February 6, 2021
Media Contact: Larry Hill, Eastern Region PIO, email@example.com
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CLOSES A PORTION OF THE LYNNHAVEN RIVER TO SHELLFISH HARVESTING
(RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health announced today that a portion of the Lynnhaven River is closed to shellfish harvesting due to a sewage release. Because these waters can be contaminated with pollutants such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses, shellfish taken from the area affected by the emergency closure are currently unacceptable for consumption. The temporary emergency closure is set to be effective from February 6, 2021, through March 7, 2021. However, the Shellfish Safety Division will be conducting water quality monitoring and will reopen earlier if it is safe to do so.
VDH is recommending using caution near creeks, inlets, or canals where there is low flushing of water and along shorelines and beaches in the area impacted by the sewage release.
Ingesting shellfish taken from the closed areas at this time could cause gastrointestinal illnesses including norovirus, hepatitis A and shigellosis. In addition, the Virginia Department of Health urges the public to minimize exposure to the water by rinsing or washing items that come into contact with the water, including fishing gear, life vests, ropes and paddles. If you accidentally ingest the water, health officials recommend drinking plenty of fresh water.
A map of the affected area is posted on the Division of Shellfish Safety’s home page at www.vdh.virginia.gov/Shellfish/. The affected shellfish are filter-feeding bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.
For more information on shellfish closures, see the frequently asked questions on shellfish condemnations at www.vdh.virginia.gov/EnvironmentalHealth/Shellfish/faq/.