The Virginia Beach Health Department reported the first death of COVID-19 patient in the city, and the seventh death in the state of Virginia.

The patient was a male in his 70s, with underlying health conditions, according to a news release. The cause of death was acute respiratory failure.

The health department has initiated a contact investigation. At this time, it is early in the process to identify the source of transmission.

“It is a sad day in our city after learning a Virginia Beach resident has died of the virus. Our hearts go out to his family and friends,” said Virginia Beach Health Director Dr. Demetria Lindsay. “Elderly individuals and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, including death. These at-risk individuals are strongly advised to take steps to minimize contact with others who are ill, practice social distancing, and stay at home as much as possible.”

On Monday, the Virginia Department of Health reported 254 cases of the coronavirus in the state.

In Virginia Beach, the health department is concerned that several recent cases may represent the first indications of potential community transmission, the extent of which, would be determined by the outcome of the investigation.  

“We must take action now," Lindsay said. "The choices of each of us affects our community.  Public health practices by everyone are critical to slow and blunt the spread of COVID-19."

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