UPDATE: Western Tidewater Health District reports fourth case

Published 7:59 pm Thursday, March 26, 2020

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The Western Tidewater Health District reported its fourth case on Thursday.

The case is in a man who is originally from Southampton County but was living at an assisted living facility in Northampton County, North Carolina, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Health.

The man is in his 60s and was “transported to a local hospital for an unrelated medical emergency,” the VDH news release stated.

Multiple VDH officials declined to release what hospital was involved, or even what locality or state that hospital is in. However, Emma Swann, a spokeswoman for Bon Secours Health System, confirmed late Thursday that Bon Secours Southampton Memorial Hospital has cared for a patient who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“We follow safety protocols each and every time we care for a patient,” Swann stated in an email. “We follow guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state and local departments of health to minimize exposure to other patients and our associates.

“We have followed all CDC cleaning protocols, and Southampton Memorial Hospital remains a safe place to work and to seek care.”

Bernard Hill Jr., public information officer for the Virginia Department of Health, said he did not know how long the man had been living at the facility in North Carolina.

The Western Tidewater Health District is working a contact investigation in cooperation with the Northampton County Health Department, the news release stated. Those with contact exposures will be notified and advised of precautions they should take.

Will Drewery, of the Western Tidewater Health Department, stated by phone on Thursday that some of the man’s contacts “may” live in Southampton County, since the man is from there.

“If they are contacts, they will be notified,” Drewery said.

Dr. Todd Wagner, director of the Western Tidewater Health District, stated in the press release, “This case is a great example of the collaborative health effort that occurs when we have patients that cross state borders.”

Elsewhere in the Western Tidewater Health District, one patient in Suffolk and two in Isle of Wight County have also tested positive.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia rose to 460, according to Thursday’s update from the Virginia Department of Health.

That’s a 17-percent increase from Wednesday’s total of 390.

There have been 6,189 people tested, the VDH said, a 15-percent increase from Wednesday’s update. The VDH is also reporting 65 hospitalizations and 13 deaths.

The Virginia Department of Health is also now reporting cases by age group and gender. So far in Virginia, about 52 percent of cases have been in males, with 46 percent in females. In a small number of cases, the gender is not reported.

As would be expected due to the virus generally having more serious effects on older people, Virginians in the 50 to 59 and 60 to 69 age groups account for nearly 37 percent of all cases. All of those over 50 account for more than 52 percent.

TRACY AGNEW is the editor of The Suffolk News-Herald. Contact her at tracy.agnew@suffolknewsherald.com.