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State Health Officials: First Case of COVID-19 Identified in Northern Virginia

State public health lab
Scientists at the state public health lab running COVID-19 testing. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM)

The first case of COVID-19 in Virginia was confirmed Saturday by state health officials.

According to a press release from the Virginia Dept. of Health, a U.S. Marine at Fort Belvoir tested positive for the new coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan, China. Health officials said "evidence has not been seen of the disease spreading in Virginia," and the “risk is low”.  

Gov. Ralph Northam and members of the cabinet have been briefed. 

The test results for 7 Virginians are currently pending. Nearly 140 people are being monitored that have symptoms of the illness. 

The state put together an Incident Command Team soon after the first cases of coronavirus were identified in Asia, which is leading efforts to tackle the virus. In a press conference Thursday, state officials said the commonwealth has $3.6 million available for public outreach, staff increases for healthcare workers and first responders, and for equipment to protect them.  

The announcement of Virginia’s first case comes a day after President Donald Trump signed legislation that puts more funding toward treating and containing the spread of coronavirus.

Health officials are also stressing the following precautions:

- Frequent hand-washing with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds
- Avoiding face contact to prevent the spread of germs
- Covering coughs and sneezes 
- Disinfecting touched surfaces and objects
- Staying home when sick 

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