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COVID-19 cases grow to 5 in Charlotte County

A mid-day report from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to local government officials showed significant increases of COVID-19 cases in two area counties.

Prince Edward totals went from five cases as of Friday morning to nine cases of the coronavirus. The country’s first death from the virus was also announced Friday afternoon.

Charlotte County, went from two cases to five cases.

Buckingham County remained the same with 11 cases, the most in the Piedmont Health District. Lunenburg remains the least affected county in the area with only three reported cases.

The death in Prince Edward County was at a long-term care facility, according to a press release from the VDH. In his Friday afternoon press conference, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said the state is aware citizens are concerned about the spread of the virus in nursing homes. As of Thursday, 39 residents of Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico County near Richmond had died from the virus.

“Our nursing homes and long-term care facilities are facing the same challenges as every part of the country. They need testing and PPE (personal protective equipment) and the staff is overworked,” Northam said. “These are our parents and grandparents. We have a special obligation to protect them, in addition to our responsibility to protect public health.”

Northam gave State Epidemiologist Laurie Forlano the responsibility of leading efforts to help long-term care facilities and mitigate further outbreaks. She will lead a task force to focus on making sure long-term care facilities have the resources they need to fight the virus while working to strengthen staffing and increase infection control measures.

“Our long-term care facilities are home to people who are most vulnerable to this virus,” Northam said. “Every person in assisted living and long-term care is someone’s parent or loved one. It is vital that we protect them.”