

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A 27-year-old Isle of Wight County woman tested positive for COVID-19 last week, as did a 50-year old Suffolk man who had recently returned from a trip to New York, according to the Western Tidewater Health District.

The Health Department is also on a contact investigation on a 50-year-old male Isle of Wight resident, who was recently discharged from the hospital and is a possible contact case, according to Dr. Todd Wagner with the Western Tidewater Health District. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Statewide, the COVID-19 count has exceeded 250 cases in Virginia as of Monday, the Virginia Department of Health is no longer issuing press releases on individual cases unless a death has occurred, according to VDH spokesman Larry Hill. 

So far, Virginia has had six deaths related to COVID-19, according to the VDH. 

Hill was able to obtain some information about the Isle of Wight woman. 

“She was informed that she was a contact of another positive COVID-19 case and later sought testing/treatment when she became symptomatic. She is isolating herself and recovering at home,” said Hill in an email.    

The contact was local and Hill did not provide any further details at this time, although by Monday, rumors were swirling about who the woman is and where she lives and works. 

“That is information we cannot release or confirm. We don’t release communities of the patients,” said Hill. 

“We identify close contacts and notify them they may have been exposed,” said Hill. 

Hill said the health department is classifying these cases in one of three ways — local contact, that is, they know who the other person was; a traveler; or spread in the community in an unknown way. 

Western Tidewater Health District Director Dr. Todd Wagner said he is unaware of any cluster of potential cases in Smithfield, and any testing would be in the hands of the medical facility that performs those tests. Wagner said the health department is not looking at any particular location in Smithfield and references to specific businesses sounds like a rumor.

“I have no information to the contrary,” he said, adding that any close contacts of a confirmed case are evaluated for degree of exposure and if testing is necessary. 

The hot spots in Virginia continue to be James City, Arlington and Fairfax counties, although two cases have been reported in Lee County, located in the far western tip of the state. In all, 40 Virginia cities and counties have reported cases of COVID-19 as of Monday according to the VDH. 

The Virginia Department of Health has offered guidelines as to what constitutes close contact, as that is what appears necessary to contract the virus.

According to the VDH, an individual needs to have had close contact with a person ill with COVID-19. Close contact includes:

•Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19.

•Caring for a sick person with COVID-19.

•Being within six feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 15 minutes.

•Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

Being indoors, such as a classroom or hospital waiting room, with a sick person with COVID-19 and remaining more than six feet away, does not put a person at a higher risk of getting sick. Additionally, briefly walking by or being briefly in the same room as a sick person with COVID-19 does not put an individual at a higher risk of getting sick, according to the VDH. {/mprestriction}