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Two more potential coronavirus cases in Virginia being investigated

Two more people in Virginia are being investigated as potential cases of novel coronavirus, according to the Virginia Department of Health, bringing the total of such investigations in the state to five as the U.S. declared a public health emergency Friday.

The first three people who were investigated earlier this month in Virginia tested negative for the virus. No cases of coronavirus yet have been confirmed in the state.

One of the two newer cases under investigation is in the state’s northern region and the other is in the central region.

They were included in a running total of people under investigation posted on the Virginia Department of Health’s website, last updated Friday. The website does not include identifying information about those people.

Of the three who have tested negative, one was in the northern region of Virginia and two were in the central region. VDH first announced those cases Sunday.

Albemarle County issued a release Friday reiterating that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider the immediate risk of coronavirus infection to the general public to be low at this time.

The Thomas Jefferson Health District has plans and systems in place to identify any potential cases and control risk, if a case is confirmed, the county said.

Some people who have become infected with the coronavirus have had mild symptoms, while others have had more severe symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough and trouble breathing, and they can appear two to 14 days after exposure, according to the health department.

The virus has infected almost 10,000 people globally in just two months, a worrying sign of its spread that prompted the World Health Organization on Thursday to declare the outbreak a global emergency.

As of Friday morning, China counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities. The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, where the first illnesses were detected in December. No deaths have been reported outside China.

One of the potential cases in Virginia was an ill George Mason University student; that student was cleared Friday morning, according to media reports.

On Friday, the University of Virginia updated its advisory on coronavirus, which maintains that the risk posed by the disease to Charlottesville-area students is “low.”

The university has advised UVa students in China for university-related purposes to leave the country following CDC guidance, and is revising plans of study for students who hoped to go to the country this semester.

According to a recent survey of UVa’s international student population, the top three countries of citizenship for both undergraduate and graduate international students in fall 2017 were China, India, and Korea. Overall, international students make up about 5% of UVa’s student body.

Meanwhile, according to The Washington Post, university students across the country remain on alert.


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