The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District announced today its first case of COVID-19 illness in a resident of the district. The patient is a male in his 40s. The patient is hospitalized, following exposure to a known positive COVID-19 case elsewhere in Virginia. To protect patient privacy, no further information will be provided. The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District is composed of two jurisdictions the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County.
“The Virginia Department of Health and our healthcare partners are working day and night to identify cases of COVID-19 in our communities and across the Commonwealth,” said Scott Spillmann, M.D., M.P.H., director, Pittsylvania-Danville Health District. “With each confirmed case, we identify potential contacts, assess their risk of exposure and recommend appropriate public health and medical measures.”
“As we continue to see new cases of COVID-19 in central and western Virginia, it is critical that people follow the public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” said Dr. Spillmann. “Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We all have a duty, and an opportunity, to do everything we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones and those around us.”
Upon hearing this news, Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones said he was saddened, but not surprised.
“We knew it was just a matter of time before there would be a confirmed case in our area,” Mayor Jones said. “This brings home the importance of practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, and disinfecting high traffic areas.”
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms, which include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms most often appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In a small number of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, heart or lung disease or compromised immune systems.
To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:
· 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;
· If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor;
· Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public; and
· Avoid crowds of more than 10 people.