Less than an hour after the Virginia Department of Health announced that there have been 34 deaths in the state linked to COVID-19, the Rappahannock Area Health District announced a 35th death. 

It’s the first in the Fredericksburg region that includes the city, as well as Stafford, Spotsylvania, Caroline and King George counties.

The patient was an area resident in his 60s, but health officials said they would be providing no additional information about the individual.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family,” said health district Acting Director Dr. Donald Stern. “This is a sad reminder that COVID-19 can be a serious illness. It is vital that we take all precautions to limit the spread of this virus to protect ourselves and those around us from illness.”

Stafford has been a hot spot of COVID-19 cases in the region, with 28 patients with COVID-19. Spotsylvania has eight, King George has four and Fredericksburg has one. 

Health officials note that, In some patients, COVID-19 can lead to 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 at home to the greatest extent possible

  •  Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when you must be out in public

  •  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 only if soap and water are not available

  •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

  •  Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

  •  Avoid contact with sick people

  •  If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor

This is a rapidly changing situation, and information is being shared on the following websites: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.

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