(MARTINSVILLE, Virginia) — The Virginia Department of Health’s West Piedmont Health District has confirmed that two residents of Patrick County who were ill with COVID-19 have died. VDH will disclose no further information about the patients in order to protect privacy and out of respect for the departed and their families.

“Sadly, we have experienced the first COVID-19-related fatalities among residents of Patrick County,” said Kerry Gateley, M.D., director of the West Piedmont Health District. “On behalf of all of us at VDH, I extend sincere condolences to these persons’ friends and loved ones.”

“Unfortunately, we’ve learned that those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19,” said Dr. Gateley. “Everyone, especially at-risk individuals, are strongly advised to take steps to minimize contact with others who are ill, practice social distancing and stay at home as much as possible.”

In some patients, especially those at-risk patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, heart or lung disease or compromised immune systems.

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:

  • Stay home as much as possible, except for essential travel;
  • If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;
  • 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; and
  • Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 50 people.

These data are not yet displayed on VDH’s COVID-19 dashboard at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/. The website is updated daily. For more information on COVID-19 in Virginia, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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