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Halifax has first case of coronavirus, region sees first death

SoVaNow.com / March 26, 2020
The coronavirus’ relentless spread across Virginia shows no sign of letting up, with more cases being reported daily in the Southside area — including the first death of an area resident due to the disease.

On Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Health updated its tally of COVID-19 patients to show the biggest one-day jump since the Coronavirus revealed its presence in the state. Virginia had 391 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, up from 290 the day before.

Two weeks ago, there were only nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

The updated accounting includes the first Halifax man to test positive — a member of the medical staff at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital. The man is in his 30s and is isolating at home, according to the hospital and the Southside Health District.

Hospital and health district officials declined further comment on the case, citing the need to protect patient privacy. Through a media statement, Sentara HRH said it is working proactively to identify possible contacts that the man may have had with others “so appropriate action can be taken

“We are assessing potential exposures to our staff and are taking the appropriate precautions to test if necessary. We are doing all we can to prevent further spread by using best practices and protective equipment to keep our employees, physicians and the community safe,” the hospital stated.

Halifax had one confirmed case as of Wednesday, the City of Danville had two, and Mecklenburg County — where the first outbreak in Southside Virginia was reported on Friday, involving a man in his 50s — now has three people who have tested positive for the virus.

Meantime, a Gretna man died Wednesday in a North Carolina hospital after developing double pneumonia from the coronavirus as he was returning home with his wife from New Orleans.

Landon Spradlin, 66, died in a Concord, N.C. hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. Spradlin, a well-known blues musician in the area, first experienced symptoms this week as he and his wife, Jean, were driving in from New Orleans, the Danville Register & Bee reported Wednesday.

Spradlin experienced difficulty breathing and had to be hospitalized in Concord, where he died early Wednesday morning.

Virginia now has seen more than a dozen deaths from the virus, with most occurring in Northern Virginia, the Eastern Peninsula and the Richmond area. Three deaths have been tied to a nursing rehabilitation center in western Henrico County, Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center.

Canterbury officials say 14 residents have tested positive in the past 11 days, as the virus spreads through the highly vulnerable elderly population at the nursing rehabilitation home.

The Virginia Department of Health reminds the public that:

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

Stay home when you are sick.

Avoid contact with sick people.

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

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public.

Avoid crowds of more than ten people.

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