Buchanan County, Va.

Graphic courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health 

By CHARLES OWENS

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

GRUNDY, Va. — The Virginia Department of Health confirmed the first COVID-19 death Tuesday in Buchanan County.

Dr. Sue Cantrell, Health Director, Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts, said a resident of Buchanan County has died as a result of COVID-19.

"We regret to report the first death related to COVID in a resident of Buchanan County," Cantrell said in an email to the Daily Telegraph.

Cantrell said to protect patient confidentiality, no further information about the patient will be provided.

This is the first COVID-19 related death to be reported in Buchanan County. The county has seen a cumulative total of 80 virus cases to date with four hospitalizations. Data regarding active cases and recoveries is not currently provided by the Virginia Department of Health.

Early in the pandemic, Buchanan County was identified as an outbreak site after a number of students and staff members at a private school in Grundy tested positive for the virus.

But the number of cases in Buchanan County, and other nearby Southwest Virginia counties, have grown exponentially ever since.

Cantrell said there are currently nine active COVID-19 outbreak investigations within the Cumberland Plateau Health District. The health district is comprised of Tazewell, Buchanan, Russell and Dickenson counties.

Neighboring Tazewell County is now up to 122 virus cases and has reported eight hospitalizations over the past month.

Bland County is now up to 22 virus cases, but no hospitalizations or deaths have been reported in Bland.

Russell County, which neighbors Tazewell County, is now reporting two COVID-19 related deaths, 12 hospitalizations and 130 cases.

Giles County also reported two new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. Two virus-related hospitalizations also have been reported in Giles.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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