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‘It was a matter of time’

South Boston News / March 25, 2020
The spread of the coronavirus is showing up with rising fury in Southside Virginia, with the first death in the area attributed to the disease.

At last report on Wednesday, Mecklenburg had three confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the county — including an admitted hospital patient, who is receiving treatment at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill.

In Halifax County, a Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital employee in his 30s is isolating at home after testing positive for the coronavirus. Meantime, Danville's hospital is treating a patient, and a Gretna man has died in North Carolina after contracting C0VID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

As the pandemic continues its silent spread, all signs locally point to a worsening situation before relief arrives.

On Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Health reported 391 cases in the state, up from 290 the day before. The updated reporting includes a new case in Mecklenburg County, bringing the total to three.

At least 10 deaths in Virginia have been attributed to the coronavirus. That tally does not include a Gretna man, Landon Spradlin, 66, who died in Concord, N.C. after testing positive for COVID-19.

Spradlin, a well-known blues musician in the area, died of double pneumonia that came on as he and his wife were returning from a trip to New Orleans, reported the Danville Register & Bee. Spradlin was unable to make it home to Gretna because of his rapidly worsening condition and he was hospitalized in Concord, where he died early Wednesday morning.

Health department officials and medical providers are continuing to urge people not to engage in unneeded contacts and to practice social distancing.

After the first reported case in Danville, the city's mayor, Alonzo Jones, said, “We knew it was just a matter of time before there would be a confirmed case in our area. This brings home the importance of practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, and disinfecting high traffic areas.”

The VDH 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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