TAZEWELL, Va. — Numbers of confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) grew Monday in southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia, and one case – the third for Tazewell County, Va. – was of a resident who contracted the virus through “community spread,” county officials said.
Tazewell County Administrator Eric Young said the person lives in the Western District of the county, which includes Cedar Bluff, Claypool Hill, Wardell, western Baptist Valley and surrounding areas.
No further details are available at this time and patients’ personnel information is protected by federal law.
The first two positives in Tazewell County were announced on March 28, with one in the Western District and one in the Eastern District (Bluefield, Va. area).
Young said the third resident diagnosed had not had any contact with the other two positive cases.
“More importantly, they had not been out of the county within the past two weeks,” Young said. “This is significant, because it means they contracted the virus from an unknown source in the county, sometimes called ‘community spread.’”
The board of supervisors continues to urge residents to comply with state restrictions against gathering in large groups and leaving their homes unnecessarily. If you must go out, wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance from other people and try not to touch your face, he said.
“This sad number will grow,” said Western District Supervisor Tom Lester. “How fast and how high it grows is up to you (residents following safe protocol).”
The board has stepped up its advertising campaign for residents to follow that protocol after the community spread case surfaced. The other two positives related to out-of-state travel.
Acting under its emergency declaration, the board authorized up to $10,000 for the first month of the heightened campaign.
“Right now, advertising social distancing is the best thing we can do for our people,” Young said. “Early on we were diverting tourism funds … (for advertising). At our board meeting last week, the board freed up reserve funds to combat the virus. Now we are starting a more robust ad campaign. You should be hearing and seeing these ads in the days ahead. More steps will be taken as necessary, in accordance with VDH and VDEM recommendations.”
More cases have been reported in Southwest Virginia. The New River Health District confirmed Sunday evening that two Giles County residents had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Both people were self-isolating at home and health department staff were conducting an investigation for contacts the two residents may have had with the public.
New River Health District Director Dr. Noelle Bissell said in a press release, “Now that we are almost a month into this public health emergency, COVID- 19 has spread to every health district, and nearly every corner of Virginia. Each one of us must do everything we can to limit the further spread of illness.”
No additional information about the Giles County patients was released.
Three confirmed cases were reported Monday in Wythe County, Va., according to the Virginia Department of Health.
In southern West Virginia’s counties, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continued to climb as well.
The new COVID-19 case in Mercer County was reported the evening of April 3, bringing the total of confirmed cases to four, according to an email to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph from Matthew Bragg, a representative of the Mercer County Health Department.
Mercer County has had a total of four confirmed cases, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
The new case was travel related, and all people who had contact with this person have been contacted and quarantined, Bragg said.
Two of Mercer County’s cases were out of quarantine after not showing fever or other symptoms for at least three consecutive days.
Another pair of new cases were reported Sunday in McDowell County. The county’s first case of coronavirus was confirmed about noon Sunday, and its second case was confirmed about 7:30 p.m. that same day.
In both cases, the person was doing well and being quarantined at home with their families, according to statements issued by the McDowell County Health Department. Health officials also believed that both people were exposed to the virus while traveling.
Individuals in McDowell County who are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 can call the Tug River Health Association’s hotline at 304-448-2300 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. This line is being operated by a nurse who will ask screening questions to determine if a person needs testing. People may also contact Welch Community Hospital anytime at 304-436-8461 to inquire about the possibility of being tested.
“If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 and inform the dispatcher that you have symptoms of COVID-19,” county health officials said.
In West Virginia, the state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reported Monday that the state had seen four deaths from coronavirus. There were a total of 345 confirmed cases. About 9,940 laboratory results had been reported to the DHHR.
The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday that 24,521 people had been tested. There were a total of 2,875 cases, 497 hospitalizations and 54 deaths.