Virginia Beach Health Department reports first coronavirus-related death

Posted at 3:58 PM, Mar 23, 2020

A hospitalized patient who tested positive for coronavirus has died, the Virginia Beach Health Department announced Monday.

This is the first coronavirus-related death in the district.

Health officials say the patient was a man in his 70s who had underlying health conditions. His cause of death was acute respiratory failure.

The health department has initiated a contact investigation, and at this time it is early in the process to identify the source of transmission.

“It is a sad day in our city after learning a Virginia Beach resident has died of the virus. Our hearts go out to his family and friends,” said Virginia Beach Health Director Dr. Demetria Lindsay. “Elderly individuals and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, including death. These at-risk individuals are strongly advised to take steps to minimize contact with others who are ill, practice social distancing, and stay at home as much as possible.”

This is the 18th positive case of COVID-19 in Virginia Beach. Health officials are concerned that several recent cases may represent the first indications of potential community transmission, the extent of which, would be determined by the outcome of the investigation.

“We must take action now. The choices of each of us affects our community. Public health practices by everyone are critical to slow and blunt the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Lindsay.

The Regional Call Center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For COVID-19 questions, call 757-683-2745.

To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

  • Elderly and those at-risk should stay at home as much as possible; if not possible, avoid large gatherings
  • Practice social distancing of 6 feet or more.
  • 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.
  • Limit travel as much as possible.

This new case will be included in the statewide case count tomorrow at noon on the Virginia Department of Health's website.

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