NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY. – Two people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Northumberland County, officials announced Thursday afternoon.
The two cases are travel-related, officials said.
"These individuals have been isolated and are being monitored," according to a release from theNorthumberland County Board of Supervisors. "The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) notified the County of these confirmed cases to ensure local public safety officials are aware and could continue the precautions necessary to mitigate further spread."
County officials said they "highly encourage" citizens. businesses and visitors to continue social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Sixty-nine more people tested positive for the virus out of the 819 people tested since Wednesday's update, according numbers published by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). That brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia to 460, which does not include the two cases from Northumberland County.
Officials said 65 people remain hospitalized and 13 people have died as a result of COVID-19-related illnesses.
Additionally, new data from VDH shows that biggest age groups affected by COVID-19 in the Commonwealth are people aged 50 to 69 years old as that group accounts for more than 36 percent of cases.
Slightly more men have been infected by the virus at 242 cases versus the 211 cases reported in women.
Cases of the virus in Metro Richmond stand at 58 as of Thursday's update. That includes 1 case in Amelia, 1 in Charles City County, 12 in Chesterfield, 3 in Goochland, 2 in Hanover, 21 in Henrico, 4 in Louisa and 14 in Richmond.
Officials are investigating "distinct clusters" where there is "local transmission" of the virus in Virginia.
Those clusters include 79 cases in Fairfax County, 54 in Arlington County, 49 in James City County, 36 in Prince William County, 28 in Loudon County and 26 in Virginia Beach.
New cases were reported Thursday in Amelia, Fauquier, Hampton, Lynchburg, Pittslyvania, Poquoson, Warren and Washington County. That does not include two cases in Prince George County reported by local health officials.
"We do not have a medicine for COVID-19. We do not have a vaccine for COVID-19," Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver previously said. "The only thing we have to prevent the spread of this disease is social distancing, so we need to all do that."
Northam: 'We're in this for the long haul -- months'
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said the Commonwealth continues to see a sharp uptick in cases of COVID-19 because of increased testing capabilities.
"But we're also seeing it because this virus continues to spread," Northam said during a news conference Sunday. "We talked about flattening the curve, but make no mistake, we are still in the early stages of that curve rising. How high and how how quickly those numbers rise is up to you and me and every single Virginian."
Northam also said the COVID-19 outbreak will be "with us for a long time. "
"Months, not weeks," the governor said. "We need to begin adjusting to that reality."
Northam said protecting the vulnerable is the responsibility of everyone.
"It is up to all of us to act responsibly and avoid crowds. We will win this fight together," Northam said. "We're in this for the long haul... We're all in this together and we're going to get through this, but it's gonna take some time."
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.