By CHARLES OWENS

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Another nursing home resident in Mercer County has tested positive for COVID-19.

The news was confirmed Tuesday by the Princeton Health Care Center. Two residents of that health care center have now tested positive for the virus.

In a posting on the Princeton Health Care Center's Facebook page, administrator Stefanie Compton said two residents have now tested positive for the virus. Earlier in the pandemic, three staff members also tested positive COVID-19. Two have fully recovered, while one continues to recover at home.

Another 12 individuals are being closely monitored due to respiratory related symptoms, the statement said.

"We continue to work collaboratively with local and state health officials," the statement said. "We are also working with The Center for Threat and Disease Preparedness and the regional health department officials to coordinate another mass testing of all of our current residents and staff. This round of mass testing is set to begin on July 22, 2020. We are in the process of individual notifications in regards to testing, etc."

The statement said visitation of residents at the health care center remains suspended until further notice and all new admissions have been stopped at this time.

"We continue to encourage window visits, the use of Skype video conferencing, phone calls and written communication to stay in touch with loved ones," the statement added.

The cumulative number of virus cases to date in Mercer County stood at 74 Tuesday evening.

In neighboring Virginia, new COVID-19 cases also were reported Tuesday in Tazewell and Bland counties.

Three new virus cases were reported in Tazewell County. The Virginia Department of Health also is reporting one recent virus-related hospitalization in Tazewell County.

In late March, when the pandemic was just beginning, Tazewell County had only three cases of the virus. Now the cumulative total of coronavirus cases to date in Tazewell County stands at 48. Most of the virus cases reported in Tazewell County have occurred over the last four weeks.

In a posting on Tazewell County's official Facebook page, a statement indicated that the Commonwealth does not report active or recovered cases. The statement said that county officials understand that some citizens are frustrated by the fact that the public is not being informed about active and recovered cases. The statement recommended for concerned citizens to contact the office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

County Administrator Eric Young told the Daily Telegraph Monday that many of the new cases in the county appear to be connected to travel to virus hot spot locations.

"Our local department of health is working diligently to identify any specific, common activities which may be contributing to the spread,” Young said in the earlier statement. “Right now, the activities primarily responsible for the spread are travel to popular vacation destinations outside the county. I encourage our residents not to travel to those ‘hot spots,’ and if you do travel please wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and use social distancing strategies to avoid contracting the disease.”

The Virginia Department of Health also reported two new virus cases Tuesday in Bland County, which brings the county's cumulative total of virus cases to date to seven.

There were no changes Tuesday in McDowell, Monroe or Giles counties. McDowell County is still reporting a cumulative total of 13 cases to date with three active or new infections. Monroe County is still reporting 16 cases to date, of which five are considered active. Giles County is still reporting a cumulative total of 18 cases with one virus-related hospitalization.

Buchanan County was reporting a cumulative total of 54 virus cases Tuesday, along with two-virus related hospitalizations.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, according to the Associated Press. However, for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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