COVID-19 in Virginia ...

Graphic courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health.

By CHARLES OWENS

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLAND, Va. — Health officials Wednesday confirmed Bland County’s first COVID-19 case, and Mercer County’s 15th coronavirus infection.

The Virginia Department of Health’s Mount Rogers Health District announced the first case Wednesday of COVID-19 in Bland County. The health department said close contacts of the individual who contracted the virus have been informed and guidance for isolation is being provided by the health district.

“We now have COVID-19 cases throughout our entire district and our entire region,” Karen Shelton, M.D., director of the Mount Rogers Health District, said. “There are no zero-risk environments, but we encourage our community to reduce the risk by strategies like physical distancing, wearing a mask, hand washing, and staying home when sick.”

Shelton said everyone needs to take the pandemic seriously.

“We all have a responsibility and duty to take this seriously and do everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us,” Shelton said. “While many people experience mild to moderate symptoms, almost all deaths in our district have been from vulnerable older adults. Please follow public health recommendations to protect these individuals.”

Shelton said testing is being provided at the Bland Medical Clinic by appointment. She said those wishing to be tested for the virus are asked to call 276-688-4331. Testing is also available through some local health systems and health providers.

The Mercer County Health Department in neighboring West Virginia also confirmed a new COVID-19 case Wednesday evening.

Matthew Bragg, sanitarian for the Mercer County Health Department, said the new case — Mercer County’s 15th infection — involves domestic travel.

Bragg said the individual who contracted the virus has been isolated, and that contact tracing — a procedure used to locate any individuals who may have had direct contact with this individual — has been completed.

Of the 15 virus cases in Mercer County, 13 involve individuals who have already recovered from the virus and are now out of isolation. Bragg said two people remain in isolation in Mercer County.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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