NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has reported coronavirus deaths of two additional Peninsula residents on Wednesday.
Officials said both recently became ill and were admitted to a local hospital where they died. One patient was a female in her 80s and the other was a female in her 60s.
Both tests came back positive for the COVID-19 virus, according to health officials.
The women's causes of death were respiratory failures.
How the patients acquired coronavirus is unknown. The Peninsula Health District has launched an investigation to identify their whereabouts and close contacts.
On Wednesday Gov. Northam said there were two deaths overnight and three more Wednesday morning, bringing Virginia's number of COVID-19 deaths to 12 at the time of his announcement.
Less than an hour later, CBS 6 in Richmond confirmed the death of a third patient at Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico, bringing the statewide death toll to 13.
“We at VDH are so sorry to hear of the loss of more Peninsula residents. I want to express our sadness and let the families and friends of the patients know we are thinking about them during this difficult time,” said Peninsula Acting Health Director Dr. Steve Julian. “I want to remind our community about how important it is to follow the recommendations being provided to protect our elderly and those with underlying conditions. Everyone has a responsibility to protect each other.”
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 non-essential travel
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public.
- Avoid crowds of more than ten people.