COVID-19 graph ....

Graphic courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health

By CHARLES OWENS

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — Although more than two months have passed since the onset of the pandemic, new coronavirus cases continue to be reported in the region.

The two newest cases for the area were confirmed over the weekend in Tazewell County by the Virginia Department of Health.

The new cases also were confirmed Monday by Tazewell County Administrator Eric Young.

"Cases eight and nine were confirmed over the weekend," Young said. "They are family members of case number seven, and they reside in the same house."

Young said case number seven, which was confirmed last week in Tazewell County, may have contracted the virus through community spread.

Young said he isn't surprised to see new COVID-19 cases in Tazewell County, particularly now that businesses are reopening in both Virginia and West Virginia. Because Tazewell County is a border community, many residents from Tazewell County also travel and shop in neighboring West Virginia.

"I expected an uptick in cases once people started to open up," Young said. "West Virginia and Tennessee are open up."

While this brings Tazewell County’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to nine, it should be noted that the six original cases in Tazewell County involve individuals who have already recovered from the virus and are now out of quarantine.

The news is better in neighboring Mercer County, where all 181 people identified through contact tracing have now been released from isolation, according to Matthew Bragg, sanitarian for the Mercer County Health Department.

All 181 people had at one point came into contact with one of the 13 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Mercer County.

Of those 13 coronavirus patients, Bragg said as of Monday only one person remains in quarantine. The other 12 have recovered from the virus and are now out isolation.

The health department also released new testing statistics Monday, revealing that 1040 people have been tested to date for COVID-19 at Princeton Community Hospital, along with another 629 people who have been tested by the Bluestone Health Association. Another 16 people have been tested at the Mercer County Health Department and 404 people were tested over a two-day period in May at Bluefield State College

Of those 2,089 people who were tested, only 13 were confirmed to have the virus.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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