Coronavirus ‘presumptive positive’ cases reported in Williamsburg

Two residents in the Peninsula Health District have tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Thursday, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The The two cases are in Williamsburg, the report from VDH indicated.

Those two new cases come after Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday evening, Williamsburg city officials issued a statement saying the specific locality in which the two cases have been tested cannot be confirmed by VDH but rather they are just located somewhere in Greater Williamsburg.

In relation to the spread of the virus in the local area, the city has canceled various events and closed some public facilities:

  • The joint meeting of the Williamsburg City Council, James City County Board of Supervisors and Williamsburg-James City County, cancelled
  • The Parks and Recreation Shamrock Slam pickleball tournament, cancelled
  • Quarterpath Recreation Center, closed until March 16
  • The VFCA 5K, cancelled

These are the first two presumptive positive cases in the Peninsula Health District and they are believed to be related to international travel as opposed to local community spread.

The Peninsula Health District covers James City CountyYork County,  Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and Williamsburg.

“Given the nature of the current outbreak, discovering COVID-19 in our community does not come as a surprise and we expect to see more cases in coming weeks,” said Dr. Thomas Franck, director of the district. “Fortunately, at this time we have not seen community-wide spread of the virus.”

In addition to cancelling various events, the city has also installed hand sanitizers at entrances and exits to city facilities including:

  • Municipal Building
  • Stryker Center
  • Community Building
  • Quarterpath Recreation Center

There will be additional cleaning and disinfecting performed at all city facilities and public safety vehicles.

The city has also provided information updates regarding the virus on their website.

Lee Ann Hartmann, spokeswoman for the city, said officials are directing locals to VDH for information as much as possible.

During Thursday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Paul Freiling addressed the issue prior to the confirmed cases.

“What we need is resolve and compassion,” he said. “Take care of your family, look for opportunities to care for others…And as with most things in life, we will be far more successful working together than we could ever be at going it alone.”

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