First COVID-19 cases reported in Emporia, Greensville County

Posted at 4:41 PM, Mar 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 23:01:55-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Health officials said a man in Emporia and a woman in Greensville County have tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials with the Virginia Department of Health's (VDH) Crater Health District said the man, who is in his 30s, is self–isolating at home.

The woman, who is in her 70s, is hospitalized, according to officials.

“With each confirmed case, we identify possible contacts, evaluate their risk of exposure and recommend appropriate public health and medical measures,” Crater Health District Director Alton Hart Jr. said.

Hart said officials expect to see more cases as testing increases across the Commonwealth.

"It is important for everyone to continue practicing personal public health precautions, especially social distancing and hand and surface hygiene," Hart said. "These are the most effective ways to minimize the spread of illness and keep yourself and those around you healthy.”

VDH Epidemiologist Senior E. Katrina Saphrey said people who are close contacts of someone with COVID-19 have a higher risk for infection.

"Others at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19,” Saphrey said.

Officials said COVID-19 is mainly spread via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

"Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms," officials said. "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. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days after exposure to an infectious person."

VDH officials offered these tips to lower the risk from spreading respiratory germs like COVID-19:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • 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.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public.
  • Avoid crowds of more than 10 people.

"If you are 65 years or older, or if you have a serious chronic medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, compromised immune system), you should seriously consider staying at home," officials said.

COVID-19 cases in Virginia climb to 739

Officials said 135 more people tested positive for COVID-19 out of the 1,829 people tested since Friday's update. That brings Virginia's total number of cases to 739.

Officials said 99 people remain hospitalized and 17 people have died as a result of COVID-19-related illnesses.

VDH data showed the coronavirus has most impacted people aged 50 to 69 since that group accounts for more than 36 percent of cases.

"But we're also seeing cases in people in their 20s," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Friday. "Ninety-three of the 604 cases are in the age range of 20 to 29 years."

In fact, Northam said that group accounts for 16 percent of cases in the state.

"There has been some talk, and I have seen activity around Virginia, that this only affects the elderly. Well, it doesn't. It affects all of us, "Northam said. "So take this seriously and please stay home."

Slightly more men have been infected by the virus at 382 cases versus the 349 cases reported in women.

Officials are investigating "distinct clusters" where there is "local transmission" of the virus in Virginia.

Those clusters include 156 cases in Fairfax County, 75 in Arlington County, 65 in James City County, 56 in Prince William County, 53 in Loudon County and 35 in Virginia Beach.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.