First coronavirus case reported in Charlottesville

Infected patient is a member of the University of Virginia community
A Charlottesville resident, and UVA community member, has tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Updated: Mar. 16, 2020 at 4:58 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville resident has tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The Virginia Department of Health’s Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD) made the announcement Monday, March 16.

The University of Virginia revealed that the infected patient is a staff member at the UVA Women’s Center. Additionally, the woman is said to be receiving care and is in quarantine at her home.

“The individual had self-quarantined, and was doing a great job of really trying to stay away," TJHD Health Director Dr. Denise Bonds said. “We’re hopeful that our actual contact list will be relatively small.”

TJHD does not believe the patient contracted the disease locally. Instead, it believes the woman likely caught the virus while travelling to an area on the west coast, where the virus is more wide-spread. The health district is currently investigating people that were potentially exposed to the infected person.

“What we’ll do is notify anybody that we feel like meets that criteria for a contact,” Dr. Bonds explained. “So if someone is worried, they will be notified, they just need to reassure people that we do a great job of tracking down those people that might be at risk.”

According to the Virginia Department of Health, there is a total of 51 cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. However, the department’s map for Monday does not mention Charlottesville or the Albemarle County area.

At this time, the case is not believed to be connected to the presumptive diagnosis in the St. Anne’s-Belfield School community. The school has not returned repeated requests for comment.

The Thomas Jefferson Health District operates a coronavirus hotline, which you can reach at 434-972-6261.

03/16/20 Updated Letter from the University of Virginia:

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff: As you know from the notification received earlier today, the University has confirmed a case of COVID-19 within our community. The individual who is ill, a staff member at the UVA Women’s Center who lives off Grounds, is receiving care and in quarantine at home following protocols from the Virginia Department of Health. We wish her a speedy and full recovery.

The Virginia Department of Health is leading the effort to identify individuals who were in contact with the staff member, reaching out to those individuals, and arranging for their isolation. University staff are also working to support potentially impacted students, faculty and staff. In addition, the UVA Women’s Center is being vacated and deep-cleaned with products that kill the coronavirus in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you exhibit these symptoms, please contact your health-care provider and follow their instructions before leaving your home and potentially putting others at risk:

  • Students: Contact Student Health 434-982-3915, or 434-297-4261 after hours.
  • Faculty and Staff: Contact your primary care physician via telephone or email.
  • If you do not have a primary care physician you may call the Virginia Department of Heath hotline at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343).

As we work together as a community to mitigate the spread of this disease, it is important that you continue to practice healthy habits:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • Additional information is available from the CDC.

Thank you for all you are doing during this challenging time to safeguard your own health and that of others. If you have additional questions about the University’s efforts regarding COVID-19, please contact the UVA COVID-19 Response Line at 1-877-685-4836 (domestic), +1-202-800-2408 (international), or You can also consult the University’s Novel Coronavirus website.Given the progression of the virus, it is not a surprise to discover a local case, but we know it will heighten anxiety. We will be in further touch to announce any additional changes we are making as the situation unfolds, and we will continue to update the website. Now, more than ever, is the time to treat each other with kindness and compassion. We are beyond grateful to everyone who has been working so hard on behalf of our community.

03/16/20 Release from the University of Virginia:

A member of the University community has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). UVA health officials and administrators are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health, which is conducting a thorough investigation of potential exposures.

The positive test result is considered presumptive, pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials are following protocols to isolate this patient.

This is a preliminary notification as required by the federal Clery Act. The University will send a more detailed message via email shortly.

We will continue to provide updates and information at Check back frequently for new information. If you have additional questions, call the UVA COVID-19 Response Line: 877-685-4836 (domestic callers) or 202-800-2408 (international callers).

How can I help protect myself?

Preventative steps recommended by the CDC, Virginia Department of Health and UVA Student Health and Wellness can be found at

What if I suspect I have coronavirus?

If you think you may have been exposed to coronavirus and have these flu-like symptoms (fever, shortness of breath or a cough), please call ahead before visiting a doctor’s office or emergency department. This will enable your care providers to determine the best way for you to receive care.

Students with symptoms: Please contact your medical provider or the Department of Student Health & Wellness at 434-982-3915 (call 434-297-4261 after hours).

Faculty and staff with symptoms: Please contact your medical provider.

Thomas Jefferson Health District Press Release

(Charlottesville, VA.) – The Virginia Department of Health’s Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD) announced that a community member has tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This case marks the first case in the Thomas Jefferson Health District.

“The situation with COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly changing, so it is not surprising that we are identifying a case in our area,” said Thomas Jefferson Health District Director Dr. Denise Bonds.

Public health officials will work to isolate the patient and to investigate all people who had close contact with the patient. Contacts will be asked to stay home away from others for 14 days.

The positive case is an individual in their late 50s and a resident in the City of Charlottesville. The case appears to be travel-related. The patient was tested for the novel coronavirus by a commercial lab.

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:

  • Individuals should stay home, if possible, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Local government, businesses, community organizations, and faith-based institutions should reschedule or cancel meetings or gatherings, involving more than 50 people until further notice.
  • Community members over age 60, with chronic medical conditions, or with compromised immune systems should avoid gatherings of more than 50 people all together.
  • 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.

This is a rapidly changing situation, and information is being shared as it becomes available on the following websites: or Please consult for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia. The Thomas Jefferson Health District has also activated a public information line, 434-972-6261, for questions from community members about the novel coronavirus situation.