Virginia Department of Health officials on Saturday reported the first coronavirus death as one from James City County.
The patient, a man in his 70s, acquired COVID-19 through an unknown source. The cause of death was respiratory failure as a result of COVID-19, according to VDH.
The Peninsula Health District has activated its incident management team and is deploying all necessary resources in order to contain this outbreak. Public Health officials are reaching out to all identified contacts of COVID-19 cases.
The district serves Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, James City County and York County — and James City County has the only positive coronavirus cases in the district.
VDH on Saturday reported eight confirmed cases of coronavirus in James City County, the second highest in the state — Fairfax County has 10.
The Peninsula Health District has been working very closely to identify people who have been in potential contact with people known to have tested positive for coronavirus. They are interviewing affected people and giving instructions on how to protect themselves and others.
“On behalf of the entire Commonwealth, we express our deepest sympathy for the family and loved ones of the patient who died, as well as the families of everyone who has been affected by this outbreak,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver.
This case was recorded by VDH when it was first identified.
Gov. Ralph Northam said this is a “public health crisis – we must all treat it as such.”
“Pam and I were deeply saddened to learn that a Virginian has died from COVID-19, and we grieve for everyone this virus has touched around the world,” Northam said. “Again, I urge Virginians: take this seriously. Take basic health precautions, avoid large gatherings, telework if possible, and stay home if you are sick. That will stop the virus from spreading. It is all of our responsibility, yours and mine, to keep each other safe and healthy.”
Northam will meet with Peninsula Health District officials Sunday.
To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, 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.