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TAZEWELL, Va. — Tazewell County now has had 80 confirmed COVID-19 positive tests with four hospitalizations, prompting concern among county officials.

“We have a growing concern about the acceleration of the number of COVID-19 cases in Tazewell County,” County Administrator Eric Young said Wednesday. “We are in daily contact with the Virginia Department of Health. As of 5 p.m. on July 28 we have 36 active cases. We have had our first three hospitalizations in the past week.”

Young said these newest cases may not be travel related, as was the case before in other positives.

“This recent surge appears to be the result of community spread and not travel outside the county,” he said. “This is very concerning due to our limited ability to control community spread. Also, these recent cases are spread across the county and are not concentrated in any particular district.”

Young said residents anywhere in the county could “assume anyone may carry the virus.”

That’s why, he said, everyone should wear a mask, wash hands, and keep social distance.

“The board (of supervisors) is briefed daily on the case count and hospitalization count,” he said. “They will evaluate the overall COVID situation at the August 4 meeting and decide whether any additional local action is necessary.”

Cumberland Plateau Health District Director Dr. Sue Cantrell said Wednesday that specific information on cases is not released.

“VDH publishes data on cases, hospitalizations and deaths by health district and locality, and on outbreaks by health district and location category,” she said. “Due to privacy legislation and policy requirements, VDH is not permitted to disclose details of cases, outbreaks, individuals or specific locations.”

That is different from West Virginia, which releases many locations, including individual churches and nursing homes that see outbreaks as well as the age and gender of victims.

“COVID-19 has been widespread across Virginia since March,” Cantrell said. “Personal behavior is the key to protection, not knowledge of case details.”

Buchanan County has seen 67 positive cases and two hospitalizations while Giles County has had 20 cases and one hospitalization.

Bland County has had seven positive cases.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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