Fredericksburg has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, bringing to 12 the number of people in the Rappahannock Area Health District who have tested positive for the illness.

There are nine cases in Stafford, two in Spotsylvania and one in the city, according to the RAHD. However, those numbers are not reflected in the daily update posted on the Virginia Department of Health website. There continues to be a lag between what local health districts report and what shows up in the state total, according to the RAHD.

Even so, statewide numbers climbed dramatically between Tuesday and Wednesday. Numbers went up 54 percent, to 391 cases in Virginia after 5,370 people were tested. Of those sickened, 59 have been hospitalized, according to the state health department’s website. Nine people have died.

The state map shows the gradual spreading of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus throughout the commonwealth, with the heaviest concentrations in Northern Virginia. There’s also a pocket in James City County, which had the state’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 and has 41 residents with the illness.

Other counties to the west of Fredericksburg also are reporting cases: two in Culpeper and one each in Fauquier, Madison and Orange counties.

Of the local cases, only two of them are in the same family, said Allison Balmes John, public information officer for the local health district. In addition, several of those who’ve tested positive recently traveled to areas with high rates of COVID-19.

But because there are cases that can’t be tracked to travel internationally or a high-risk area or contact with someone who’s tested positive, “it is presumed that RAHD has experienced community transmission,” she said.

“It continues to be of the utmost importance that community members are practicing social distancing, staying home when possible, and practicing good hygiene measures such as handwashing and not touching their face,” she added.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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