Virus cases surge in region; 62 more in county, city since Thursday
COVID-19 cases “have been increasing steadily over the last four weeks” in Wise, Lee and Scott counties along with Norton, the Virginia Department of Health announced late Friday morning.
Last week, the LENOWISCO Health District surpassed 1,300 virus cases since the pandemic began in early spring, according to a health department press release. The district has seen 27 virus outbreaks, 103 COVID-related hospitalization and 23 COVID-related deaths.
COUNTY, CITY NUMBERS
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wise County increased by 59 between Thursday and yesterday.
The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday morning that the county’s total confirmed cases in the months since the pandemic began had risen to 609, as compared to 550 Thursday.
The number of deaths in the county increased by one to 10.
Meanwhile, the health department’s cumulative positive case count for Norton increased by three to 49.
Statewide, the total number of confirmed cases across several months rose from 159,060 Thursday to 162,427 Monday, an increase of 3,367. The number of “probable” cases rose from 11,044 Thursday to 11,848 Monday, an increase of 804.
During the same period, the number of confirmed deaths in Virginia increased by 57 to 3,331. The number of probable COVID-19 deaths remained at 250.
To look at the health department’s data, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov and go to the COVID-19 Data and Resources section.
“Simple and effective personal precautions are the key to limiting the spread of this disease,” said Dr. Sue Cantrell, director of the LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau Health Districts. “Remember and practice the three Ws: Wear a mask, Watch your distance (six feet), Wash your hands. And keep in mind that your behavior can help protect yourself and others — or put you and them at increased risk. This is especially important for the elderly, or those with other medical complications or conditions. Please make the right choices to protect yourself and others, everywhere and all the time.”
The state health department reminds citizens that an executive order is in effect requiring people to wear cloth face coverings while they are in indoor public spaces.
“Cloth face coverings can help protect the people around you,” the department explains on its website. “Many people with COVID-19 have no signs or symptoms and can pass the virus to others without knowing it. When we talk, sneeze, or cough, tiny droplets that contain the virus can be carried into the air. Wearing a cloth face covering helps stop those droplets from going into the air or landing on surfaces.”
In other words, wearing a face mask is intended to protect not yourself, but those around you. Refusing to wear a face mask in a supermarket, convenience store, pharmacy or other indoor public setting means that you are putting those around you at greater risk.
Although the executive order has been in place for months, those traveling around Wise County and Norton continue to frequently encounter people who enter public indoor facilities without wearing a face covering. While most businesses have posted signs near entrances reminding patrons of the mask requirement, actual enforcement remains spotty at best.
VDH recommends the following precautions:
• Cover your mouth and nose with a face mask when around others outdoors in public places, or indoors if you are with people who are not members of your household; that is, people who do not live with you. Wear your mask properly; it should completely cover both the nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of your face and allow you to breathe comfortably.
• Maintain good physical distance between yourself and others: six feet or more, or 10 feet or more if singing, shouting or exercising.
• Stay home if you are sick, or have been with someone who is sick.
• Wash and disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently. Get a flu shot.
“We can still gather together with friends and family, socialize, exercise, worship and celebrate the holidays, if we commit to doing so safely,” said Dr. Cantrell. “It’s simple and easy to protect yourself, your loved ones and everyone around you.”
Anyone who is concerned about others not being required to wear a face mask indoors can file an online complaint by going to https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=Y4P9H7DTWA.
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