2 More Harrisonburg Residents Test Positive for COVID-19

Mar 20, 2020

In a press release issued Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Virginia Department of Health's Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) confirmed two additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Harrisonburg, VA. James Madison University announced that one of the cases is a JMU student. The student lives off campus, is self-isolating, and recently traveled overseas. Any individuals who were potentially exposed are being contacted.

This brings the total confirmed cases in Harrisonburg to three, other details regarding the new cases have yet to be released. 

JMU Statement - Sent Thursday night, March 19, 2020

On March 19, James Madison University officials were made aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a JMU student.

The Virginia Department of Health is managing the case, identifying and reaching out to individuals who may have been in contact with the student and informing them of their need to isolate. The individual lives off campus, and recently traveled overseas. The travel was personal, and not university-sponsored through one of JMU’s international programs. The student was not treated at the University Health Center, and is self-isolating in a location off campus. We wish our student well in the weeks ahead and hope for their quick recovery. 

James Madison University has taken unprecedented, responsible measures to protect public safety and limit exposure to our community, including moving classes online through the spring semester, encouraging telecommuting for employees when possible, closing all of our international programs through the summer, and cancelling or postponing all on-campus events through May 15, regardless of size.

At JMU, we care deeply for each other, and for members of the greater Harrisonburg community. In these difficult times, it is the finest tradition of the JMU family to come together in support and solidarity. Please continue to visit jmu.edu/covid19 for updates, or email covid19@jmu.edu with questions.

The Virginia Department of Health recommends that everyone follow these COVID-19 prevention practices:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% – 95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If you are sick, stay home and rest, even if illness is mild.
  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid in-person gatherings of 10 or more people
  • Those 65 years of age and older are encouraged to self-quarantine

People are also encouraged to practice social distancing. Social distancing means remaining out of:

  • Public places where close contact with others may occur (such as shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums).
  • Workplaces (unless the person works in an office space that allows distancing from others).
  • Schools and other classroom settings.
  • Local public transportation (such as on a bus, subway, taxi, ride share, plane, ship)

It is very important that people with even mild signs of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath) stay home to prevent spreading illness to others. Even those with mild illness could pass the infection to others.

Press Release from the Central Shenandoah Health District, Thursday March 19, 2020

Central Shenandoah Health District Confirms Additional Cases of COVID-19

(STAUNTON, Virginia) – The Virginia Department of Health’s Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) announced today an additional two COVID-19 cases in the Harrisonburg - Rockingham area. CSHD now has a total of three positive COVID-19 cases.

“As we continue to see new cases of COVID-19 in our community and throughout the Commonwealth, it is critical that people follow the public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” said Laura Kornegay, M.D., director, CSHD. “Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies in lessening the impact of this pandemic.”

People should avoid social gatherings of more than 10 individuals. If you are 65 years or older, or if you have a serious chronic medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, immune compromise), you should seriously consider staying at home. “We all have a responsibility and duty to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our community from this novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Kornegay.

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. 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. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

•                      Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.

•                      Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

•                      Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

•                      Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

•                      Stay home when you are sick.

•                      Avoid contact with sick people.

•                      If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

As the COVID-19 outbreak expands, recommendations may change. CSHD is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide the best possible guidance for the community.

For general questions about COVID-19, community members may call the CSHD COVID-19 Hotline at 855-949-8378. For the latest on COVID-19, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus. (These cases are not yet reflected in this dashboard, which was updated today, March 19, 2020).