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First positive coronavirus case shows up in Southwest Virginia

Roanoke — Carilion Clinic announced Thursday that a resident from Southwest Virginia has tested positive for COVID-19.

The positive case is an elderly patient who resides within the Alleghany Health District. The patient was admitted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital on Monday, March 16, exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and was tested. The patient was placed in a COVID-19 isolation unit. Results were received from a commercial testing lab Thursday and immediately shared with the Virginia Department of Health. VDH is overseeing the investigation to trace relevant patient contacts. The patient is in serious condition.

While treating the patient, Carilion’s infection prevention team followed all appropriate protocols to ensure that the hospital’s staff and visitors remained safe.

As of Thursday, Carilion Clinic had tested 172 patients for COVID-19 with 69 negative results and one positive. Carilion is awaiting results for the remaining 102.

Effective Friday, March 20, at 9 a.m., no visitors will be permitted at Carilion Clinic facilities except for the following exceptions: two designated visitors will be permitted for obstetric patients and pediatric patients (parent or legal guardian).

Likewise, no visitors will be permitted at non-hospital Carilion Clinic sites with the following two exceptions: one designated visitor will be permitted for obstetric patients and two designated visitors will be permitted for pediatric patients (parent or legal guardian)

Most patients with COVID-19 have only mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe symptoms, 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.

This is a rapidly changing situation, and information is being shared as it becomes available on the following websites:, and Please consult for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Health has also activated a public information line, 877-ASK-VDH3, for questions from residents about the novel coronavirus situation.

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