March 21, 2020

Media Contact: Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, robert.parker@vdh.virginia.gov


(JONESVILLE, Virginia) — The Virginia Department of Health’s LENOWISCO Health District (LHD) announced today two COVID-19 cases in Lee County. These are the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in residents of the district. The individuals are a male and female in their 50s; the second case is a household contact of the first. They have had no contacts with community since prior to the onset of symptoms in the first case, and have maintained strict isolation, following public health guidance, since symptom onset. No at-risk community contacts have occurred.

“As we see new cases of COVID-19 throughout the Commonwealth and going forward in our communities, it is critical that people follow the public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” said Sue Cantrell, M.D., director, LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau Health Districts. “Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies in lessening the impact of this pandemic.”

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 condition (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, immune compromise, at any age), you should stay at home. “We all have a responsibility and duty to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our community from this novel coronavirus,” 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 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 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.

As the COVID-19 outbreak expands, recommendations may change. LHD is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide the best possible guidance for the community.

For general questions about COVID-19, community members may call the 877-ASK-VDH3 Hotline. For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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