While confirmed cases of COVID-19 are spreading throughout Virginia, there are two pockets with the heaviest concentrations—and Stafford County is on the cusp of one of them.

That could be one reason Stafford’s confirmed cases are slowly increasing, said Dr. Donald Stern, acting director of the Rappahannock Area Health District. Stafford has eight confirmed cases, while the number for Spotsylvania County remains at two. There aren’t any others in the Fredericksburg area, although Culpeper County has two, Louisa County has one and Madison County confirmed its first case Monday night.

But it’s a different matter north of Stafford, where the Virginia Department of Health’s map shows darker hues of blue to reflect higher concentration of cases—and Northern Virginia definitely is a deeper shade of blue.

Of the state’s 290 confirmed cases as of noon Tuesday, there were 131 in Northern Virginia: 46 in Fairfax County, 36 in Arlington County, 23 in Prince William County, 18 in Loudoun County and 8 in Alexandria.

The only other Virginia locality with a concentration that high is James City County, which has 37 cases. It’s near Newport News and part of the Peninsula Health District. The Peninsula area, including Williamsburg, has recorded six of Virginia’s seven deaths from COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, King George County posted on its government website Monday that a Maryland resident who works for a military contracting company in King George tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was sent home from work March 13 and has not returned to King George, according to the notice.

“However, we feel it prudent to ensure that our citizens are fully informed of any potential conflicts with our efforts to combat the community spread of COVID-19,” the notice stated.

State health officials in Virginia and Maryland completed their tracking efforts to identify those who had close contact with the employee, noting that “close contact” is defined as within six feet for at least 15 minutes. Those notified were told to self-isolate and communicate regularly with their local health departments, according to the notice.

In addition, the military contracting company closed temporarily to sanitize offices and common areas.

While hospitals’ supplies of personal protective gear, including masks, gowns and gloves, dwindles, the number of people testing positive locally for the virus remains low.

In a Monday update, Dr. Christopher Newman, chief medical officer of Mary Washington Healthcare, said that “only 5 percent of patients we test have a positive result.”

That amount mirrors statewide trends. As of Tuesday, 4,470 Virginians have been tested, resulting in 290 confirmed cases. That means 6.4 percent of those tested statewide have the virus, but the numbers are not an accurate measurement of how widespread COVID-19 may be, Stern said, because only those with the most severe symptoms are being tested.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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