As of earlier this week, the number of deaths nationally is over 87,595 and rising, with over 1.4 million cases. In Virginia, there are 29,683 cases, 3,724 hospitalizations and 1002 deaths. “In Three Rivers, we have 367 cases with 6 deaths. New cases in the communities, not counting outbreaks, appear at the rate of several a day,” said Dr. Richard Williams, Three Rivers Health District director. “Our hospital capacity continues to be in good shape across the state, about 21% of ventilators are currently in use and the number of patients hospitalized with positive COVID 19 tests are stable. However, the virus is still present in these communities, the majority of people remain susceptible to infection, and the risk of transmission remains very real.”
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe illness. The virus continues to display a wide range of pathologic effects. This week there was a rise of a syndrome in young people now known as “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID 19.” The CDC published a Health Alert Network notification on this syndrome. This syndrome was first described in late April in the United Kingdom, in early May in New York, and in other countries as well.
In Three Rivers, they are coordinating a community-testing event in Middlesex County with the Virginia Air National Guard, which they hope to hold in June. They plan to follow this up with a testing event on the Northern Neck. This testing effort will be conducted in conjunction with robust case investigation, isolation and quarantine efforts. Those containment activities will be their primary line of defense and protection against this disease. Going forward, they hope to coordinate regular regional testing events to help people understand and track the level of disease in the communities as everyone go through the process of re-opening businesses.
Three Rivers will continue working closely with local government officials to inform them of viral transmission levels in their communities as Phase 1 of re-opening begins. Dr. Williams advises that during Phase 1 everyone continues social distancing measures, wear cloth face coverings when they go out in public, continue washing their hands, sanitizing surfaces, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others, and avoiding large groups to avoid a surge in cases.
“Masking in public will be particularly important to prevent the spread of this virus from people with no symptoms,” he said. “It is important to realize that by wearing a face covering, we are protecting all those around us. This disease is a threat to all of us, including our children and grandchildren.”
Remember, if you are sick at all, even if your symptoms do not feel like COVID 19, stay at home and consult your health care provider. The virus can masquerade as many other diseases, and can fool us all. Difficulty breathing remains a sign of possible serious disease; if this develops, seek help very quickly.
Three Rivers Health District has activated a public information line, 804-313-1638, for questions from residents about the novel coronavirus situation. Please consult www.vdh.virgina.gov/coronavirus for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia.