Mount Rogers Health District Now Has 4 COVID-19 Deaths; Community Transmission is Widespread

April 13, 2020

Media Contacts: Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, or Breanne Forbes Hubbard, population health manager,, 276-759-8297

Mount Rogers Health District Now Has 4 COVID-19 Deaths; Community Transmission is Widespread

(MARION, Virginia) – Mount Rogers Health District announces three deaths over the past week, bringing the total to four for the Mount Rogers Health District. “We are deeply saddened by these tragic losses and send our condolences to the families,” said Karen Shelton MD, Director, Mount Rogers Health District. No further information will be given out of respect for the privacy of the families.

The entire state of Virginia, including the Mount Rogers Health District, is experiencing widespread community transmission of COVID-19. Specifically, there is community transmission in Washington, Wythe, and Smyth counties. Residents should assume the risk of exposure is everywhere and behave accordingly, regardless of the details of specific numbers and locations of cases. The Mount Rogers Health District is no longer providing details of individual case updates.

More importantly, everyone should understand that staying safe depends on your individual behavior. The most effective ways to protect yourself and those around you, and limiting the spread of illness, are personal precautions. This is how we all work together, to save lives.

  • 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 10 people.

“Community transmission indicates that you can get COVID-19 from anywhere within the community; you don’t have to travel or know a person with the disease in order to get it. This means everyone should stay home and only go out for essential needs as rarely as possible,” insists Dr. Shelton. “Southwest Virginia is not immune to COVID-19. If you have to go out for critical things like grocery shopping or medical care, wear a cloth face covering and stay at least six feet away from others. Wash your hands and clean surfaces often. These personal precautions apply to all of us – stay home!”

For the most up to date information on COVID-19 in Virginia, visit