March 30, 2020
Media Contact: Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, firstname.lastname@example.org or Breanne Forbes Hubbard, population health manager, Mount Rogers Health District, email@example.com
MOUNT ROGERS HEALTH DISTRICT CONFIRMS NEW CASE OF COVID-19
(MARION, Virginia) – The Virginia Department of Health’s Mount Rogers Health District announced a new confirmed case of COVID-19 in Smyth County. The case is an employee of the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute. The SWVMHI and Virginia Department of Health have been working closely together to ensure that employees and patients that are close contacts to the case have been notified and provided guidance on isolation and quarantine by the Mount Rogers Health District.
“We continue to see new cases of COVID-19 throughout the Commonwealth, and it’s now in our area. This reminds us how very critical it is that people follow public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” said Karen Shelton, M.D., director of the Mount Rogers Health District. “Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies in limiting the spread of COVID-19, and 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 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. Shelton.
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. 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. “If someone feels they need to be tested for COVID-19, it is critical that they call their health care provider before arriving to ensure that the appropriate protection is used,” urged Dr. Shelton.
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.