Health district urges more caution
Once again, regional public health officials are urging residents to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Southwest Virginia is seeing an increase in virus cases, the Lenowisco Health District noted in a July 21 press release.
“COVID-19 has seen widespread community transmission across Virginia since March,” said health district Director Dr. Sue Cantrell. “The increase in cases locally highlights the need to remain vigilant. Increases can occur following close gatherings of crowds, travel to COVID-19 hot spots and simply due to people in close contact in smaller groups and not wearing masks.”
For many residents, summer involves traveling out of the area. However, travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, the release noted.
The Virginia Department of Health advises Virginians to stay home as much as possible, “especially if your trip is not essential or if you are at higher risk of serious illness,” it stated.
Guidelines for reducing the risk while traveling can be found at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus/travel-to- areas-with-widespread-ongoing-community-spread.
“We all have a stake in this, for the protection of ourselves and everyone else,” Cantrell said. “Please wear a face covering when out in public. Avoid gathering in close groups, and stay six feet or more from others. There is no safe place. There is only safe behavior.”
Steps to lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections include:
• Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are at higher risk of serious illness. If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering.
• 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 physical distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public.
• Avoid close contact with crowds.
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