Third COVID-19 case reported in far Southwest Virginia

Mike Still • Mar 25, 2020 at 6:10 PM

ABINGDON — Washington County health officials have reported that county’s first confirmed COVID-19 case, the third in far Southwest Virginia.

Mount Rogers Health District officials said Wednesday that the infected person, a Washington County resident in their 60s, contracted the infection during international travel. The person is self-isolating and health district officials said there was no concern about community contacts.

“We continue to see new cases of COVID-19 throughout the commonwealth, and now it’s in our area,” Mount Rogers Health District Director Dr. Karen Shelton said Wednesday. “This reminds us how very critical it is that people follow public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene.”

Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday in Lee County, and officials of Heritage Hall Nursing Home in Big Stone Gap confirmed that a speech therapist visiting that facility reported testing positive for COVID-19 after the visit. Dr. Sue Cantrell, director of the LENOWISCO Health District — which covers Norton and Lee, Wise and Scott counties, including Heritage Hall — said Tuesday that there are no reported COVID-19 cases in Wise County.

“People should avoid social gatherings of more than 10 individuals,” Shelton said. People with serious chronic medical conditions including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or compromised immune systems should consider staying at home, she said.

“We all have a responsibility and duty to take this seriously and do everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us,” Shelton said.

Cantrell and Shelton each recommended:

— Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available

— Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

— Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing

— Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces

— Staying home when sick

— Avoiding contact with sick people

— If experiencing symptoms, call your doctor

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