Virginia reports first death from coronavirus, 45 cases reported statewide

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Updated: Mar. 15, 2020 at 9:37 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT/AP) - Virginia health officials on Saturday reported the state’s first death from the coronavirus, a man in his 70s who died of respiratory failure after acquiring the virus through an unknown source.

In a news release, the Virginia Department of Health and the Peninsula Health District reported the death of the man, who had been hospitalized.

“On behalf of the entire Commonwealth, we express our deepest sympathy for the family and loved ones of the patient who died, as well as the families of everyone who has been affected by this outbreak,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “The health of our residents and the community is our top priority, and we will continue working together to care for the patients, protect the safety of health care workers, and protect the people in our Commonwealth.”

The case was recorded by VDH when it was first identified.

U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman says the death occurred in James City County.

On Sunday, Governor Northam said the total cases in the state had risen to 45. He will hold a press conference on the outbreak at 3 p.m. - NBC12 will carry it live on our digital platforms.

Officials say they are reaching out to all identified contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus and are giving them instructions on how to protect themselves and others.

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

  • 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.

Click here, for the full press release.

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