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TAZEWELL, Va. — Tazewell County Western District Supervisor Travis Hackworth had no idea he had contracted the coronavirus.

But when his son woke up recently with a fever, he knew it would be good idea for the family to be tested, just in case.

His son and the rest of the family tested negative, but Hackworth was a positive, which prompted the postponement of a board of supervisors meeting from July 7 to July 21.

“The only symptoms I have had has been some backaches and I have a little bit of a cough and a little congestion.” he said, but no fever or shortness of breath.

Some of his family members also have some of those symptoms, but all tested negative, he added.

“They have quarantined us all,” he said, adding that they were all told to basically “act like we have it.”

Hackworth, of Richlands, said he does not know for sure how he contracted the virus and when the contact tracing was done no one he had been in contact with had been sick.

Although he had counseled a man at church who had been sick, “it was after the fact” because the man had been sick for couple of weeks before, but still could possibly have had it because he had not been tested.

“He was fine, but he may have been contagious,” Hackworth said.

As far as the lack of any serious or routine symptoms usually associated with the virus, like a fever and shortness of breath, he said he was told it may just be a milder strain.

“They have said in a lot of cases they are seeing a milder mutated strain of the original virus,” he said, adding that he hopes people who have it, even if they don’t know it, will build up antibodies and in immunity.

Hackworth said he and his family are not going anywhere until they are released from quarantine next week, other than taking walks around their property.

He owns Twin Enterprises Inc. and other businesses, including the Huddle House restaurant in Claypool Hill, and when word got around he had the virus some customers expressed concern.

“I had not been inside the restaurant for awhile,” he said, but to give customers peace of mind he closed the restaurant for a day and brought in a crew that uses disinfectants proven to kill the virus.

“It was just an extra precaution,” he said, to put customers at ease.

Hackworth said he thinks people should follow guidelines.

“The big thing I encourage everyone to do is to practice social distancing, and if they can’t, wear a mask,” he said, adding that wearing a mask does not necessarily protect you from getting the virus, but it protects other people from you.

Tazewell County as well as other counties in Southwest Virginia have seen a surge in new cases recently.

Within the last two weeks, Tazewell County’s positive case number has jumped from 11 to 23 on Wednesday. Buchanan County now stands at 36, up three from Tuesday. Giles County is up to 18 now and Bland County remains at 2.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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