Staff Report —
The Eastern Shore Health District has confirmed 13 cases of COVID-19 on the Shore. The Virginia Department of Health website shows 11 cases in Accomack County and two in Northampton.
According to a Monday afternoon press release, the district was unable to identify specific causes related to travel or close contact with a known infected individual for some of these cases, confirming community transmission of the virus. The health department continues to conduct surveillance and investigation of any future potential cases.
“We need to place less focus on the overall number of cases and operate under the assumption there are many more infected individuals than have been identified through testing,” said health district Chief Operating Officer Jon Richardson.
The COVID-19 virus is circulating in Eastern Shore communities, and the number of infected people is increasing rapidly, spreading person to person, according to the release. “Every time we leave our home we run an increasing risk of COVID-19 infection,” the press release disclosed. “It is imperative that we obey Governor Northam’s STAY AT HOME Order. We must comply with the Governor’s Order to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. Lives are at stake. Stay home, stay safe, stop the spread!”
Most patients with COVID-19 have only mild to moderate symptoms, the release advised, but in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe symptoms, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced by infected people.
To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:
•Stay home when you are sick. If you become sick and have difficulty breathing, seek medical care quickly.
•Practice social distancing. Maintain at least 6 feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public.
•Wear a cloth mask covering your mouth and nose when out in public.
•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.
This is a rapidly changing situation, and information is being shared as it becomes available on the following websites: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.
Residents should call 757-787-5880 with questions about the novel coronavirus situation.