The first confirmed case of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Southwestern Virginia appeared this week when tests came back positive Thursday on a Botetourt County woman admitted to Roanoke Memorial Carilion Hospital on Monday.
In addition, a child younger than 10 tested positive in Gloucester County.
The Botetourt woman is one of 172 tests on area residents by the hospital this week but is, so far, the only positive tests returned. The hospital is still waiting for results on 102 of those tests.
Carilion officials say she is in serious condition in the quarantined virus unit at the hospital.
“We are saddened to learn that the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Southwest Virginia is a resident of Botetourt County,” County Administrator Gary Larrowe said in a news release from the county. “As we think about the impact on our community, we remain vigilant. These times are unprecedented, so we are encouraging everyone to stay safe and take necessary precautions for their families and loved ones.”
That positive finding puts the number of positive cases in Virginia at 117.
The new cases include the women from Botetourt County, the child in Gloucester County and three additional cases in Charlottesville.
Virginia’s confirmed virus cases have increased from 52 on Monday to 99 Thursday night and the 117 on Friday.
Dr. Molly O’Dell, in video news release Thursday night said the hospital is tracing all the woman’s contacts to see if they can discover how she contracted the virus and who else might be a risk.
“It’s early. It takes a while to get a hold of everybody. The hospital is working its line list of possible exposure. We will do the same with emergency medical people and all possibility situations,” O’Dell said. “If she’s been out in the community, we hope people have been practicing their social distancing. It makes it real.”
“For those of you in the community, we encourage you to take relevant precautions and call your doctor if you have symptoms, wash your hands often and practice social distancing to keep yourself and your community safe,” said Dr. Paul Skolnik, chair of medicine at Carilion.
Gov. Ralph Norhtham said a positive diagnosis in Southwest Virginia was “only a matter of time.”
“Infectious diseases do not respect boundaries,” Northam added.
(Updated at 12:15 p.m. Friday.)