Business owner concerned after positive coronavirus test in his community

"We're concerned, but we're not worried."
Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 09:12:29-04

SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. -- For decades, Lynwood Smith’s family has owned a beauty and barber shop in Spotsylvania County. Even before a positive test for COVID-19 was confirmed at a nearby hospital, Smith said he had several conversations with customers in his barber chair about the spread of coronavirus.

“Most of them are concerned. Some are worried. None of us want to deal with it, but it’s something we hopefully won’t have to deal with,” Smith said.

A man in his 50s at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center (SRMC) presented symptoms of COVID-19, according to health officials. Monday, a test from the state lab confirmed a positive case.

Dr. Brooke Rossheim, Director of the Rappahannock Area Health District, told CBS 6 they still have “a ways to go” in determining how the man was infected.

Rappahannock and Virginia health officials said there is currently no sign that community spread is happening in Virginia as a whole or the greater community in Spotsylvania County.

“We are reaching out to contacts and conducting risk assessments in order to take appropriate actions to protect the contacts’ and the public’s health," Dr. Rossheim said. "The risk of novel coronavirus infection in the general population of Spotsylvania County continues to remain low.”

“Upon admission to the hospital, we activated protocols for handling of possible COVID-19 cases, including isolating the patient and following precautions to ensure the safety of our patients, colleagues, and visitors,” said Jael Cooper, a spokesperson for SRMC. “Last week, as we often do during heavy influenza outbreaks, visitor restrictions were instituted. Visitors and patients are using specific entrances to allow for screening before entering the hospital. We have positioned supplies at points of entry, so that any potential symptomatic patient who arrives can be properly masked to protect our colleagues and other patients.”

The patient with COVID-19 remains hospitalized in stable condition, officials said.

Rossheim said the risk assessment they are conducting includes contacting those the patient may have interacted with recently. Health officials want to determine if those people are symptomatic and get a better idea of who could have potentially been exposed to coronavirus.

Containing community spread in Spotsylvania or any community necessitates good hand hygiene and staying away from others if you feel under the weather, according to local, state, and federal health officials.

Deodato Lietner has lived in Spotsylvania for ten years, and said he noticed a hand sanitizer shortage when he went to a local store to restock Tuesday. Despite the positive test in the county, Lietner is less concerned about getting sick than what news of the positive test could cause.

“I’m thinking, that’s not the bad part,” Lietner said of the COVID-19 case in Spotsylvania. “My fear is once it gets out people are going run out and try to buy over-supplies, and it’s going to shut things down.”

Smith said his barber shop will remain open, and they plan to urge their customers to do the smart thing by practicing good hand washing techniques in order to limit community spread of the virus.

“Like I said, we’re concerned, but we’re not worried. Thinking positive and hopefully it will blow over and things will get back to normal,” Smith said.

The Rappahannock Area Health District continues to stress the following EFFECTIVE infection prevention and control measures:

· Practice good hand hygiene

· Practice good cough and sneeze hygiene

· Avoid going to work, school, etc. if you are ill

· Avoid close contact with ill persons

· Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes

· Practice good environmental cleaning, particularly of high touch surfaces

· Influenza continues to be active in Virginia. If you have not had a flu vaccine, please obtain one. It is not too late to be vaccinated.

For more information, click here.