The Virginia Department of Health is responding to the outbreak of respiratory illness, called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), that is caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.
The outbreak was first detected in China in December 2019.
On March 7, 2020 the first case of COVID-19 in Virginia was announced.
COVID-19 has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally.
On March 11, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.
On March 12, Governor Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
On March 23, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 53 that orders the closure of certain non-essential businesses, bans all gatherings of more than 10 people, and closes all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. Governor Northam is also urging all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside the home, if and when possible. Food establishments are mandated to offer curbside takeout and delivery service only, or close to the public. This order goes into effect at 11:59PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59PM on Thursday, April 23. The full text of the order can be found here and additional guidance and a Frequently Asked Questions guide can be found here.
On March 30, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 55, a statewide Stay at Home order. The executive order took effect immediately and will remain in place until June 10, 2020. The order directed all Virginians to stay home except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.
As of March 31, VDH is reporting widespread community transmission across the state. This means that COVID-19 is spreading within communities across Virginia.
Do your part to STOP the spread by taking everyday precautions, including: washing your hands often, staying at home as much as possible, avoiding close contact with others, covering your coughs and sneezes, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
There is growing evidence that people can spread COVID-19 even if they never develop symptoms or before their symptoms start. Even though this is possible, CDC believes that people are most contagious when they have symptoms. Everyone should limit their exposure by staying home.
Most people with COVID-19 develop mild illness and can isolate at home. The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other common symptoms include fatigue, decreased appetite, and muscle or body aches. Not everyone with COVID-19 will have all symptoms and fever might not be present.
Not every person who has been exposed to COVID-19 needs to be tested. In most instances, a positive test would not change what a doctor tells you to do to get better.
Healthcare professionals evaluating ill patients for suspected COVID-19 can request testing through a private laboratory. VDH approval is not required for this testing.
Executive Order 51 "Authorization for the heads of executive branch agencies, on behalf of their regulatory boards as appropriate, and with the concurrence of their Cabinet Secretary, to waive any state requirement or regulation, and enter into contracts without regard to normal procedures or formalities, and without regard to application or permit fees or royalties. All waivers issued by agencies shall be posted on their websites."