ROANOKE, Va. – The local woman who tested positive for COVID-19 is still in serious condition at Roanoke Memorial Hospital as of Friday night, according to family members.
10 News spoke with a Bedford County woman who says she is the patient’s great-niece. She wants to go by the name Ashley, and 10 News isn’t revealing the patient’s name at the family’s request.
The news broke Thursday that the woman is in her 80s, lives in Botetourt County and has been in the hospital since Monday. Ashley says she lives in the Fincastle area.
Family members are not sure if doctors believe her condition will worsen or improve. They say she’s having a hard time talking, but the good news is, she’s not on a ventilator.
“I was panicking,” Ashley said when asked how she reacted to hearing a family member tested positive.
“I’m very concerned. I’m worried that she wouldn’t make it if she got it,” she said.
Ashley tells 10 News the patient’s daughter is also at Roanoke Memorial, has pneumonia and is awaiting test results.
Family members are wondering if she gave the virus to anyone else. They say she’s self-sufficient and mostly stays at her house, doesn’t travel a lot, but they’re not sure which places she may have visited before going to the hospital.
They say she seemed fine Saturday at a funeral that about 60 people attended in the Roanoke Valley.
“I’m worried about people going out and spreading it, and people like my son, who has a bad immune system are more susceptible to serious problems from it, getting it, because people are being careless,” Ashley said.
Family members aren’t sure how the woman got the virus.
Ashley says the Virginia Department of Health contacted her Friday afternoon and told her to self-quarantine. She had been doing that out of caution anyway.
“At first I was really scared but the health department says it’s promising that we’re not showing any symptoms yet. So that made me feel a little bit better,” she said.
She says she’s seeing people on social media saying the virus is a hoax. She wants people to know that it’s serious.
Virginia Department of Health officials told 10 News Friday that they can’t reveal details about what they’re learning in their investigation into the case, but they’re looking into where the patient was prior to checking into the hospital and who they may have come into contact with.
Officials call this “contact tracing.”
“Potential contacts are identified, their risk of exposure is assessed and medical treatment is recommended, if/as appropriate,” said Bobby Parker, a Virginia Department of Health spokesperson based in Christiansburg, in a statement sent to 10 News.