Virginia Department of Health confirms two more cases of COVID – 19 in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area; JMU confirms one is a student

In this photo taken on March 19, 2020 the Sentara RMH website states “Effective Monday, March 16, all routine visiting was being suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, staff and community.” – Photo by Holly Marcus

By Bridget Manley and Calvin Pynn

The Virginia Department of Health has confirmed two more COVID-19 cases in the Harrisonburg – Rockingham area. Harrisonburg now has a total of three positive COVID-19 cases.

James Madison University also confirmed overnight that one of the cases announced by the Virginia Department of Health is a JMU student.

Dr. Laura Kornegay, the Central Shenandoah Health District Director, confirmed to The Citizen that one is a Rockingham County resident, the other is a Harrisonburg City Resident. 

Kornegay cannot confirm where in Rockingham County that patient was from because of patient confidentiality. 

“We generally don’t report that data, we try to maintain confidentiality as much as possible for those cases, so that’s why we’re reporting at the city county level,” Kornegay said. 

Kornegay confirmed the JMU student is the Harrisonburg resident that tested positive for COVID-19. She could not confirm if that JMU student is self-isolating in Harrisonburg, or back in their hometown. 

“They are doing what we’ve advised them to do – self isolating for a period of time until released by public health,” Kornegay said.  “We’ve removed them from the public so they won’t be a threat for ongoing viral transmission.” 

The Virginia Department of Health is managing the case, identifying and reaching out to individuals who may have been in contact with the student and informing them of their need to isolate. 

JMU officials said in a press release that the student lives off campus, and recently traveled overseas. The travel was personal, and not university-sponsored through one of JMU’s international programs. 

“As we continue to see new cases of COVID-19 in our community and throughout the Commonwealth, it is critical that people follow the public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” Kornegay said in a statement. “Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies in lessening the impact of this pandemic.”

JMU confirmed that the student was not treated at the University Health Center, and is self-isolating in a location off campus.

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