March 28, 2020

Media Contact: Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region,


(LEBANON, Virginia) – The Virginia Department of Health’s Cumberland Plateau Health District announced today its first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in residents of the district. The first patient is a male in his 40s, whose exposure is believed to be related to out of state travel. The second is a female in her 30s, who also had an out-of-state exposure. Both are Tazewell County residents. Both are self-isolating, to minimize the risk of further spread of illness.

“As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread throughout the Commonwealth, it’s now reached our area. This reminds us how very critical it is that people follow public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” said Sue Cantrell, M.D., director of the Cumberland Plateau and Lenowisco Health Districts. “Hygiene and social distancing are the most effective strategies in limiting the spread of COVID-19.”

People should avoid social gatherings of more than 10 individuals. If you are 65 years or older, or if you have a serious chronic medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, immune compromised), you should seriously consider staying at home. “We all have a responsibility and duty to take this seriously and do everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us,” said Dr. Cantrell.

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 shortness of breath. Some patients have reported a loss of taste and smell prior to falling ill. 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 respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

For more information, visit and

(NOTE: These cases are not yet reflected in the VDH website dashboard, which is updated daily with cases recorded by 5 p.m. the evening before.)