RICHMOND, Va. -- A man has died in James City County as a result of COVID-19, Virginia health officials announced Saturday.
The victim is his 70s, who was hospitalized, died of respiratory failure as a result of the virus, officials said.
"The patient acquired COVID-19 through an unknown source," Virginia Department of Health (VDH) officials said.
“On behalf of the entire Commonwealth, we express our deepest sympathy for the family and loved ones of the patient who died, as well as the families of everyone who has been affected by this outbreak,” VDH Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver said.
This is the first death in the Commonwealth as a result of COVID-19.
"The Peninsula Health District has been working very closely to identify people who have been in potential contact with people known to have tested positive for coronavirus," officials said. "They are interviewing affected people and giving instructions on how to protect themselves and others."
Pam and I were deeply saddened to learn that a Virginian has died from #COVID19. The health of Virginians continues to be my absolute top priority. I will meet with local Peninsula officials tomorrow, and we will speak to the community about next steps.https://t.co/Q7GNEVDEeO— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) March 14, 2020
Gov. Ralph Northam released the following statement in response to the death:
“Pam and I were deeply saddened to learn that a Virginian has died from COVID-19, and we grieve for everyone this virus has touched around the world.
“The health of Virginians and our communities is my most important priority right now. As a Commonwealth, we have taken major, critical steps to stop the spread of COVID- 19. I have declared a state of emergency, closed K-12 schools across the state, restricted visitors at nursing homes and correctional facilities, limited state employee travel, and canceled large events.
“This is a public health crisis—we must all treat it as such.
“Again, I urge Virginians: take this seriously. Take basic health precautions, avoid large gatherings, telework if possible, and stay home if you are sick. That will stop the virus from spreading.
“It is all of our responsibility, yours and mine, to keep each other safe and healthy.
“You deserve to know next steps. I will meet with local officials on the Peninsula tomorrow, and we will speak to the community at 12:00 PM about additional measures we are taking to combat COVID-19.”
Virginia COVID-19 Cases
Of the 395 people tested for COVID-19 in Virginia, 41 people had tested positive for the virus as of Saturday. Officials noted public health officials are "reaching out" to anyone who is known to have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Earlier Saturday, health officials said a Chesterfield County man had tested positive for COVID-19. The patient, who is in his 60s, recently returned from a country with COVID-19 cases.
When he returned home, health officials said he stayed home and monitored his health.
“Confirming a case of COVID-19 in a Chesterfield resident does not come as a surprise given international travel from an affected area,” Chesterfield Health District Director Dr. Alexander Samuel said. “We have been on high alert for possible cases of residents with COVID-19 and are working hard to identify possible cases.”
The patient is "doing well" and "isolated at home," officials said.
VDH officials urged folks to abide by the following "effective behaviors" to "lower the risk of respiratory germ spread:"
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
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COMPLETE COVERAGE: Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Tracker