By CHARLES OWENS
and CHARLES BOOTHE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD — Two more area residents have died as a result of COVID-19, one from Tazewell County and one from Mercer County.
The Virginia Department of Health reported Tazewell County’s first COVID-19 related death Wednesday morning.
“We regret to announce that we have experienced our first COVID-19-related fatality in Tazewell County," Sue Cantrell, M.D., director of the Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts, said. "On behalf of all of us at Virginia Department of Health, I extend sincere condolences to this person’s family.”
Cantrell said all residents of Virginia should take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, we’ve learned that those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19," Cantrell said. "Virginia Department of Health continues to urge all Virginians to do their part to control the spread of COVID-19 by staying home as much as possible, wearing a face covering, washing your hands and surfaces, staying physically distant, staying home when you’re sick and avoiding crowds and any close contact with anyone not in your household. These recommendations apply to everyone, everywhere, all the time.”
Cantrell said the health department reports COVID-19-related fatalities when the Virginia Department of Health is notified of the death. To protect privacy, she said no other details will be released.
The health department also reported another virus-related hospitalization for Tazewell County. Over the past month, 12 people have been hospitalized in Tazewell County as a result of coronavirus.
Tazewell County is now reporting 178 virus cases. That’s up from 175 on Tuesday.
“We were saddened to hear of our first COVID-19 related death in Tazewell County,” said Charlie Stacy, chair of the county Board of Supervisors. “It is my understanding that this death was an older person in our county and that just reinforces the preventive measures we have recommended. This virus is more fatal and more difficult to treat in the older population.”
Stacy said the numbers recently seem to indicate Tazewell County has been experiencing “its turn” with the COVID-19 pandemic as the virus has made its way through the community.
“Hopefully, we have passed our peak and the numbers will continue to decline and we will see no more deaths,” he said. “Only through due diligence of our people by wearing their masks, washing their hands and following all the CDC guidelines we have shared will we make it to the other side of this peak in cases.”
In West Virginia, the Department of Health and Human Resources reported the 22nd COVID-19 death for Mercer County, and once again it is from the Princeton Health Care Center.
That means 22 residents from the Princeton-based nursing home have now died as a result of COVID-19.
The 22nd death is a 72-year old female from Mercer County, according to Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary.
“We are deeply saddened by this news, a loss to both the family and our state,” Crouch said.
COVID-19 cases in Mercer County continue to increase. The DHHR reported seven new virus cases Wednesday morning, bringing the county’s cumulative total to date to 283. That’s up from 276 on Tuesday.
This story will be updated as soon as additional details become available.
— Contact Charles Owens at email@example.com